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Facebook’s icons get a feminist makeover

Sometimes fighting the patriarchy is about the little things. Like, really little. 

In a post on Medium, Facebook design manager Caitlin Winner describes how she recently updated the site’s Friends and Groups icons so that the woman silhouette is now in front of the man and of equal size.

facebook friend icons

It’s a miniscule change, of course, but as Winner notes, symbols matter and are worth questioning. Why was it considered so natural, for so long, that the man silhouette be in front of the woman, literally leading?

facebook group icons

And the change seems symbolic (speaking of symbols) of the kind of new perspective gained by diversifying your workforce. Just imagine what other default settings — big and small — might get changed if Facebook ever decided to really get serious about hiring more women?

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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