Does Facebook intentionally limit who you can love?

Facebook Sex

I have better things to be doing, and I’m really behind on a lot of serious topics I want to write about, but Facebook doesn’t give its users fifty six different ways to describe their gender identity every day. My first pass, titled Are Facebook’s relationship status options a little bit sexist?, garnered the following comment on — appropriately enough — Facebook:

Let’s be real here: what the author’s upset about is the third gender, and is using the widow thing as a pretense B)

I wasn’t sure if this was a fair characterization, so I took the opportunity to interview the author and evaluate his true intentions for myself. As it turns out, the widow thing was, indeed, a pretense – however, the commenter got the rest of his/her/variant assertion wrong. The author is not upset that Facebook added a “third” gender — assuming he is “upset” at all — but simply miffed that the service deigned to limit its options to a mere fifty six.

Since when does Mark Zuckerberg get off on being the arbiter of what qualifies as a legitimate gender identity? The author’s point, he told me, is that if Facebook can give fifty six options for gender, why not do the same for relationship statuses? Better, why straightjacket us into those preselected categories? Why not just let everyone choose whatever the hell gender they want?

In the course of our interview, the author admit that he felt a shred of remorse about the article — not because he felt it belittled or diminished the tremendous achievement of the gender-interested community, but because his focus on relationship statuses as a foil to gender was a strategic and rhetorical blunder. A better option would have been to highlight the strict binary Facebook foists upon its users when it comes to their sexual preferences:

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One analyst hilariously misses the point, so let me try to help him out

2010 -- Skip Bayless

First Take, shortly after the Superbowl [excerpted below]:

Skip, you started out on a promising note:

I was dead wrong about this game. I had Denver, the favorite, winning a close, low-scoring game. Forty three to eight? Are you kidding me? So, my big-picture take-away is that . . .

So far, so good. Go on…

. . . my big-picture take-away is that on a night that was made outdoors, in New Jersey, in February, for Peyton Manning — almost fifty degrees at kickoff! — and with today’s rules, obviously, favoring the offense to score nothing but point after point after point, that Seattle defense shocked me by making a case, making a statement, and we will debate this a little later in the show, that it should be the unit considered for all-time greatness, because it didn’t just dominate Peyton Manning & Company, I thought it basically bullied Peyton Manning & Company . . .

But I’m gonna have to stop you there. Yes, everything you just said is basically true, but I don’t know that it’s the big-picture take-away anyone was looking for. But you were so close, so let’s try this again, from the top:

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You won’t believe what one Danish ice skater wore to his Olympic performance


[Editor's note: I originally pounded out this post in a huge rush. It got a lot of views, but suffered from the fact that it didn't make a lot of sense. I decided to take advantage of a brief airport layover to reformulate what I had written into something more sensible. You can check out the replacement post, in case you want to compare for some reason.]

Denmark has had a pretty quiet showing at the Olympic games in Sochi, amassing precisely zero medals thus far.

Meanwhile, giving lie to the aphorism that any publicity is good publicity, the country has managed to make headlines in the world of sports for the sharpshooting talents of the Copenhagen Zookeepers:

A Danish zoo sparked outrage Sunday when it put down a healthy young giraffe . . . The fate of 18-month-old Marius shocked animal lovers around the world, with thousands signing an online petition to save him and a billionaire offering to buy him and keep him in his Beverly Hills garden.

However last-ditch efforts to spare Marius were to no avail . . . A crowd of visitors, including small children, looked on as the giraffe was put down. Some grimaced while others took photos as he was autopsied and chopped up.

Apparently no one told Denmark that shooting giraffe is a competition traditionally held during the Summer Olympics. (Unsurprisingly, Kazakhstan dominates.)

But Denmark wasn’t done. In an event that has yet to air in the United States, the country sent one of its skaters out onto the ice looking like this:

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Are Facebook’s relationship status options a little bit sexist?

Facebook small

[Editor's note: Granted, everyone's a little bit sexist. But because the headline might imply otherwise, I should really tell you upfront I'm only talking about one of them.]

Facebook made a lot of headlines today with the announcement that it will now allow its users to choose from among fifty different descriptors of gender:

In a nod to the “it’s complicated” sexual identities of many of its users, the social network on Thursday added a third “custom” gender option for people’s profiles. In addition to Male or Female, Facebook now lets U.S. users choose among some 50 additional options such as “transgender,” “cisgender,” “gender fluid,” “intersex” and “neither.”

[Editor's note: Gender fluid certainly does sound like it would go nicely with a seafood dinner and a box of chocolate.]

The new options appear to be quite progressive, but is Facebook really just trying to cover up some of the other ways in which it is insensitive to gender differences? Just take a look at the various relationship statuses from which the service asks its users to choose:

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This 275-pound man was offered cookies for dinner. Here’s what he should have done next.

cookies for dinner

Michael Bennett played a key role in the Seahawks Superbowl victory, but even though the team would like to resign him, the city it calls home hasn’t exactly been giving him the royal treatment. Take, for instance, his recent experience with Seattle-based Alaska Airlines:

Poor guy. Cookies for dinner? Sounds almost as absurd as candy for breakfast! Or the idea that airline customers matter.

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Updated: Seattle’s Superbowl in very brief historic perspective

malcolm smith superbowl mvp

More people crammed into downtown Seattle yesterday to celebrate the Seahawks’ victory in Superbowl XLVIII (~700,000) than live in the city of Seattle (~630,000).*

Why so excited? Act like you’ve been there before, etc.

Well, check out Seattle’s rank among Forbes list of America’s Most Miserable Sports Cities, by year, since the list’s inauguration:

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