Gender on Facebook


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Gender on Facebook

  1. 1. Crafting of Gender on Facebook and Myspace Women’s Studies 301 9-10-2008 Jenna Ferguson Alyssa Spicher Julie Thompson Johnathan Kerns
  2. 2. Defining Gender… <ul><li>Sex: What you are biologically… </li></ul><ul><li>Gender: What you are based off of social influences… </li></ul><ul><li>Gender Identity: How you view yourself… </li></ul><ul><li>Gender Role: How society views you and how you are expected to behave… </li></ul>
  3. 3. “ Identifying” Gender… <ul><li>Social Behaviors and Gender… </li></ul><ul><li>Images of Self and Gender… </li></ul><ul><li>Interactions Between People and Gender… </li></ul>
  4. 4. Social Behaviors and Gender… <ul><li>What do our actions say about our own gender? </li></ul><ul><li>What we choose to engage in defines who we are and how we see ourselves… </li></ul><ul><li>For example: on Facebook/Myspace , what each person describes as their favorite activities, interests, and groups helps define masculinity, femininity, etc </li></ul>
  5. 5. Images of Self and Gender… <ul><li>Every choice we make: what clothes we wear, jewelry we select, and things we buy and use everyday, help define our gender to the outside world </li></ul><ul><li>For example: on Facebook/Myspace , the pictures we post and the captions we give them tell others a lot about us </li></ul>
  6. 6. Interactions Between People and Gender… <ul><li>How we interact with each other also describes our individual gender </li></ul><ul><li>An individuals etiquette can say volumes about what gender they designate themselves </li></ul><ul><li>Even how we speak and what we carefully (or recklessly) choose to say defines our gender… </li></ul><ul><li>For example: on Facebook/Myspace , what we say in our profiles is just as significant as what we put on them </li></ul>
  7. 7. Interactions Between People and Gender cont… <ul><li>“ The Wall” on Facebook/Myspace : where people can post comments on someone else's (or their own page), and carry on conversations. This public display of remarks can be handled uniquely depending on a person’s gender </li></ul><ul><li>Mail/Inbox: private messages that can also be analyzed by Gender Identity </li></ul>
  8. 8. Facebook/Myspace and Gender… <ul><li>Facebook recently developed an interest in users defining gender </li></ul><ul><li>“ We've gotten feedback from translators and users in other countries that translations wind up being too confusing when people have not specified a sex on their profiles.” ( Facebook product manager Naomi Gleit) </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Now gender classification is required when registering </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Transgendered users may “opt-out” of selecting their gender but this may cause gender discrepancies on their mini-feed and other applications </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Facebook/Myspace and Gender cont… <ul><li>Both sites have experienced a backlash when it comes to gender identity </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  10. 10. Facebook/Myspace and Feminism… <ul><li>Facebook/Myspace have been used to promote a feminist discourse among users as well as promote activities and illuminate current world events </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Some schools have partnered with Facebook to make their own pages to promote on campus events </li></ul><ul><ul><li>University of Connecticut’s Women’s Center </li></ul></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  11. 11. Fulfilling Stereotypes on Facebook/Myspace : Males… <ul><li>Display Pictures </li></ul><ul><li>Dominating/Aggressive pictures </li></ul><ul><li>Pictures of material possessions </li></ul><ul><li>Albums of Photos </li></ul><ul><li>Fewer photos than females </li></ul><ul><li>Sports pictures or social gatherings </li></ul><ul><li>Applications </li></ul><ul><li>Gender challenging material </li></ul><ul><li>Used to assert power over other men </li></ul><ul><li>Content Within the Blanks </li></ul><ul><li>Men often claim to have interests similar to the type of woman they want to meet </li></ul><ul><li>More women=more power </li></ul>
  12. 12. Fulfilling Stereotypes on Facebook/Myspace : Females… <ul><li>Display Pictures </li></ul><ul><li>Present vanity </li></ul><ul><li>Often show themselves in a sexual light </li></ul><ul><li>Albums of Photos </li></ul><ul><li>Dedicated to people they care about </li></ul><ul><li>Profile owners pictures are always the best </li></ul>
  13. 13. Fulfilling Stereotypes on Facebook/Myspace : Females cont… <ul><li>Applications </li></ul><ul><li>Often give each other “gifts” </li></ul><ul><li>Stickers are oriented around love, relationships, and humor </li></ul><ul><li>Content Within the Blanks </li></ul><ul><li>Women place interests on male activities in order to attract the opposite sex </li></ul>
  14. 14. Self-Conducted Interviews… <ul><li>Our group decided to interview Penn State students to understand why they use Facebook/Myspace </li></ul><ul><li>Interviewed 10 Penn State students: 5 males and 5 females between the ages of 20-24 </li></ul><ul><li>Study focused mostly on the use of Facebook </li></ul>
  15. 15. Self-Conducted Interviews… <ul><li>Interview Questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why do you use Facebook ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How is Facebook useful, other than social networking? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do you portray yourself on Facebook ? (Both men and women) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do you view others on Facebook ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What do you think of Transgender people on Facebook ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you view Facebook as a Feminist space? </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Self-Conducted Interviews… <ul><li>Why do you use Facebook ? </li></ul><ul><li>To keep in touch with friends </li></ul><ul><li>To display pictures </li></ul><ul><li>Stalking </li></ul><ul><li>Others were using it </li></ul><ul><li>Communication for school related projects </li></ul><ul><li>How is Facebook useful, other than social networking? </li></ul><ul><li>To get in touch with classmates </li></ul><ul><li>To stay informed </li></ul><ul><li>To Pass time </li></ul><ul><li>To display resume </li></ul><ul><li>To sell/advertise products </li></ul>
  17. 17. Self-Conducted Interviews… <ul><li>How do you portray yourself on Facebook ? </li></ul><ul><li>Women: </li></ul><ul><li>“ I only use pictures of myself where I look good.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I practice my profile picture.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I try to keep my facebook clean to avoid any bad consequences from professors or employers” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I have opted to keep my info basic… I feel it is superficial to describe myself in only those terms… my true friends know my interests” </li></ul><ul><li>Through looking at female profiles </li></ul><ul><li>Men: </li></ul><ul><li>“ I don’t really add pictures.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I’m not really going for a certain look on there.” </li></ul><ul><li>Through looking at male profiles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More sports application </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Joked about homosexuality </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Self-Conducted Interviews… <ul><li>How do you view other’s on Facebook ? </li></ul><ul><li>Women said they compared themselves to others on the site (in terms of appearance) </li></ul><ul><li>Use it to find out more about new acquaintances/friends/potential love interests </li></ul><ul><li>If men post pictures or get too involved in Facebook they are “girly” </li></ul><ul><li>Men didn’t really add much </li></ul><ul><li>What do you think of Transgender people on Facebook ? </li></ul><ul><li>Most didn’t know about the petition </li></ul><ul><li>Transgender is not an appropriate category (1 person) </li></ul><ul><li>Thought it should be added back as an option </li></ul>
  19. 19. Self-Conducted Interviews… <ul><li>Do you view Facebook as a Feminist space? </li></ul><ul><li> 90% of women said yes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You can start movements on Facebook </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Women can portray themselves however they like on Facebook </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lesbians on Facebook </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>10% of women said no </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Females are pressured to be sexual </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competition between Women </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. What Make’s You Popular/Our Experiment… <ul><li>Imaginary profiles created </li></ul><ul><li>Friend requests/messages </li></ul><ul><li>What does this indicate about how we portray ourselves? </li></ul><ul><li>What does this say about strangers/the Facebook audience? </li></ul>
  21. 21. Checking the Boxes/Questions for the Class… <ul><li>SEX: Male Female </li></ul><ul><li>RELATIONSHIP STATUS: Single In a Relationship Engaged Married It’s Complicated In an Open Relationship </li></ul><ul><li>LOOKING FOR: Friendship Dating A Relationship Networking </li></ul><ul><li>Do any of the options appear more on the profiles of men or women? </li></ul><ul><li>Do any of the options carry a double standard? </li></ul><ul><li>What message are they sending to the Facebook world? </li></ul>
  22. 22. Questions for the Class… <ul><li>Do you see Facebook/Myspace as a Feminist space? Why or why not? </li></ul><ul><li>Since many people believe that Facebook is discriminating against transgendered people, should users be able to “fill in the blank” when it comes to this option? </li></ul><ul><li>Are websites such as Facebook and Myspace supporting controversial issues such as gender identity and feminism, or are they perpetuating the problems? </li></ul>