Sunday, August 03, 2008

Hergé's adventures of FaceBook

Formerly, FaceBook had a question-mark picture for people who choose not to put up a profile picture. It's changed to this below fairly recently.

For the first time I had a good look at it today and it struck me that it's not a very representative sort of silhouette. It's very blokey looking.

Or it could be Tin Tin.

It could be a woman with short hair of course, I acknowledge this is possible and have indeed visited the hairdresser* for buzz-cuts in my time...

But you know, it's a bit like our traffic light people, if we're representing human beings round about the place, there's the default right there. A bloke. Not a bloke with an afro or a turban, of course, just a bloke (with a quiff, oddly). Elvis at large. Tin Tin on the town.

If you're going to do a silhouette of a person, why not choose an obviously female one just to break the monotony? Play with the possibilities, deny that default? I presume the thought is, (if even thought was employed), that male Facebookers be put off and feel excluded by such a depiction. They probably would, but then why should women accept being represented by the male again, why should they be excluded?

What was wrong with the question mark, eh?

* Well, for the buzz-cut it was actually M with his clippers rather than an actual hairdresser. Why pay someone to shave one's head? As long as your accomplice looks out for ears as they go.


Anonymous said...


And when you put it like this though, harrumph! I agree. I didn't like seeing my distant Canadian Aunt rendered as a profile of Tintin. It seemed kind of frightening. I only think of her as she looked in a photo of her and her kids in the mid eighties, huge owl-round glasses and a perm that was nearly a Fro, and I know that image is probably out of date, but to think she has morphed into a profile of Tintin is really quite disturbing. Bring back the question mark, you know where you are with marks of punctuation. Abster xx

Mephitis said...

It is quite odd when you know the person is a woman. Grrr.