Today, Facebook introduced the option of custom gender and pronoun settings on individual profiles, AKA more than just “male” or “female.” The site will now allow you to enter up to 10 different gender identities (out of about 50 possibilities) as well as pronouns — though these appear to only include he/him/his, she/her/hers and they/them/theirs. Changes are live now! 

Identities on the list include transgender, agender, cisgender, two-spirit, neutrois, genderqueer, intersex, androgynous, and many, many more. 

Here’s a portion of the FAQ:

Q: Why is Facebook doing this?

We want everyone to feel comfortable being their true, authentic selves on Facebook.  An important part of this is the expression of gender, especially when it extends beyond the definitions of just male or female.  We’re proud to have worked with leaders in the LGBT community to offer these new features to people who use Facebook. 

Q: I just signed up for Facebook and didn’t see the “custom” gender option.

A: If you are a new user, you will need to choose from the male/female gender option when signing up and then navigate back to your profile at any time after signing up to change your gender to custom.

Q. Will news feed stories appear when I change my gender? 

A. No.

Q. What is the audience of my gender?

A: If you choose a custom gender, you can select the audience for your selected gender(s), but your preferred pronoun (male, female, or neutral) will always be public.

Some of the custom gender options appear to be more of gender descriptors than identifiers, but for a lot of people these are crucial to one’s complete identity. And, womp, you can still only be “interested in” men, women or both.

Overall, this is huge. Facebook consulted with LGBT advocacy organizations to carry out this process, so there was clearly genuine thought put into it, and it’s going to give people so much more freedom, accuracy and honesty in self-identifying online. 

What do you think?


This is really cool because now you don’t have to do complicated code-y things to change your facebook pronouns!!!

Also it looks like the (55!) gender options are:

  • Agender
  • Androgyne
  • Androgynous
  • Bigender
  • Cis
  • Cis Female
  • Cis Male
  • Cis Man
  • Cis Woman
  • Cisgender Female
  • Cisgender Male
  • Cisgender Man
  • Cisgender Woman
  • FTM
  • Female to Male
  • Gender Fluid
  • Gender Variant
  • Genderqueer
  • Gender Questioning
  • Gender Nonconforming
  • Intersex
  • MTF
  • Male to Female
  • Neither
  • Neutrois
  • Non-binary
  • Other
  • Pangender
  • Trans
  • Trans Female
  • Trans Male
  • Trans Man
  • Trans Person
  • Trans Woman
  • Trans*
  • Trans* Female
  • Trans* Male
  • Trans* Man
  • Trans* Person
  • Trans* Woman
  • Transfeminine
  • Transgender
  • Transgender Female
  • Transgender Male
  • Transgender Man
  • Transgender Person
  • Transgender Woman
  • Transmasculine
  • Transsexual
  • Transsexual Female
  • Transsexual Male
  • Transsexual Man
  • Transsexual Person
  • Transsexual Woman
  • Two-spirit

So I guess this is cool in terms of allowing people to describe themselves how they want to and in multiple ways! I think this is complicated and obviously has flaws but is interesting and definitely a step up from just “male”/”female” or “do not show on profile” and/or [edit html to gender from facebook]

I think the question of what makes a strong female character often goes misinterpreted, and instead we get these two-dimensional superwomen, who maybe have one quality that’s played up alot. Like, you know, a catwoman type. Or she plays her sexuality up a lot and it’s seen as power. But they’re not strong characters who happen to be female, they’re completely flat, and are basically cardboard characters. The problem with this is that then people expect women to be that easy to understand and women are mad at themselves for not being that simple. When in actuality, women are complicated. Women are multi-faceted, not because women are crazy, but because people are crazy and women happen to be people.
Tavi Gavinson, Still Figuring It Out on TedxTeen (via nouvel-esprit)

“But there is no female counterpart in our culture to Ishmael or Huck Finn. There is no Dean Moriarty, Sal, or even a Fuckhead. It sounds like a doctoral crisis, but it’s not. As a fifteen-year-old hitchhiker, my survival depended upon other people’s ability to envision a possible future for me. Without a Melvillean or Kerouacian framework, or at least some kind of narrative to spell out a potential beyond death, none of my resourcefulness or curiosity was recognizable, and therefore I was unrecognizable.”

And that’s the part that disturbs me. The heart of the question implies that if a male character is “strong” that’s to be expected, because boys and men are strong. Normal. Default. Go about your business. But if a female character leads a story, does stuff, has a voice and a purpose and changes her life or others’ lives or starts or stops a war or makes a stand or has power then it’s newsworthy, because that’s not expected, not true to life. Not normal. Not our default assumption about girls. So stop and take note. I know I shouldn’t still be surprised by that question, but I am, every time. When I began writing novels, I assumed I wouldn’t have to prove my right as a woman writer or have to dig out a place for female characters. I thought people who had come before me had already done that, writers like Tamora Pierce, Robin McKinley, Anne McCaffrey, Ursula LeGuin. I felt like I didn’t have the burden of screaming back at the world, “a girl can carry an action story, look, look!” While writing I’d decided that sexism didn’t even exist in my fantasy worlds and I never had to wrestle with it. In my worlds, girls do stuff and nobody thinks two things about it. But it turns out that my books aren’t published in my fantasy worlds. They’re published in this world.
But why? Women today make up more than half of the population, and 80 percent of the fiction market, yet we are still considered a niche. The fact that ladies read is still somehow news, and whenever too many of us pick up one particular book, like 50 Shades of Grey, commentators dissect the contents for clues as to what women (all of them) are thinking. As Jessica Grose detailed in Slate earlier this month, books written by women—like her own debut novel, Sad Desk Salad—are often instantly subjugated as “for-girls-only,” marketed as something lesser-than, and then unfairly scrutinized. “[W]hy, for instance, was a series like Twilight so much more critically derided than Steig Larsson’s Millennium trilogy? Both sets are huge best-sellers, and both are horribly written (unless you like elaborate, repetitive descriptions of sandwiches). But Larsson’s were never painted as embarrassing, pathetic props for bored housewives (or their husbands),” Grose wrote. “Larsson’s weren’t sneered at by the critical class the way that popular books in women specific genres tend to be.”

Still, [Junot] Diaz admits that writing in a woman’s voice comes with certain risks. “The one thing about being a dude and writing from a female perspective is that the baseline is, you suck,” he told me. “The baseline is it takes so long for you to work those atrophied muscles—for you to get on parity with what women’s representations of men are. For me, I always want to do better. I wish I had another 10 years to work those muscles so that I can write better women characters. I wring my hands because I know that as a dude, my privilege, my long-term deficiencies work against me in writing women, no matter how hard I try and how talented I am.”

For one of the most lauded writers of his generation to say he needs another decade of practice to write better women is no small thing. But Diaz told me that he’s often appalled by the portrayals of women in celebrated novels.

“I know from my long experience of reading,” he said, “that the women characters that dudes [write] make no fucking sense for the most part. Not only do they make no sense, they’re introduced just for sexual function.”

He gave a high-profile example, though he wouldn’t name names.

“There’s a book that came out recently from a writer I admire enormously. A woman character gets introduced. I said, ‘I promise you, this girl is just here to throw herself at the dude, even though the dude has done nothing, nothing, to merit or warrant a woman throwing herself at him.’ And lo and behold. This brilliant young American writer, that everybody sort of considers the god of American writing, turns around and does exactly that. When I asked my female friends, we all had a little gathering, and I was chatting. I was like, ‘Have you heard of a woman doing this?’ They’re like, ‘Are you fucking nuts?’”

On the other hand, Diaz said, “I think the average woman writes men just exceptionally well.” He cited Anne Enright, Maile Meloy, and Jesmyn Ward as examples of younger writers who write great male characters—and pointed to two of his idols, Jamaica Kincaid and Toni Morrison, as timeless masters. But he also detects an across-the-board improvement even in woman-penned books that are less than high-brow, especially in Young Adult fiction. “Look how well the boys are rendered in The Hunger Games,” he said.

this quote is complete magic to me (from this article). (via nailure)


But what about Ripley? I know, there are examples here and there of female characters who take up that ring or big damn gun or quest and run with it into their own proverbial sunset (or don’t). But they’re still far from the norm in fiction. And, more importantly, there are certain types of characters who are practically never written as women. Captain Jack Sparrow. Ford Prefect. Loki. Jonathan Strange. Gandalf. In fact, that’s a whole other dilemma, but one that still demands investigation.

Lisbeth Salander of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a hero of pop fiction, some might say. But how many women only become heroic figures due to terrible trauma in their lives (that are usually rape and/or physical violence)? Salander is the poster child for this sort of female character-building, the kind that films like Sucker Punch have capitalized on to their own overblown, outrageous conclusions.

It’s not that we should do away with narratives where women overcome abuse at the hands of men; those are important stories in their own right. But that’s not the sort of hero that every woman is looking for. Maybe she’d like a woman who is trying to overcome fear, or indolence, maybe she would like to see someone who is coming to terms with a Great Destiny™. Maybe everyone would like to see that.”

"Regardless of the fact that some female authors tend to write on subjects that might be more interesting to female readers, there are plenty of others who write books that should be readily accepted by the masses. It is interesting to ponder whether Harry Potter would have received the same fanfare if J.K. Rowling had published as Joanne Rowling instead.

Before you get to the readers, however, there are publishers to consider as well. Some women feel the need to submit manuscripts under androgynous or male-seeming pen names simply to get their work read and potentially accepted for publication.”

(via LISNews)

"But I didn’t mind. I was happy that my editor altered the cover of my book, advertising it more transparently as a woman’s story. Itopened doors for me, gaining me readers I probably would not have found otherwise. It struck me as smart marketing, if not a declaration of the major ‘event’ that an all-text cover apparently spells. A work doesn’t depreciate when it’s placed in a certain genre. In some instances, I think, it can even be elevated. And ultimately, it stands or falls on the merits of what’s inside. Wolitzer talks about the confining effects that such cover art implies, but there’s an alternate effect as well, one that is basic and benign: It helps readers find what they might like. And in helping readers, it helps writers.”

(via LISNews)