Facebook is gender and hetero-normative..

Today I was reading the article “Choose One” and it really got me thinking. On facebook, as well as almost all other social networking sites, assumptions are mad regarding sexuality and gender. The only options that you can be “interested in” are male and female. You can pick one, or both. What about neither? What about ALL genders? The gender options are limited to female and male, and you HAVE to select one. As Max Wilcox says, “I see no need for Facebook to know what is in my pants, but that’s what they ask everyone that signs up.” The world around us is increasingly accepting of a spectrum of sexual orientations and gender identities, but Facebook is still sticking to outdated, problematic paradigms (Rutherford.) Its not only facebook, but applications, tests, and almost anything else you have to fill out. It has always made me uncomfortable seeing the two boxes, and having to choose one. I always wonder, why does it even matter? Why do they want to know? I know people who have restrained from getting ID’s and Driver’s licenses because of the gender factor they face when they do so. For some people, this issue might not affect them at all, but for others it is very emotionally stressful. It is just a reminder of how hetero and gender normative the majority of our society is, disregarding all other identities. I think this is something EVERYONE should care about. Just because you are cisgender and it doesn’t matter to you, this problem affects thousands of others on a daily basis. There is a quote on the Geurilla Feminism page that I think relates to this. “I support safe spaces. Because America is already a safe space for white, cisgender, middle class, heterosexual males, and I don’t fit under all those catergories. Because we may have a black president, but we are not post racism. Because you may have a Gay best friend, we are not post-Homophobia. Because everyone may be created equal, but that doesn’t mean everyone is treated equally. Because privilege exists. Ignoring the  fact makes you part of the problem, not part of the solution.” This is a reminder that being an ally isn’t about comparing your oppression with my oppression, its not about comparing who has it harder. Just because you have been opressed, that doesn’t make you any less responsible for the  marginalization of others. We need to work together, because being an ally is about caring about the issues that affect us, and the ones that don’t, to. What do you think about this? Have you ever thought about gender and sexuality regarding social networking sites? Comment below and let me know!

If only the options could be like this:

Photo from facebook!

Thanks for reading! (:

How to be an ally if you are a person with privilege

Stop and ask yourself things like:

  • What does it mean to be white/heterosexual/male/cisgender/upper class (etc) in this situation?
  • Would I be listened to if I didn’t hold this privilege?
  • Is this an oppurtunity for everyone, or is this an oppurtunity ONLY given to me for any reason?
  • Notice: How people of different abilities, people of color, LGBT people, non-cisgender people, middle-class and working class people, people of size, etc, are promoted, seen, treated, and talked about.
  • Am I stepping into a situation where someone is not being listened to because of their gender, identity, race, sexuality, etc. Am I making sure everyone is getting the same chance to express their opinions?
  • Am I interupting an offensive joke made towards a target group?

These are just a few things you can ask yourself to make sure you are actively being an ally to people who are different than you, and not abusing your power as a privilege group member.

To get more information on this topic, here are some great resources:

What do you think it means to be an ally? Comment below and let me know!

Photo from Google Images (: