Saturday, June 28, 2008

Her/Himselves vs. Themselves

Facebook is adding a new layer to its identifiers: a gender portion of the profile. The idea is that the mini-feeds and news-feeds will now appropriately describe the users movements. Meaning, instead of saying, "Jane Doe tagged themselves in a photo," it will now say "Jane Doe tagged herself in a photo."

And while this may be practical for searching or organizing, Facebook creators understand that folks who fall outside of the gender binary may want to opt out of the dichotomous setting.

"We've received pushback in the past from groups that find the male-female distinction too limiting," Gleit's post explained. "We have a lot of respect for these communities, which is why it will still be possible to remove gender entirely from your account."

It is a good thing that a massive social site is being so mindful of people's identities, but I wonder if by allowing members to opt out the new tagging mechanism, is it also perpetuating marginalization because now folks who chose "themselves" will be noted as someone who may not identify as someone under the limiting umbrella of Facebook's gender labels.

Perhaps progressives can silently protest the new twist on the markers by opting out of the gender binary, no matter where they fall on the continuum.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Quick Hit: GENDA Passes in NY

Joining a dozen other states, New York's powers-that-be agreed with gender identity advocates in the recognition of the necessity for an anti-discrimination bill for folks who fall outside of the gender binary.

The GENDA bill will pose as the legislative leg for folks to stand on if they are discriminated against when applying for employment, housing, credit lines and public accommodations, according to articles written about the June 3rd passing of the bill.

For many reasons, including anti-bullying measures and protection for transgender individuals, GENDA is a milestone in that governmental bodies are looking for ways to curb the status quo by reaching further in to the gray area of the continuum.

That beings said, some pundits have opposed the passing of the bill because many feel that criminalizing perpetuators of stereotypes is not always the best solution. Why make a law to force people to be nice to one another. Unfortunately, society needs guidelines to eliminate the, often nasty and violent, biases that the current hierarchy persists on maintaining.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Blatant sexism.

This is a great example of how news pundits perpetuate sexism via slams against women who are governmental representatives, journalists, authors, and the like.

And while much of these comments were made on Fox, a station that is notorious for being, um, less than politically correct, tears of frustration, anger, fear and overwhelming sadness crept up while watching this. Knowing that women are still not respected is a reason to fight the good fight, but it also reminds me of the very real work that needs to be done.

Even though I am a supporter and fan of Obama, I hate that non-supporters of Rodham-Clinton may be against her because "she sounds like your first nagging wife." And that she is "only in the senate because she husband messed around." Where would we be if she was a gay woman? Would she even be in the race at all? I doubt it. Behind every ball-breaking joke, is the reality that at the end of the day she goes home to a man, and (apparently) for some folks that was the only thing keeping her afloat in this world.