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Facebook's gender blunder

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Jul. 10th, 2008 | 01:15 pm

I've had my gender as "Select One" on Facebook since I first signed up. I have a few other friends that have it that way too. The only effect it really has is that your gender is not displayed on your profile, and that when you do certain things, the mini-feed uses a gender-neutral plural:

facebook gender

Recently, however, I guess facebook decided to address this oversight. Today when I logged into my facebook homepage, I received this message:

facebook gender

I can't imagine what they hope to accomplish by this. I don't think that most users will react with "Oh thank god, now my friends on facebook can know what gender I am, I can't believe I forgot to fill that in." There are many users like me who find Facebook's sex & sexuality options limited. I actually use the SGO application to put a box on my profile that's more informative, and in that box, yes, I do identify my sex as female. But that's hardly the point. I generally identify with "not otherwise specified" and I feel I have a right to straddle the line, if I please.

So luckily, you'll notice, facebook prompt has a third option, which is the one I'll be picking. It's "close".

Update: I've made a facebook group encouraging people to switch to an unspecified gender. This should be interesting...

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Comments {15}

The richest girl in town.

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from: fightingwords
date: Jul. 10th, 2008 08:46 pm (UTC)
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It's about marketing. They want to to know if they should display ads for a guy or for a girl.

I hate everything.

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hurtstotouchfire

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from: httf
date: Jul. 10th, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I figured. And I'm sure they keep general statistics of the population on facebook. I have a hard time believing though that there are all that many people who have unspecified gender & it's not on purpose. Apparently they don't mind firmly grounding themselves in normative culture. I guess all the weirdos should just go to myspace, right?

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