Facebook Icon Change – Why it’s not a leap for feminism and doesn’t matter.

So you may have read/heard that the Facebook icon at the top of the page has changed.


You should see it on the top right of your Facebook page on desktop (in the UK at least).

Reading about this did not make me feel empowered. It did not make me feel like finally we had some justice. In fact, it made me a bit angry that the people commenting all over social media are outraged by the original icon that they did not even notice!

“I am a feminist and can’t believe I didn’t notice this”
“It’s disgusting! Can’t believe this has lasted so long”

Some of the more ridiculous comments I have seen include:

“Why can’t it be two women?”
“Why can’t it be a woman with short hair and a man with long hair?”

Because that’s how symbols work. Just like bathroom symbols. I may not wear a dress every day, but I definitely walk into the public toilet with a dress image on the door.

I have noticed the icon. You know what I noticed? Two people representing people connected. Both sexes involved – if it was two men, I might have found it a little odd.

To be honest, when I first noticed the new icon, I was a bit miffed that after the complaint about the original, the woman appeared to be in front of the man. However, after reading the designer, Caitlin Winner’s post, I understand from a design perspective that side by side just wasn’t working.

The thing that got to me most was people acting like this is one big leap for feminism, when I personally think it’s a backwards view. People like to jump on a bandwagon as we know, but to simply point out everything that has a man in as sexist is ridiculous.
I think there is room for a little less political correctness, and plenty of outdoor space for people to go and do something real for the things they believe in.

Am I a ‘Feminist’?

I completely identify as a feminist, but am embarrassed by the word, due to the way other women have reworked it’s meaning over the years. I have always been for equal rights, and that’s it. Equal. I understand it may be different when it comes to wages, etc. in America, but I think things have changed dramatically over the last 40 years and are continuing to do so. I do not feel that I won’t have as good a career as my male peers, or that I won’t be able to do everything I want. I don’t feel restricted, and I’m not looking for any excuses for my failures!
What I find worse is purposely hiring to fill quotas. I want to get places on my own merit, and I really do think people are managing that.

This recent uproar is yet another embarrassing miniscule change in a world once ruled by men. What’s even more disgusting is that some women feel after all these years they deserve to be in a position of power – not equal, but above.

Back to the icon!

Yes, maybe the icon could have done with an update. Yes, maybe there are some connotations in the symbol that we may have missed. Maybe they were intentional and Facebook hate all women and think they are merely background. But I doubt it.

Winner also changed the group icon:


Men…are you offended? Facebook was started by men, and usually, without realising we tend to draw or design things associated with ourselves. When told to draw a person, it is likely you will draw the same sex that you are because you identify more easily with it.
A woman in front of two men is more balanced than a man in front, plus one behind, and one woman behind. However, what if there was one man in front, and two women behind. Would that be an acceptable change?

While she has certainly achieved something by making some changes in her job (by the way she works for Facebook, they hire women – weird I know!) I think Winner may have got carried away with her icon search:

‘I try to question all icons, especially those that feel the most familiar. For example, is the briefcase the best symbol for ‘work’? Which population carried briefcases and in which era? What are other ways that ‘work’ could be symbolized and what would those icons evoke for the majority of people on Earth?’

Caitlin Winner, Facebook

Sorry, do women not work in a place where they need to carry files? What should we have instead? How about you choose your own icon. What about people who don’t work, or are stay at home parents? Should they have a baby icon too?

What about other icons and symbols?

Symbols are things that people are familiar with. They are something we would associate with, like a briefcase for work. A house for ‘Lives in…’. What about people who have a small flat?

Another thing I would like to point out is that the female and male in the icon are both clearly white people. Is this racism? I’m sure nobody would like to think so. Not only is the icon itself a white shade, but the haircuts would suggest Caucasian hair. If a black woman had designed it, I am sure she would have different ideas, because she would design someone she associated with.

They missed a bit!

Now I’m going to tell you something that will really bother you if the rest of this post didn’t. I have a business page for work. Guess what? The icon hasn’t changed for those pages! Not yet anyway. So why did Facebook feel the need to approve the change, but not for the whole site, especially for business. Are there not females running businesses?
They may well have kept women around the world satisfied for a while, but wait until they realise this! You’d think Winner and her icon spotting would have picked up on this.

I have a feeling that due to the publicity and discussion of this change, they will be altered again soon.

So, as far as current feminist issues go, how important do you think this is?
Do you agree the icons needed an update? What about the things that I mentioned that have not been so heavily pressed in the media?

It’s amazing how bandwagon jumping can make you miss something that is ‘so important’ to you.