There used to be a time when the concept of ‘gender’ was very simple: there were just two genders, male and female. Gender used to just be something purely biological; if you were born a female, you were of the female gender, and if you were born a male, you were of the male gender. These days, the concept of gender has become a lot more complex and somewhat convoluted; it isn’t just about a person’s biology any more. Many people look at more than biology when it comes to determining what gender they are and the number of different types of gender has seemingly skyrocketed. Facebook has a total of 71 gender options, which some have hailed as a great thing because it caters to pretty much every minority, but is this all a bit too much? Should Facebook really have so many gender options?
Yes – gender isn’t just black and white any more
What’s the harm in having so many gender options? Surely it can only be a good thing – gender isn’t just about male and female any more and many people prefer to use other terms to identify themselves. Having ‘male’ and ‘female’, or even ‘male’, ‘female’ and ‘other,’ isn’t good enough because it doesn’t allow everyone to express their gender how they want to. A lot of research was done to produce a list of genders that would cater for as much of the population as possible; the reason it’s so long is because the world’s population is so diverse and there are lots of different ways people classify their gender. A growing number of people don’t classify themselves as ‘male’ or ‘female’ and society should recognise that. A long list of gender options simply gives minorities the right to express their gender, just like the majority do – surely that can’t be a bad thing?
No – cater for the majority and keep things simple
On the other hand, you could well argue that having so many gender options is political correctness gone too far. Biologically speaking, there are only two genders and a few generations ago, society acknowledged that fact. These days, it’s all become so complicated and the concept of gender isn’t just black and white any more. Can’t people just accept the fact that gender is at its heart a very simple concept? Why does it have to be turned into something politically motivated? Why can’t people just be happy with ‘male’ and ‘female’? You could argue that 71 genders is far too many, especially considering a lot of them overlap: for example, aren’t transexual female, transexual woman, trans*woman, trans*female and trans female all just the same thing?
What do you think about this? Is Facebook right to have so many genders to reflect the fact that people classify their gender in a large number of ways, or should Facebook just keep things simple and only have ‘male’, ‘female’ and possibly ‘other’?