There comes a point in time when the quest for tolerance warps a person’s mind. Facebook may have reached that point.
The Associated Press reports:
MENLO PARK, Calif. — You don’t have to be just male or female on Facebook anymore. The social media giant has added a customizable option with about 50 different terms people can use to identify their gender as well as three preferred pronoun choices: him, her or them.
Facebook said the changes, shared with The Associated Press before the launch on Thursday, initially cover the company’s 159 million monthly users in the U.S. and are aimed at giving people more choices in how they describe themselves, such as androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid or transsexual.
While I have no idea what it feels like to be a transsexual, and I’m happy if it means “the world” to someone to have the ability to select that as their Facebook gender, it also seems to be tolerance overkill to include 50 custom genders. Why stop there? If there are 50 genders that mean the world to Facebook users, there must be more out there. Like Indiana Jones, we must press forward into the unknown.
If you’re going to use “two-spirit,” “pan gender,” “genderqueer,” “gender variant,” “gender fluid,” “neutrois” and dozens of other genders, at what does it just make sense to allow users to just fill in whatever the heck they want? When Facebook becomes Genderbook, it begs the question: Is it possible to jump the shark on tolerance?
At some point in time, will activist groups seek to allow individuals to put “neutrois” on their driver’s license? Will workplace environments have to keep track of the number of new “gender fluid” hires for professional bean counters? There are legitimate chromosomal issues that people have that would warrant an expansion of Facebook genders — and it is important to be sympathetic to their problems — but as a society it appears that we have turned into the equivalent of the doting mother who won’t let her children leave the house out of the fear that something bad will happen to them or someone will hurt their feelings.
When things get too convoluted on most forms there is an “other” category. ‘Other’ is generally an innocuous term that encapsulates the multitude of answers someone could give if they were left to their own devices. If I was a Facebook engineer I would have gone with “male,” “female,” and “other,” … which is probably reason 5,471 why I’m not a Facebook engineer. Regardless, I’d like to know what you think. Did Facebook jump the tolerance shark or am I just gender rigid?