My roommate Emma was handed a load of bullshit from the Facebook folks last week. She is one of the doubtless thousands of Facebook users that don’t identify with a normative binary gender system, and does not list a gender as part of her profile. I’m not on Facebook, for what may or may not be good reasons, but this has me leaning towards not signing up. Here is what happened:
(From Emma) “I don’t have a gender on facebook for a multitude of reasons. It has recently come to my attention that facebook hates these reasons, and probably me as well. A couple of days ago, a box popped up on my home page with the following text (see image)
When I pressed OKAY without choosing a “her” or a “his”, facebook wasn’t having it.
I think this is bullshit.
There is no need for facebook to ascribe me a gender if I do not give myself one willingly. Their “confusion” concerning my minifeed information is just a disingenuous attempt to market me more closely to the gender-norming sleazy advertisers who pay their bills (see left of this box). As if the minifeed itself wasn’t bad enough as a restriction of freedom.
A few months ago, when facebook applications started flooding my life, a few good people attempted to broaden the gender-and-sexuality-inclusive landscape of facebook by creating applications listing multiple genders, sexual proclivities etc. This freedom has been disregarded senselessly and callously; it is irrelevant if i list myself as, say, genderqueer on these progressive applications but then am forced to list myself as male or female on my main page. My gender on facebook is only important if I am being treated solely as a marketing demographic. Fuck that.”