On Thursday, February 13, Facebook was enhanced with over 50 custom gender options, rather than having to choose between “male” or “female.” Some examples include androgynous, bi-gender, gender fluid, intersex and transsexual, to name a few.
On the Facebook Diversity page, an announcement stated, “When you come to Facebook to connect with the people, causes and organizations you care about, we want you to feel comfortable being your true, authentic self. An important part of this is the expression of gender, especially when it extends beyond the definitions of just “male” or “female.” So today, we’re proud to offer a new custom gender option to help you better express your own identity.”
What I question is what to call the person when not using their name. On Facebook, the column on the side of your home page shows your friends birthdays. If they are a friend who did not choose the option of being “male” or “female”, “he” or “she”, what does Facebook call them?
Facebook has three preferred pronoun choices: Him, her or them (Kleinberg).
If some of you are considering changing your gender information on your profile, you can go to “Update Info.” From there, scroll down to the gender section. What is fascinating is that you can choose to change your gender to custom, where you select a choice rather than an ideal pronoun.
Now, the feature is available only to the U.S. but will expand across the globe in the future. But how long will that be? I am surprised it is only in the U.S. with such an unbelievable amount of users outside of America.
I am proud that Facebook is giving people the freedom to choose. It can give them the opportunity to find and create new relationships and not have to feel alone. However, I can see very immature people using it in the wrong way and having it on their timeline as just a joke. I also hope that cyber bullying will not increase. I have heard too much about this in the past, but not recently. I would be lying to myself if I said that it has decreased.
I am curious to see how many people would feel comfortable putting this on their Facebook timeline because it is a part of their profile, in which everyone can see. This is definitely a new and interesting addition. Even more interesting to see how many people will take part in it.
Kleinberg, S. (2014, February 13). Male, female and more: Facebook announces new gender options. chicagotribune.com. Retrieved February 13, 2014, from http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/chi-facebook-gender-options-20140213,0,1059018.story