[Air-l] Making gender complicated on Friendster

Lauren Squires squires at virginia.edu
Mon Dec 12 06:13:32 PST 2005

Hi list,

Not to keep bringing up Friendster, but I noticed something that may be of 
interest to people working on gender-related themes as well as social 
networking sites.

There's currently a bulletin board post going around Friendster that is a 
petition to get Friendster to add an "it's complicated" option to the gender 
choices (which are just "male" or "female."  "It's complicated" is a 
recently-added option for relationship status).  The bulletin board head 
reads "Gender-make it "complicated" on friendster."  I have no idea how 
widespread this is - my hunch is not very, but I only have access to the 
bulletins of my friends, and three of them have posted it, so I'm curious if 
it's out there elsewhere.

1) Has anyone else seen this post or heard about it?  Do we know of any 
similar instances of user-driven system changes toward a >2-gender norm? 
 Has this happened before on Friendster or other networking sites? (I 
haven't seen it on Myspace, for instance, and I pretty much have the same 
friends on both sites)

2) Is "It's complicated" the best phrasing for an addition of more gender 

Interested in any and all thoughts (take a break from grading/writing 

Lauren Squires
Linguistics Program
University of Virginia

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