According to Sander de Ridder from Ghent University, digital media and social media platforms are important for the ways in which people perceive, identify and live their sexuality and gender. However, some of the things that these media and platforms are doing, appear to have a negative impact on some groups of people. For instance, when Google takes down dating apps that are important for the LGBTQ community in a certain country, this might prevent them from meeting each other.
And there are also some other issues. For example, the data that is being collected through these platforms can be used to track down and prosecute people who’s sexual preference or gender do not fit certain social norms and values. According to De Ridder, it is important to understand that some genders that are seen as ’normal’ by Silicon Valley companies like Google and platforms like Tinder are not being recognised in some non-western countries. He even argues that the ways in which these platforms handle different sexual preferences and genders, is seen as western imperialism in other parts of the world. Therefor, De Ridder is researching what he calls ‘sexual politics’ or ‘sexual rights’ on a global scale, and he is also arguing that these sexual rights should actually become human rights.
Dr. Sander de Ridder is a postdoctoral fellow at the Research Foundation Flanders. He is researching digital media culture, sexuality and media audiences.
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