When I first clicked on the title “What Search Engines Say About Women,” I was expecting to encounter a compiled list of data analytics about google searches related to women. I predicted that these searches would be bizarre, that they would detail how misunderstood the female experience is by the public, whether that be in regards to female anatomy, women’s capabilities or anything in between. What I encountered in this article was far more specific, and terribly disheartening. Within the first page, the author reveals to the reader that the first results for the Google search “black girls” are porn sites. While this knowledge alone is grim enough, my heart sank upon learning who it really is typing these words into their browser. Little girls, who are “opening up Google in [their] browser and searching for [themselves] and [their] friend[s].” Reading this line jolted me. As a white women, I have grown up perceiving the hyper-sexualization of women within social dynamics, within every aspect of media, and within the fabric of our culture. It is a social norm that has tormented every culturally aware woman at some point in her life. I, however, was granted the privilege of realizing this later than many women of color seemingly have, based upon this article. I can’t imagine the effects of an internalized understanding that everything that you are can be reduced to an object for pleasure, nonetheless that this is the most popular result for the public’s interest in your culture. At what age is anyone prepared to endure such a sight? Coupled with the hyper-sexualization of black women is the infantilization of women. The search bar didn’t read “black women” it read “black girls.” Why is it that women are automatically considered girls? Safiya Noble writes, “These search engine results, for women whose identities are already maligned in the media, only further debase and erode efforts for social, political, and economic recognition and justice.”
Nowadays, a huge percentage of boys are introduced to pornography at such a young age, during the socialization process, that these subtle messages are becoming engrained in their subconscious, shaping these later generations. They are associating these deeply flawed characterizations of “girls” with the girls in their classrooms and are making unsupervised inferences about gender dynamics and people in general. My point is not that pornography is the innermost problem of social injustice. What I am concerned with is how our societies faults and biases have shaped our social hemisphere online and off, and by translation, how they’re educating future generations. How can we put out such a colossal fire? If we ever do, will it be too late?