February 14, 2014

Baskin-Robbins had 32 flavors, and Facebook has 50 genders.

It's just a commercial gimmick, and I know I'm letting it work on me by giving the little boost of publicity that a blog post is.

Whatever you say about this — wherever you are on the 50 or 100 or 1,000 positions there are on the continuum of reaction — you'll be rewarding Facebook. Even if you leave Facebook and tell all your friends to leave Facebook, you'll be helping Facebook, because they want a better proportion of hip, young people. They've got the problem of young people not using Facebook anymore. Go ahead and leave, conspicuously, and look like you're taking your old, uncool friends with you.

List of genders below the link. They aren't so much different genders as different forms of expression about gender. They could have simply given everyone an open window to fill in. We have an open space to write in our name. There's no drop-down menu with millions of names. At what point in website construction do you normally switch from a menu of options to a window to be filled in? Far less than 50, I presume.

This list of 50 was constructed as a viral ad for Facebook. We're supposed to talk about it, react, and spread the word. So, whatever, I'm in this far. Here, I'll give 10 words:

1. It's funny that the list still has "other" as an option. 2. There's also "neither." 3. This is a list of everything the Facebook people imagined anyone writing in the blank if we were just given a blank within which to write what we want, 4. Now, I'm having a flashback to the olden days when we thought it was hilarious to fill in the box labeled "sex" with: "on a regular basis," 5. The first item on the list is "Agender," and you know Facebook has the most obvious hidden agender I've ever seen, 6. No, no, no, I'm not going to look up the terms I don't understand, 7. "Androgyne" seems anodyne, 8. "Two-spirit" sounds New Age-y, 9. "Bigender" could use a hyphen so people don't see the syllable break as "Big Ender," 10. And yet "Big Ender" could itself be a gender, because as long as we're trying to come up with as many options as possible, if you can think of it, why can't you be it? 11. At this point, what difference does it make? 12. Oh, I've gone to 11? You thought there would be only 10 items on my list? And now I've gone to 12. Take that, unhip loser. Don't repress me, man. Get off of Facebook, the website used by the hippest, coolest users.

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

77 comments:

St. George said...

There's no "Male" or "Female" on the list!

rhhardin said...

Big ender already already means most significant byte stored in the lowest address.

There are also bi-enders where the byte order and word order differ.

rhhardin said...

MAD magazine had the planet with 26 sexes.

A growing group visits bars trying to pick up the necessary number but can't find a mu.

"Mu's are so standoffish."

"I've never had to go to a mu-house in my life."

Ann Althouse said...

"There's no "Male" or "Female" on the list!"

Good observation. The answer is that Male and Female are standard options. And:

"If you set your gender to Custom and select one or more genders, you can also select an audience for your custom gender. In addition to your custom gender, you'll choose a Preferred Pronoun. The preferred pronoun you select is public."

rhhardin said...

Grammar inflections are hell to learn on Facebook.

Ralph Hyatt said...

"At what point in website construction do you normally switch from a menu of options to a window to be filled in? Far less than 50, I presume."

Websites routinely use drop down menus when asking what state and country you reside in.

Ralph Hyatt said...

Drop down menus are often used for birth year, often starting at the present year and going back well over 50 years. Personally, I think that is bad design. You should allow the user to input the data, check that it conforms to required parameters and if it doesn't then provide an error message to the user and allow them to re-input the data.
But throwing in a drop down menu with 100+ choices is easier to do.

Shouting Thomas said...

Who said that a college liberal arts degree that renders one unemployable and $100,000 in student loan debt wasn't worth it?

You get your choice of "genders!"

Pick carefully lest you fall down the rankings in the never ending victim sweepstakes.

Shouting Thomas said...

Kurt Vonnegut predicted this long ago.

He didn't foresee the internet, but he did foresee a society in which everybody was divided up into a club with its own newsletter devoted to advancing its grievance/identity.

Ron said...

yes, rhhardin....you are not so much "mated" with someone, but "masked" or worse still "XORed"!

Illuninati said...

Now if the lefties were as eager to erase race as an indelible category as they are to erase gender the World would be a much better place. If the lefties were not such hypocrites each person could choose which race they feel they belong to. The lefties want to keep the racial categories hard and fast since they derive power by stirring up racial hatred.

I actually had that happen to me in Africa where my playmates asked me which tribe I belonged to. For them tribe was an indelible feature but for me since I didn't clearly match any tribe, they gave me the choice. As soon as my father heard about that he told me to never chose a tribe again.

paminwi said...

There's also "neither."

Don't call me "he", don't call me "she" call me "they" or "zie". WTF?

An employer has to defend against a BS lawsuit like this?

http://dailycaller.com/2014/02/09/disgruntled-worker-who-is-not-a-female-or-a-male-sues-for-518682-over-pronouns/

Ann Althouse said...

"Websites routinely use drop down menus when asking what state and country you reside in."

Good point. Maybe that's why the generated — genderated — a list of 50.

I find it much easier to type "WI" than to scroll all the way down to the 49th item on the list, and but if you type it and hit "enter" it works even when there is a menu. I think if you types something not on the menu, that won't work, so it's a way to spell check you and make you use the correct 2-letter abbreviation.

Facebook's options do restrict you to set spellings, and if people went free-style, there might be thousands of variations. By restricting even to 50, they can create affiliations and do various promotions that serve their interests and maybe give people some connections they'll like.

Ann Althouse said...

"He didn't foresee the internet, but he did foresee a society in which everybody was divided up into a club with its own newsletter devoted to advancing its grievance/identity."

Yeah, how are you liking your "Bullshit Grievances of Cranky Old White Guys Who Somehow Think They're Still Cool and Marginally Relevant" newsletter? It must be fascinating reading for your identity group.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

"Websites routinely use drop down menus when asking what state and country you reside in."

That works when you are looking for something specific like state or your birth year. But when you have to read a list and make a choice then 50 is way too much.

Walt said...

There should be a category for me in there somewhere. What is it when I'm basically saying, "I don't care what you call me or what you call yourself because I'm not doing it with you as it appears to be way too much trouble for damn little in return, so just go f off or f anybody or thing you want if they don't object too much, but leave me the hell alone with your pseudo nonsense and I'll just be fine with that?"

AReasonableMan said...

Ann Althouse said...
Yeah, how are you liking your "Bullshit Grievances of Cranky Old White Guys Who Somehow Think They're Still Cool and Marginally Relevant" newsletter? It must be fascinating reading for your identity group.


Shouting Thomas, the new edutcher.

rhhardin said...

Sarcasm doesn't work.

It's easily learned, but kids stop using it sometime in high school.

It's lazy. It means "something is wrong but you have to figure out what it is, not me."

It keeps you from having to figure out anything.

The only use I've seen what was good was in BC long ago

X: Meet Smiley, master of sarcastic wit.

Y: Oh yeah? Say something sarcastic.

Smiley: Pleased to meet you.

The only problem is that it wasn't sarcasm but just cleverness and irony.

So sarcasm's record is unbroken.

raf said...

I keep wishing for a "None Of Your Business" option.

Titus said...


Yeah, how are you liking your "Bullshit Grievances of Cranky Old White Guys Who Somehow Think They're Still Cool and Marginally Relevant" newsletter? It must be fascinating reading for your identity group.

thanks for the morning laugh.

Ralph Hyatt said...

"By restricting even to 50, they can create affiliations and do various promotions that serve their interests and maybe give people some connections they'll like."

Agreed, but at the risk of being identified as a "Cranky Old White Guy" (who has never been cool), 50 Genders? This takes the gender identification (thing? movement? What the hell do you call this stuff?) into the beyond parody zone.

Things were a lot easier when you were either straight or gay and anything beyond that was a fetish.

William said...

I looked up cis. If your perception of your gender matches your external genitalia, then you are cis.

Laslo Spatula said...

You can have a drop-down list of one hundred and someone, somewhere, will still feel excluded.

Shouting Thomas said...

@Althouse

I'm never gonna ask you for a date if you keep doing that.

Laslo Spatula said...

We are turning ourselves into grocery lists.

The Drill SGT said...

What? no Womyn? I'm outraged...

William said...

Is cis an edgy, hip way of being normal or is cis an edgy, hip way of putting down normal?

Shouting Thomas said...

One of the odder manifestations of feminism is that American white women have become infatuated with the idea that men should work really really hard to be nice to women precisely because they are bitchy, self-centered and endlessly demanding. We men are supposed to rise to the challenge.

That's why I'm with a Filipina, Althouse. Instead of rising to the challenge, I actually chose a woman who is devoted to taking care of me and making me feel good.

That's still an option, although I'm sure you and your Weird Sisters are working on outlawing it.

Filipinas, unlike you, have some sense. You could learn a lot just by looking, to paragraph Yogi Berra.

Shouting Thomas said...

And, if you don't love that "paragraph" thing, you aren't a Yogi Berra fan.

John said...

Bill, Republic of Texas said...
"Websites routinely use drop down menus when asking what state and country you reside in."

That works when you are looking for something specific like state or your birth year. But when you have to read a list and make a choice then 50 is way too much.
----------------------
It also works because, presumably, you KNOW which state - of the well-defined, universal states you live in and WHEN you were born - defined by a universally accepted calendar. Presumably, your "gender" should be in this all-inclusive-list making it easy to find.

But then again, isn't AGE just a STATE of mind anyway?

Toby said...

What's the over/under on weeks until we hear complaints that this list is incomplete & Facebook is being disrespectful/oppressive by not including some newly coined term?

rhhardin said...

After you use a drop down menu, you pull up the ladder.

Bob Boyd said...

Fifty States
Fifty Stars
Fifty Genders
What a country.

Laslo Spatula said...

Gender has nothing to do with your gendertalia.

Laslo Spatula said...

For the shoe to fit there must first be fifty sizes available.

Paul Mac said...

Most of what goes on Facebook isn't real anyway and hasn't been for some time.

Veritasium: Facebook Fraud

Paco Wové said...

It seems the age-old desire to épater le bourgeois is becoming a hysterical need.

Laslo Spatula said...

If these fifty options could be discerned in utero would they not be used by prospective parents in their 'family planning'?

'We already have three 'Gender Nonconforming' children; we were really hoping for a 'Cis' this time.'

Sean Gleeson said...

But Baskin-Robbins always had 31 flavors!

Paco Wové said...

"Remember: You Can Still Piss Off Your Parents With Facebook!"

MadisonMan said...

I get the feeling facebook is laughing at the non-heteronormative out there. Look who uses facebook these days, after all.

Grandparents.

Anglelyne said...

..."Bullshit Grievances of Cranky Old White Guys Who Somehow Think They're Still Cool and Marginally Relevant" newsletter?

Not a member, but I subscribe to their newsletter because they often talk about cool things and ideas. The content of all the other groups' newsletters is usually just boring shit about how the guys in the BGCOWG club make them feel.

Ann Althouse said...

"That works when you are looking for something specific like state or your birth year. But when you have to read a list and make a choice then 50 is way too much."

Excellent point.

You might impulsively pick one that fits and then miss one that fits even better on a list like this gender list. I think it's designed to make people who aren't really using the list to think and talk about all the many things on the list.

John said...

"Facebook came up with its range of terms after consulting with leading gay and transgender activists, and the company plans to continue working with them. Facebook started the options in the U.S. and plans to take it global after working with activists abroad to come up with terms appropriate in other countries.link

Apparently, the list will continue to grow...

Anglelyne said...

raf: I keep wishing for a "None Of Your Business" option.

I once volunteered to be a subject for a polling company, but they kept asking me about my sexual preferences and taste in pubic hair styling, so I told them to piss off.

Saint Croix said...

Imagine having this fun with race.

Race is an entirely made up category. It's utterly undefined, and can't be defined. How many races are there? Nobody knows. Nobody can answer that question. Try to limit race sometime. Two people have sex, boom, a baby with a new race is born.

And yet we pretend that race is so serious, and so locked in.

AReasonableMan said...

Anglelyne said...

Not a member


Are you sure? You seem to pay your dues regularly enough.

Illuninati said...

Anglelyne said...
"Not a member, but I subscribe to their newsletter because they often talk about cool things and ideas. The content of all the other groups' newsletters is usually just boring shit about how the guys in the BGCOWG club make them feel."

Excellent. Your post demonstrates once again that Western women are not a monolithic group. Neither are Filipinas by the way.

Shouting Thomas said...

Neither are Filipinas by the way.

True, but there are group differences.

Shouting Thomas said...

You might want to take a look at my Old White Geezer weblog some day.

Won't link to it, because I'll just give Althouse an excuse to crow that I want to kiss her ass.

This Old White Geezer uses his newsletter to put up music, talk about his grandkid, post pictures about the good things in life, etc.

If you can find a grievance there, I'll kiss Althouse's ass.

pduggie said...

I want to pick "heteronormative"

Illuninati said...

Saint Croix said...
"And yet we pretend that race is so serious, and so locked in."

As they say, "follow the money." Of course power is even more important to many people than money. Race baiting is an excellent way to achieve and maintain power.






pduggie said...

Ironically, having male and female be the only genders is actually a custom in our society. But people think they can change customs.

Also ironic is that when you decide to 'customize' your gender you get to be other than male or female. I suppose that's not actually the 105% societal buy-in identitarians want out of customary american society. But it will have to do for the next six months until the SJWs bring their ire to fully functioning status

Ann Althouse said...

"Facebook came up with its range of terms after consulting with leading gay and transgender activists…"

Maybe it was like when the NYT consulted with a grunge music insider to come up with a range of grunge terms...

Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CStanley said...

"Facebook came up with its range of terms after consulting with leading gay and transgender activists…"

Maybe it was like when the NYT consulted with a grunge music insider to come up with a range of grunge terms...

2/14/14, 9:50 AM

Al Roker had a similar embarrassment the other day, interviewing a couple of snowboarders and asking about their slang terms. Apparently the list he was given wasn't authentic and the two snowboarders were looking at him with pity as they told him they had no idea what he was talking about,

Inga said...

"He didn't foresee the internet, but he did foresee a society in which everybody was divided up into a club with its own newsletter devoted to advancing its grievance/identity."
----------------------------

"Yeah, how are you liking your "Bullshit Grievances of Cranky Old White Guys Who Somehow Think They're Still Cool and Marginally Relevant" newsletter? It must be fascinating reading for your identity group."

2/14/14, 7:44 AM
-----------------------------
After reading that I was laughing so hard that at my advanced age and prima gravida of four, I had to make sure I was close to the facilities here at Starbucks. I think people were wondering what I was guffawing at.


mccullough said...

If Facebook can generate 50 pronouns to match the 50 genders, that would be impressive.

Anglelyne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kirk Parker said...

"Facebook's options do restrict you to set spellings"

Haters!

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I still want to know what are the other five of the Seven Genders in C.S. Lewis' "Space Trilogy" universe. Apparently Viritrilbia and Malacandra (Mercury and Mars) are male, and Perelandra (Venus) is female, but Glund (Jupiter) and Lurga (Saturn) are neither.

Anglelyne said...

Inga: After reading that I was laughing so hard that at my advanced age and prima gravida of four...

All four of your children are your first born?

Kirk Parker said...

Anglelyne @ 12:00pm,

Good catch!

Kirk Parker said...

... maybe that's why Inga is so conflicted on the abortion issue.

</MorbidThought>

CStanley said...

Wasn't Basking Robbins 31 flavors, as in "thirty-wonderful"?

Did they get sued for discriminating against piña colada or something?

Kirk Parker said...

(Yes, I know, she said "gravida" not "para", but considering her loose grasp on reality...)

Jim said...

I would be happy if they gave me something other than "like" when someone posts that their Kitty died.

Kirk Parker said...

Jim @ 2:55 PM,

You owe me a new keyboard! Where should I send the bill?

Kirk Parker said...

Jim,

You're asking for a "Yes, There Really Is A God!" button?

The Godfather said...

Is there a difference between "Male" and "Cis Male"? Please respond immediately!

khematite@aol.com said...

Am I the only one who actually did read "bigender" as "big ender" and thought that I must have missed something when I read "Gulliver's Travels"?

Inga said...

Yes, I had quintuplets. ;)

Inga said...

Actually it's gravida 4 para 4.

kentuckyliz said...

My gender isn't listed--booklover. Every time I'm out on a date, I think, I'd rather be at home with a good book.

And yes, I'm bigender, in that I have an ample bum. Again, not something I want to state obviously on facebook. One must discover that for oneself IRL.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

Facebook is the preferred platform of yesterday's generation. It is desperate to reinvent itself. Perhaps it could try twerking its gender list or introduce some other oddity to attract attention.

Rich Rostrom said...

8. "Two-spirit" sounds New Age-y...

It's a reference to a form of ritual transvestism practiced in some American Indian cultures.