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The Curse of Online Beauty Culture with Ellen Atlanta

We’re expected to look amazing online, but also natural. We’re fighting against the gender pay gap, but also spend thousands on cosmetics. In this episode, Ellen Atlanta talks us through the paradoxes of feminism and beauty in the digital sphere.


Ellen Atlanta is a writer and brand consultant specialising in Gen-Z and millennial culture. She has worked in the beauty industry for almost a decade and was a founding editor of Dazed Beauty. With her focus on female empowerment, Ellen departed from the beauty industry in 2019 to become a founding member of both The Stack World and Communia, reimagining social media platforms and creating better digital spaces for women+ . In 2021, she was headhunted to support UN Women UK on their digital campaigns, creating safer public spaces for women and marginalised genders across the country. She was awarded the RSL Giles St Aubyn Award for Non-Fiction in 2022. Her first book, Pixel Flesh: How Toxic Beauty Culture Harms Women, is now available for sale.


Reading List:


Pixel Flesh, of course! Buy it here.


KERRY MCINERNEY:

Hi, I'm Dr. Kerry McInerney. Dr. Eleanor Drage and I are the hosts of the Good Robot podcast. Join us as we ask the experts, what is good technology? Is it even possible? And how can feminism help us work towards it? If you want to learn more about today's topic, head over to our website, www.thegoodrobot. co. uk, where we've got a full transcript of the episode and a specially curated reading list by every guest. We love hearing from listeners, so feel free to tweet or email us. And we'd also so appreciate you leaving us a review on the podcast app, but until then sit back, relax, and enjoy the episode.


ELEANOR DRAGE:

We’re expected to look amazing online, but also natural. We’re fighting against the gender pay gap, but also spend thousands on cosmetics. In this episode, Ellen Atlanta talks us through the paradoxes of feminism and beauty in the digital sphere.


KERRY MCINERNEY:

 Thank you so much for joining me here today, for our listeners. Eleanor, very hard life is on holiday in Italy. So we're both very jealous, but I'm also having a great conversation slash holiday-like conversation with Ellen Atlanta. Thank you so much for joining me here today.

So just to introduce you, could you tell me a little bit about who you are, what you do and what's brought you to thinking about technology, feminism, and the internet?


ELLEN ATLANTA:

Yeah, a huge question. My name is Ellen Atlanta. I am the author of Pixel Flesh, which is out on May the 9th. It's a book about how toxic beauty culture is harming young women and girls, but specifically through a digital lens looking at how the advent of social media, influencer the culture, filters, all of these things have impacted the way we perceive ourselves. I come to that through kind of multiple routes. It feels like a book I've been writing for my whole life in some ways. I'm 28. I was very much part of a generation that grew up with the internet, in line with the internet, I feel like I had every social platform as they emerged.


And in that way, I felt like I was part of some kind of weird social experiment that was, 'what happens if we give this teenage girl all of these different platforms with which to document her life, to see herself through a different lens, and to curate an existence and to live in a different, realm?'.


I was very prolific on Tumblr. I blogged my entire teenage years away. And because of that, because of kind of blogging and having an Instagram and having a Tumblr, I was given a job in beauty. I worked in beauty salons initially and a lot of marketing, community based roles.

Those jobs then evolved into me being a becoming kind of beauty expert that worked in beauty editorial. I worked in beauty magazines. I worked to consult for beauty product companies. And then I ended up in a beauty tech company where we sold beauty services via imagery. So it's like Instagram but you could book beauty treatments through it. And that kind of career trajectory happened largely by, I don't want to say by accident, but it wasn't necessarily an intention for me to get into beauty.


And I had this point of reckoning when I was working in beauty salons, a lot of the work we were doing was using beauty as a vehicle to bring women into spaces, to have discussions around feminism, around business, around women's economic empowerment. And I got to the point in my career where I got into a beauty tech company and realized that I didn't quite know how what I was doing aligned with my feminism anymore.


The beauty industry, because of accessible technology had gone from what felt like a fun arena for self expression and curation. For me, it was, we were doing nail art and hair braiding and fun makeup. And it evolved from that in very quickly and almost felt like overnight into injectables, into anti aging procedures into kind of face augmenting procedures and treatments.


And I couldn't, quite figure out how to align that with my beliefs. And I had a very kind of conflicting few months of ' what am I doing in this industry?' And ' how do I become a part of this conversation in a positive way?' 'How can I align, how can I continue working in this space?' And ultimately I quit my job.


And what started was A few years of essentially writing this book in which I explore, I interviewed over 100 women over the course of two years, 60 of them are in the book, and tried to create this kind of portrait of what it feels like to exist as a woman in this digital realm in response to a beauty culture that feels ever pervasive and marrying that kind of narrative style of these women's stories with my own personal experience, with kind of the academic theory, with the stats, with the data, that kind of tell us the trajectory that we're going on.


KERRY MCINERNEY:

I think it's just such an important and fascinating project. And it's really interesting to hear you describe your journey into this topic, because I really empathize with this idea of like almost learning what beauty is and how it's understood like through the internet. Because I, didn't grow up very like immersed in beauty culture.


My mom who is super gorgeous and loves clothes and fashion and lots of other things, but never wears makeup and probably never will just absolutely no connection to it or interest in it. And so for me, like my only exposure really came through watching people on YouTube now watching people on TikTok.


And I completely empathize with this idea of being like this sort of, test subject generation. I'm fine and I am unfortunately very much part of that first Facebook generation, like the one that would leave like sentences as statuses and 60 photos of one night out.


So I was that generation, which I now strongly dislike. But I think there is just something really world warping about that. Yeah. And so I think definitely when I saw that this book that you were writing was coming out, I was like, oh, I just feel like that's so important and so timely because even as I think like this next generation has become in many ways so much more internet savvy and digital culture savvy, in some ways I feel like the hold of this culture is like much more powerful even than when I was first seeing the internet.


ELLEN ATLANTA:

I completely agree. I've been talking to young women who went viral in their teens or who experienced this encouragement to document their lives. And they speak to me now talking about feeling like they're always being watched. Feeling like there's this constant, almost audience, very real, yet completely invisible, that's constantly watching them, and expecting them to be beautiful, or to be perfect, or to be some kind of work of art, and that can be really disabling, when it's something that came up when I was speaking to the former executive director of UN Women UK, she said it came up a lot in their kind of, when they're looking at projects around safety of women, both online and in the real world, things like this where women are constantly monitoring how they're coming across, constantly monitoring the language they use, their posture, how they're holding themselves, how they clap their hands, if you have a big chest, if you're hunching over, how much space you're taking up.


And she made a very, good point that you can't be present in the conversation as much, you can't be advocating for change in the same way, if you're constantly worried about, or a certain part of your brain space is constantly being taken up by thinking about what you look like and monitoring for your safety.


And it's something now that researchers are finding in girls as young as eight, there's a a woman called Dr. Claire Pescott, who wasn't initially looking into beauty culture. She was initially looking into early years development in primary schools, but completely shifted her research because when she was talking to young boys and young girls, kind of seven or eight, it became very obvious that these girls were very aware of this voyeur, this audience watching them all times. This need to be perfect. This need to be flawless, filtered, talking about, I wish I could wear a filter every day, or I really just need to contour my face more. And the boys had no idea. The young boys had no concept of this kind of voyeur of this or what the girls were going through.


And she said she was completely shocked at the gender divide and how beauty culture was affecting them. And so yeah, it's, it is getting more intense, I think for our generation maybe that happened in our teenage years, later on, and now it's happening, seeing it in primary school.


KERRY MCINERNEY:

Yeah. Which is so scary. And and I think you're completely right. Whereas it's about freedom. And I think so much of the discourse around online beauty cultures and gender and particularly how it affects women and girls is I feel like it's such a reductive conversation. It's often we need to think about people's self esteem and it's always kept at that level of, it's about how people feel about themselves.


It's never really thought about what's the political effects of this or the economic of this, which you talk about a lot in the book. And I certainly. only became aware quite recently, just like how expensive it is to be conventionally attractive. I'm like, this is an investment. It's wildly expensive.


Yeah, but it's always kept at this like self worth level. And it's always very much about Yeah, young woman and girls as a phrase or I feel firstly is like a mid or late twenties, early thirties, emotionally, I'm like middle aged personally, I'm like 50 or 60 on the inside. I'm like, I feel, these things continue to affect women at all ages.


ELLEN ATLANTA:

100%.


KERRY MCINERNEY:

And I do feel like that's what I also love about this book is I think it's forcing that conversation to move a lot further I hope in the kind of public domain.


ELLEN ATLANTA:

Yeah and I really, I was really keen to very early on like dismiss this idea of beauty as a trivial concept or beauty as a frivolous endevour that girls undertake as a form of vanity.

I wanted to very quickly brush that aside and get across that beauty is so integral to almost every facet of our existence. It's, hugely fueling our economy, it's impacted by colonialism, by racism, ableism, classism, capitalism. It's ingrained in all of these very huge structures and all these forces.


And our, our world is becoming increasingly visual as we move online. And beauty as a currency is only increasing in value. So it's very clear that the conversation on beauty is not something to be easily dismissed, and we can see that as well in the data and the impact it's having on young women and girls mental health, and just how drastically that changed in line with the advent of these technologies.


But also really keen to convey that the pursuit of beauty is entirely rational. I really don't like, again, this kind of narrative that is quite pervasive that it's a, like I say, a silly frivolous thing to do that doesn't really matter and has no consequence and, it's almost something that women are - not chastised for taking part in, but mocked and ridiculed for taking seriously.

And I'm very keen to say no, like that this is a very rational response to a world that we live in that shows that beauty as a currency is a very real thing and to be treated better, to have better access to opportunity, especially online to to gain followers, likes, shares, comments, reposts, all of these things. It's very well documented that in order to do that in order to have success you should look and act a certain way. So yeah, I think it's a completely rational response. And I want that to be taken seriously and beauty and beauty and class, as you mentioned earlier, is something I wrote about a couple of years ago, and that was a huge amount of interest in that conversation because like I said, the baseline for what is attractive has increased hugely over the past few years if we think about what is considered almost like a necessary or maintenance treatments we're not just talking about a couple of things anymore.


We're talking about, you have to have perfectly white straight teeth, you have to have your brows done, your lashes done, your skin has to be amazing, your hair has to be well done. You have to have great nails. You have to maintain a certain body composition in order to be taken seriously or to get respect as a woman.


And that obviously is amplified for women of color. It's amplified for women who are further away from the ideal. They have to do more work and that idea of investment is so interesting to me because that came up a lot in these conversations as women saying the beauty work I do is a form of investment and ultimately that meant spending often thousands of pounds, if not hundreds, thousands regularly on a beauty routine that almost just feels second nature at this point, but to go out and buy these products or to do these things and mask that conversation in, in, self worth or an empowerment, which often felt like a a filter or a concealment from the actual conversation and the underlying motives. But when you interrogate what that investment looks like or what that means, often it's, you're already at a net negative because of the gender pay gap, and then to achieve some kind of parity or to achieve I guess a semblance of advancement, you have to then invest hundreds or thousands of pounds in order to, be at the same level or kind of feel like you're in the same race as men which then feels like it makes absolutely no sense.


The investment dissolves into, we're just spending money. And we're already at a disadvantage already. So you're just compounding the loss. But yeah, that it's a very complicated because in the short term, the benefits and the currency seem, it seems like a no brainer.


KERRY MCINERNEY:

And I do think like this like aesthetic labor that you point out like in the book and in this conversation, I think that's a really helpful way of framing it because I agree like I think it's often like a very invisibilized labor like partly because in the case of say a lot of men just don't see it.


I remember the first time actually my husband walked in on me curling my eyelashes and he was like, What are you doing? What's that contraption? What's with your eyes? I guess it does probably look quite frightening if you've never seen someone do it before, but clearly he had never seen someone do it.


ELLEN ATLANTA:

When you haven't seen a man apply eyeliner for the first time and they're just like, this is a horrendous experience.


And they were like, you could just poke yourself in the eye. It's so easy, but it could feel that whole practice feels very foreign and almost invasive.


KERRY MCINERNEY:

Yeah. I think we're just like conditioned from such a young age to, to be comfortable with various kinds of like invasive body treatments that I think for a lot of men in particular, that's very strange to them.


But yeah, then on the other side, it's not only hidden because say men don't really see it, but it's also, you're encouraged to hide it partly because I think there's a festishization of like authenticity or as like the new dad that's not only do you have to be beautiful, you have to look like this naturally beautiful. Which I think is just like its own kind of trap, but also, yeah, part of this like post-feminist moment where it's like you're meant to have it all, but you are also, you're meant to have these feminist principles and you're meant to live them out, but you also still have to subscribe to all these different kinds of restrictive gender norms which I think it's just like very deeply unfair.


ELLEN ATLANTA:

Yeah, it becomes a complete paradox, which is a central theme of the book is wrestling with these conflicting ideas and then that annoys me because that feels like another form of labor that I'm just like fighting in my own brain all the time about complicity about participation about, I came across a lot in the book from different women, this constant negotiation. And that applies, to trans women, it applies to dark skinned women, it applies across the board, this constant negotiation of what you're willing to give, and what you're willing to invest and what you're willing to do in order to advance or to survive or to feel safe.

And yeah it's incredibly difficult. And I think having those conversations felt difficult at first. It's you're met with often some defensiveness about, especially when you try and broach that kind of empowerment. Which I came across a lot. It was a, Oh, but I'm empowered and I feel great.


And it took a little bit of interrogation to get past that and to actually get to the root or the truth of how people were actually feeling. One thing I found really beautiful and really interesting was that so many of these conversations led to very honest and raw, almost confessionals.


And how willing people were to have those very honest and brave conversations and say how they were really feeling and to discuss those negotiations and to discuss those conflicting ideas in their minds and to say they were struggling with that. And I think that's a start because I think it makes us all feel better.


I think oftentimes you can end up, especially in a culture of kind of choice feminism, neoliberal feminism, where it looks on the surface, especially on these platforms, like everyone's fine and everyone's doing great all the time and everyone's body positive now and empowered and everything's fixed.


And I think it can end up feeling like you're the only one that's defective and everyone else has found a cure to this and you haven't, so you're just going to pretend that you are fine whilst having these kind of secret insidious feelings of shame and kind of maybe getting treatments done in secret feeling all this pressure and maybe, dieting in secret, doing ever more extreme forms of bodily augmentation and not telling anyone yeah.


And so I think creating space for those conversations is really important. But yeah, beauty is a virtue akin to like truth and goodness is like an age old tale and it still is upheld by this kind of almost pedestalling of natural beauty in a space that also rewards augmentation and artifice.


So constantly balancing those two things and that's why we don't see many celebrities actually admitting to cosmetic surgery and enhancements because to do so is to shatter that illusion. They don't admit it can stay in this central line. Yeah it's a tightrope with kind of eternal damnation either side.


It feels like a lot of the time.


KERRY MCINERNEY:

Yeah. And I think that's so true in that, there's whole media industries just trying to find and identify which celebrities have or haven't had forms of plastic surgery and like what they're willing to admit to and what they're not. And, I think we all have in our own ways and we think about feminism, but also negotiating the world and the bodies that we're in our own red lines.


And I often try and challenge myself where I say Oh, I know, for example, that I will wear makeup and, skincare and all this kind of stuff. But I wouldn't have say facial cosmetic surgery, but then I always try to step back and say, okay, but like why is that my red line?

And what is built into that? And that's why I feel like having those kinds of conversations with people, when people are transparent about yes, like I have had this done and this is why, this is what the experience was like, this is what it costs. Like I find those really helpful because otherwise I think you just go through the world being like, Oh, people are just not aging, it's also just quite a scary thing.


Like I think about this as well, not that relatedly but I love like singing and music and I think about this a lot when it comes to pitch correction and voices particularly singers say on TikTok and they sound beautiful and gorgeous, but I also just worry are we losing a sense of what the unedited voice sounds like to the point where they're going to have this generation of musicians who are going to feel awful about themselves. Yeah. But that's because obviously all those videos you can hear are like definitely quite pitch corrected or they're clearly pre recorded and then someone's like miming in a bathroom or a car park.


They're always like very strange spaces as well. But yeah, I worry that like for someone maybe looking at that for the first time, they'll be like that's the real world. That's what they sound like in a bathroom singing with absolutely no pitch variation in their voice.

No, and the same thing applies to beauty.


ELLEN ATLANTA:

And I think there's this kind of conversation that, oh, but it's really easy to identify these things and with media literacy, we can easily identify an augmented image or an augmented face or augmented body. And I reject that concept quite heavily because, studies have shown young people actually can't easily identify edited images that well.


And also, I think that conversation often focuses almost entirely on filters, which either often flagged by a platform, but there's ways around that you can screenshot and then repost and it won't be flagged. But are often easier to determine. What I think is harder to determine is the fact that you can tweak ever so slightly your waist, or make your bust slightly bigger, or your nose slightly smaller in an app, and you would have absolutely no idea.


And this is happening all of the time, and you're seeing images that are doctored and augmented all of the time, and you would have absolutely no idea. And so I reject that concept, for one. But also I talk about in the book how, like what you said, going through puberty now as a young girl, constantly seeing these kind of glossy images of womanhood on a screen, must be a terrifying experience.


It must be like watching, it must feel like a betrayal in real time, like watching your body betray you in real time as you're sold this vision of womanhood that is porous, smooth, shiny, almost, reflective of technology in that way. We become these shiny, glossy beings on a screen with these very exaggerated curves, as is the beauty standard right now.

And we've had celebrities, Kylie Jenner said that her larger breasts were a result of puberty in her periods. In actual fact, she'd had a breast augmentation that she admitted to years and years later. But a lot of what we shun and a lot of what is now invisible in these images of womanhood, the reality it's body hair, it's, belly rolls it's weight gain, it's, all of these things that are natural bodily functions it's period blood, it's, bloating, it's all of these things. And so to go through puberty when you have this kind of promise or this, what feels like almost a birthright to transform into this this ideal of womanhood and what you actually experience is almost the exact opposite. It must be incredibly conflicting. It must be incredibly isolating. And I can't quite imagine what that's - I feel almost lucky that we were able to go through that in the Facebook era where we uploaded 500 pictures of one night and, didn't ever really edit them or care what they looked like.


And now this existence is so hyper curated. I feel like that. dissociation between what your body is actually doing and looks like versus what you're told it's supposed to be must be incredibly jarring to navigate.


KERRY MCINERNEY:

No, completely and first I completely agree with you on this problem of people saying Oh the solution is media literacy.


Like first, because as you've said, I think actually Cambridge did a big study on misinformation. And I found that when it came to political misinformation, they found that Gen Z was actually the most vulnerable, which was really interesting to me because, okay, possibly very agelessly, I was like, it's going to be the boomers. No, it wasn't. That raises serious questions about actually just having a lot more exposure to technology doesn't

make you necessarily better at identifying when it's being used in manipulative ways.


ELLEN ATLANTA:

Yeah. And often those images, those idealized images, whether augmented or artificial or not, actually just serve to reinforce an ideal.


They don't make you think, oh, that's not real, so I can never look like that. They make you think, wow, that's stunning, I need, I still wish I looked like that. But with an instilled sense of hopelessness, because you can't actually achieve it, it still makes you feel defective. And our brains carry those images much stronger than they do any words or disclaimers that say, this isn't real.


We bypass that a lot of the time. But yeah, there's studies that show those only go to reinforce. an idea within our minds that's increasingly impossible to achieve and increasingly impossible to achieve without, augmentation in almost every dimension because what we're seeing is even celebrities like the Kardashians who have had allegedly extensive body work done, extensive cosmetic surgery and facial augmentations and restructuring.


Even then they can't post an unedited selfie, even with all the nutritionists and dietitians and workout plans and personal trainers and cosmetic surgeons and facial estheticians and lasers and facials and all of these things, they still cannot post an unedited picture. And if they can't post an edited picture, what are we meant to do?


And yeah, I think the baseline for beauty is. absolutely astronomical right now. And there was a big case of, Khloe Kardashian posting a, an unedited, I think her grandmother posted an unedited bikini picture of her, and they were threatening legal action to get it taken down from people sharing it because she was just, she just couldn't exist in that space, in that way, and very much fought for her right to ironically, be treated as a human being in this debate.


KERRY MCINERNEY:

Yeah. Wow. That's wild. And that's actually why I was always going to say second was this idea of to some extent doesn't matter if people can tell if it's fake, if it's still influential I, I feel very about pornographic deep fakes, for example, where people say, Oh, the solution to do AI is watermarking.


And it's yes, watermarking is helpful, but like the harm's already been done if that image is out there. Also just think I'm a huge believer. Look, I've co hosted technology podcasts, like I really believe in like tech and media literacy. Don't get me wrong.


ELLEN ATLANTA:

Yeah, of course it is helpful.


KERRY MCINERNEY:

Like it's very important, but at the same time, I also like really have a problem when people with any of these technologies say Oh the solution is people just need to be like way smarter with how they use them. And you're like I don't know. First you're putting all the labor back on the people no, so if you're the developer that's on you to make sure that your products aren't awful.


And then second yeah there's a little bit I feel like there is this gender dynamic where it's oh, but people just saying women just need to be smarter and like how they use technology is that they need to be more aware. And there's always this work needs to be displaced back onto women to be careful or to be safe. And I think there's so many parallels with other areas of our lives where we're told like, the problem is that you need to adapt your behavior to suit this world that is fundamentally hostile to you, not that we need to change the world.


ELLEN ATLANTA:

No I can, I completely agree with that. And it comes across, I have a, one of my last chapters is on violence and it's very much the same, is that often the, women experience unprecedented amount of violence online and often it's tied to a beauty ideal or conversations around men's entitlement to, dissect, discuss, dehumanize women's bodies and their appearance.


But often what's prescribed as a solution to that is just go offline. And that's not fair. That's not an okay response. You can't just tell half the population of it. I can't engage in one of the most integral elements of society, it's akin to saying things like, just don't have a job, don't see your family, don't see your friends.


It's not an option anymore. It has a massive impact on democracy. We're seeing, young women being put off of politics. Diane Abbott said, she's, wouldn't be surprised if young women and girls have been completely put off of going into, public service work, because why would you put yourself on the line like that?


And we're constantly witnessing this kind of degradation of women online, which has a huge impact, control doesn't have to function in a way that, you have to be the one being abused and degraded. If you're witnessing other people stand up and speak and be witnessed and be degraded and humiliated and abused, that acts as a control mechanism that stops other people from then speaking up.


Um, yeah, I completely agree that needs to not be the conversation. I was really keen to not have that as a conclusion to my book of go offline. It's about negotiating ways to be on these platforms and that does involve extra labor. It does involve curating, it does involve putting time in to create safe spaces in place in platforms that you know don't have your best interest at heart, but I think it's important to acknowledge that they don't and put, accept that we might have to put some work in to kind of, yeah, allow communities that are beneficial to prosper, because they can, I believe they can.


KERRY MCINERNEY:

Yeah. And so on that note, actually to close, so usually because this is the good robot podcast for all of our regular listeners, we always normally ask these three good robot questions, which are, what is good technology? Is it even possible? And how do we work towards that? How can feminism specifically help us get there?


But actually a question you asked throughout your book, which I think is really lovely is what does a beautiful future look like for women and girls? And you have interviewees throughout this book respond to that question, which I think is really lovely. So I guess I would love to hear from you, like what does good or perhaps beautiful technology look like for us?


Like what kind of beautiful future do you want for women and girls when it comes to technology and how we use it?


ELLEN ATLANTA:

Yeah, I think, and what was interesting about that question is that so many times women couldn't answer it, or I was just met with which was really fascinating. And then the women that did answer all gave very different solutions, which was quite cool then to see them all collated in the book.


I absolutely do think good technology is possible. Technology itself is not a intrinsically positive or negative force. It's about creating tools that we can use to build a better future. So I do absolutely think good technology is possible. I think a beautiful future for young women and girls is one where they have, safety, a voice and a choice.


I think it's about. It's tricky because I, like I said, I was working in companies where we were trying to do it differently, very much trying to build against the model. And I acknowledge that's very difficult and very hard. And I often felt like we were pressured to conforming to a model that was starting to perpetuate issues we were trying to solve, and it's very hard to get out of that paradigm. But I do think ultimately the solution is trying to think outside of that. It's thinking outside of the existing business models, outside of existing paradigms, outside of a business model that puts commerce and advertising at its center because often that works against the interests of young women and girls previous to technology.

That was, huge industries that profited from the insecurities of young women and girls. And I think technology has been built in that image and has amplified that. And so I think we can take the amplification that technology brings, and we can use that to amplify communities. that are doing good work.


And like I said, sometimes I think that takes more curation, it takes more thinking, it takes more labor. I think we have to think, like I said, outside of the existing paradigms and business models and create something that centers community, that centers empathy. That's the root of my feelings around feminism, around technology is building with empathy in mind at all times is building with the feelings and experiences of young women and girls in mind, and that's just not happening enough right now. It didn't happen when these companies were built, these big platforms were built, and I don't think it's happening enough as new technology is being built.


And I think it goes beyond representation. Like I said, it goes beyond having different people in the room and stems into how can we. dismantle the system entirely and rebuild it again. What would we build if we didn't have any of these existing ideas in mind?


KERRY MCINERNEY:

Absolutely. And I feel like we could just keep talking for like literally hours. But yeah, thank you so much again for taking the time to come on the podcast. For anyone who is watching on the YouTube so you can see it for anyone who is listening Ellen is just running to get a copy of the book Pixel Flesh. But yes, you can find that, I think, probably just like in any of your local bookstores, online it is really fantastic. Oh, yay! Okay, so the hardback is very glorious.


ELLEN ATLANTA:

Yes, she is.


KERRY MCINERNEY:

Yay! So yes definitely would recommend picking it up. But yeah, most importantly, thank you so much for taking the time. And this was really fascinating.


ELLEN ATLANTA:

No, of course. It was lovely to talk to you. Thanks for having me.


ELEANOR DRAGE:

 This episode was made possible thanks to the generosity of Christina Gaw and the Mercator Foundation. It was produced by Eleanor Drage and Kerry McInerney and edited by Eleanor Drage.

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