It probably sounds like a petty place to make a stand, but it was strongly symbolic to me. It was me asserting my natural right to be who I am in the face of the oppressive force behind Facebook that capriciously offers us 50 shades of gender identity while demanding that we affix our self-assessments to a legal identity that may have very little meaning to us, or may represent someone else's idea of who we should be.
Over the past few days I've thought about Facebook friends whose accounts have been been blocked, whose posts have been removed repeatedly (apparently, in most cases, because of their strong stand against Israel), and who have been subjected to vicious, soul-sucking verbal abuse. Most of them have chosen to stay and fight for the truth on Facebook, and have encouraged me to do the same. I respect and admire them for their tenacity, and I'll miss reading their posts. But I feel that research and writing are a better focus for my attention at this time. I think that commenting on each specific event is less helpful to the project of human liberation than developing an analysis that brings these events together in a comprehensible picture of the actual world. We cannot fight what we do not understand. Seeing the broad spectrum of things as they are can give us a good idea of what we have to do to protect and liberate ourselves.
As they say, if voting could change anything, it would be illegal. The same goes for Facebook. If Facebook were able to support our common quest for "actionable intelligence" by providing us with a platform where we could blow open the bubble of unreality that (en)closes the public mind, it would be subjected to the same kinds of harassment and marginalisation as Wikileaks and Anonymous.
The reason Facebook has been allowed to fit seamlessly into our postmodern culture (besides the fact that it's a major generator of culture) is that it's a one-stop source for all kinds of personal information on everyone in the world who is connected to it. This information is extremely valuable to the Corporate State (business and government) for the purpose of influencing our thoughts and controlling our behaviour; and we're offering it up for free. As the surveillance state closes in on us, we're conceding our privacy step by step, always hoping for the best. Always being disappointed. Doesn't it seem odd that the water around us is steaming, and we're still not jumping out of the pot? Any ideas?