According to The Verge, JoinAGiggle.com is a new social media app that’s “pitching itself as a girls-only networking platform.” But apparently, the app isn’t all that “girl-friendly.” (Also, why is it still acceptable to classify femme-presenting adults as girls? When will it end?!)
According to Giggle’s homepage, “Giggle safety and securely connects” users “with girls who share similar interests.”
The app helps connect “girls” — again, that’s the app’s descriptor of adult women/femmes, not ours — by forming a digital “giggle,” also known as a group of 2-6 “girls.”
Sigh. We live in a world where a group of crows is a “murder” and group of whales is a “pod” and a group of people can be a crowd …and a group of ADULT WOMEN is a “giggle.”
“The giggle is formed depending on a girl selecting girls who appeal to their profile and category of interest,” Giggle explains. “If there is interest, a girl swipes right. If not, she swipes left to look at the next profile. Once matched, a giggle (two girls) is formed. This matching process can continue to grow until either the maximum number of six girls or the maximum you’ve specified on your profile, is met.”
Giggle adds that “all the girls in the giggle have to like each other.” The app states that these mutual likes are to achieve consent, not to exclude other users, thus creating a digital high school-like clique.
By now, you may be asking yourself how Giggle determines who is a “girl.” App makers explain that Giggle uses “bio-metric gender recognition software” to ensure “that those within the platform are verified as girls.”
I like giggles and giggling as much as the next person — who doesn’t enjoy laughing? — but there are some aspects to the app version of Giggle that are less than ideal.
1. How Giggle determines who is a “girl”
First, there’s the issue of how Giggle distinguishes who, in fact, is a girl.
Although the app creators explain that “real girls,” whoever those are, are involved in the process that determines who can become a user and who cannot, the following paragraph, which explains why bio-metric gender verification software is used to access giggle, reads a bit exclusionary:
“Bio-metric gender recognition software ensures that those within the platform are verified as girls. In biometric systems, the goal of liveness testing is to determine if the biometric being captured is an actual measurement from the authorised, live person who is present at the time of capture. This involves taking a selfie and the gender recognition software produces a result. This process is closely monitored by real girls. Bio-Science, not pseudo-science like phrenology, is behind this process. It determines both male and female genders and does not discriminate by race or age. Gender Identity is a separate issue. If you are experiencing any difficulty, real girls and members of the LGBTQ community can help you at giggle HQ! AI and real people working together to make the final decision.”
Although the app creators have a section on the app’s FAQ page dedicated to staring trans-girls are welcome on Giggle, the use of the term “real girls” isn’t a good look.
2. The use of the word “girls” to describe adults
Look, we’re over it. Among other things, a girl is a human who is 12-years-old or younger. Human adults are not girls, nor are they boys — because human adults are not children/12-years-old or younger.
Although it doesn’t appear that the app creators intended to infantilize their app’s users, describing adults as “girls” who form “giggles” on their app reads a bit… off.
Should you use Giggle?
As an adult human who is ideally informed and doing your due diligence, you should use whatever you want. We, however, have some thoughts on the matter of Giggle use.
Although The Verge reported that it does seem like Sall Grover, the app’s creator, admitted via Tweet that she could have made the app more trans-friendly (she also stated that Giggle’s web copy is “hideous”), we recommend to not use Giggle to connect with other women-identifying, femme web content and clip creators.
Why? Because of good, old fashioned privacy concerns.
In addition to all of the above, Giggle also “collects sensitive information including peoples’ ‘sexual practices or sex life,’ their criminal records, and their private health information.”
So, in conclusion, we recommend that you do not use Giggle to connect with friends in the industry or to market your content or brand. The app’s name weirds us out, we’re concerned that app creators think it’s acceptable to continually refer to adults as children, the app has some trans issues and Giggle could put your privacy at risk. None of that strikes us as funny.
Pictured below: Ladies, women, adults…
Abbie Stutzer is a queer, non-binary writer living in Kansas City, MO. You can find them doing witchy stuff at home with their numerous pets or at the local animal shelter saving lives. Contact Stutzer via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Background header image screengrab by YNOT Cam.