Betraying Bias

There’s been some sociological and feminist chatter about why Facebook chooses a “white man” as their generic human avatar. Hey, I thought, that “dude” looks sort of like me. So I got out my camera to experiment. Here are the results.

Facebook’s generic “male” avatar:


So what does it mean that all these “question authority” folks are assuming that this short-haired silhouette is male? And who really is displaying their own assumptions and bias?


6 responses to “Betraying Bias

  1. i believe it means that….umm… rock? and sometimes we are stupid? and btw, how did you avatar yourself? thats cool. azg

  2. Just took a little help from a brightly lit window, a low-res camera setting, and Microsoft Paint. A snap, really!

  3. How do you spell geek? J-F-S!

  4. I’m one of the wackos at Feministing who disagrees with Jessica. And that post comes just days after some blogs criticized Feministing for being transphobic. Not being a trans person, I didn’t notice it and didn’t understand where the outrage was coming from. Now I see it, because it was projected onto the Facebook default avatar. Very strange.

  5. Emily, not a wacko – we have ample forums to discuss, disagree, and problematize – helps us all to look more closely at ourselves. It just felt important to me to point out that you don’t have to be trans, or male, or even particularly outside the gender norms to have a silhouette like that. And speaking of – looks like WordPress values lego people more than actual humans šŸ™‚

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