Jane Fae on the Facebook gender option revamp:
Two cheers for Facebook, who have just expanded their personal gender options from the somewhat limiting binary of male and female to an eye-watering 50 plus descriptions.
No. That’s not an exaggeration, as S Weasel points out.
Has that finally satisfied the gender-obsessed? Reader, of course it has not…
Of course, there’s criticism already. The first I heard of this was courtesy of a comment by an online friend, who expressed frustration that Facebook had not included their preferred gender option: non-gendered identity.
No, me neither…
In addition, Facebook still gives precedence to the gender binary: its online presentation takes the form of male, female or the choice of 48 “custom” categories. Others have objected that its attempt to provide equal personalisation when it comes to pronouns is rudimentary – one can choose to be referred to as her, him, or them – and the relationship options (both romantic and familial) remain steadfastly gender normative.
I foresee trouble too with Facebook’s insertion of various categories of cis(gender), a term more frequently used by some in the trans community to define non-trans people than an identity opted for: a few non-trans people actively object to it. Though presumably if someone does self-identify as cis, that’s OK.
*even more baffled*
Analysis of data use in the UK suggests that gender is rarely helpful – except in a marketing context. It would be unkind to suggest that Facebook has opted to garner politically correct headlines, while not even contemplating removing gender altogether, which might interfere with its commercial activities, wouldn’t it?
Yes, well done for noticing Facebook is a commercial identity. Maybe if that made that a 51st option you’d be happy?
And why oh why don’t FaceBook realise what they might be unleashing..*?