'What Image Are You' Instagram name accounts: An unlikely model for social justice
The name game
Have you opened a post shared by a friend (chances are, a Gen Z) via Instagram direct messages, only to find a picture of a random little animal with your name in a gaudy rainbow font over it? You're not the only one. After clicking on the profile, soon enough, you'll find yourself poring over different images — some funny, some cute, and others just plain weird.
The essence of these accounts is to post an accommodating image that apparently exemplifies the "vibe" of the name. Now, everyone loves something that lets them identify with it, so what better way to spend your time in quarantine than sifting through countless random images to see if they've posted one with your name on it?
Social media apps like Instagram have taken on an increasingly significant role in our lives, even serving as a platform to mobilise and educate the masses about global issues such as police brutality, and highlighting the racial injustices that have been inflicted upon marginalised communities for years. It's become more than just a platform for people to document their daily lives and post about their vacations (which should gain traction again, once travel restrictions are eased gradually).
These naming accounts, although a ton of fun for those who would like to surprise their friends with random image name posts and a good laugh, have joined in on championing social justice. For example, @what_image_are_you, which matches names with ridiculous meme images, collects money in exchange for name posts. They then donate to organisations like For The Gworls, The Okra Project, G.L.I.T.S, and Children of the Night, which help fight for social causes such as solving the sexual exploitation of children. More of these accounts include @what_cow_you_are, @what_rat_are_you, @what_horse_r_u, and similar accounts for fish, bunnies, ducks — you name it, they have it. @whatdogyouare has even amassed about 120,000 followers, and donate directly to the Royal Animal Refuge in exchange for posts. These accounts appeal to the masses by posting new content on a request basis, and it's always nice to see an official post with your name on it on one of these accounts. Those with unique or indigenous names are also using this to put their names into the mainstream and increase representation.
Though some may say that these accounts are childish and silly, they give us the serotonin boost we need to carry on living through these unprecedented times. And it doesn't hurt that they're giving back to organisations that fight for social causes, either. We just hope this Instagram trend doesn't go away too soon — we still want to know what cute, fluffy animal we are based on our names.