Representation: Why Is Fishing…

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            Around the world fishing is a very popular hobby and sport that many people love to do. All you need for a great day of fishing is a rod, some bait, and of course a body of water to throw your line into. Fishing is a simple activity that doesn’t take much thinking or even hard work. A day of fishing revolves around someone sitting by a body of water, enjoying the environment around them, and patiently waiting to get lucky with a big fish. Personally, fishing is my favorite thing to do when I have some free time or have a day off. The reason I love fishing so much is because of how much I love being on the water as well as the ambition of getting a big fish on the line. Due to my love for fishing, I decided to construct a search to see some of the more popular results that fishing generates on major search engines. 

Picture of Search Results from Microsoft Bing

I decided to construct my search using Microsoft Bing, Google, and Yahoo by using, why is fishing, as my search term. This search revealed some interesting results that I wasn’t expecting to receive but stayed rather consistent throughout the different search engines. Almost every search engine revealed the exact same results besides for one autosuggestion that differed between the three. Most of the suggested terms were positive and had to deal with why fishing is a fun experience or why it’s good. I believe that due to the amount of people who enjoy fishing and with the general population of people who look up fishing usually are interested in it, the results tended to be more positive. But there are still a few negative search results like why fishing is bad for the environment and why it’s just bad overall, although I believe they included these to appeal to the conservationists and environmentalists of the world. These major search engines need to have some appeals to all different kinds of people who share very different opinions in order for people to have a higher chance of using them. I think Microsoft Bing, Yahoo, and Google all do a very good job of representing the larger population of internet users and cover all their bases very well. 

            The first result that I received after looking up ‘why is fishing’ was why is fishing important. After clicking on why is fishing important, the search revealed an article, multiple videos, and more search suggestions based on what other people also searched as seen above. I think this is the general layout seen in most searches constructed as it hits all the main points people are looking for when creating a search. This result reflects the topic of fishing in a positive way as it explains how fishing is a great way to relive stress and relax while also providing food and a source of income for some fisherman. It also provides videos from YouTube of people fishing and explaining the techniques they are using as well as what they are catching to entice others to fish. Most of the language and tone exercised by the articles and videos from the results, give off a positive and happy aura to make others wish they were fishing or want to go. Another interesting layout feature was that there was only one negative comment on the search results which was why overfishing was bad for biodiversity. Besides for this one comment, every other term, video, or picture represented fishing in a positive way.

person fishing
Photo by Lum3n on

The search term of fishing reveals some intriguing cultural values within its results. Fishing itself plays a role in many cultural aspects of life as it can pertain to economic importance, folklore, mythology, and even religion. Since some of the first days of man, fishing has been a staple of how people acquired food and traded with others to get other goods. Fishing has always been an intrical part of society as we know it and still is to this day. However, fishing has always been more geared towards men and within these searches that can clearly be seen. Many of the videos and pictures of people fishing almost always are of a man which is displaying gender bias. Men are more likely to search fishing related topics, but I think the search results can be a little broader and include a more feminine population to not discourage them from the topic altogether. According to Safiya Umoja Noble’s Algorithms of Oppression, “Whether looking for autosuggestions or answers to various questions, Google’s dominant narratives reflect the kinds of hegemonic frameworks and notions that are often resisted by women”. This quote by Safiya Umoja is displaying that this idea of gender bias is seen in multiple searches regarding many different topics and is scaring off some of the female population. To be interested in a topic and decide to look up more information about it and only receive man favored results must be discouraging for woman. The one critique that can be made to these major search engines would be to have a broader variety of results that pertain to all ethnicity types. 

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Noble, Safiya. Algorithms of Oppression. New York: NYU Press, 2022.

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