I was searching for statistics on women using Facebook when I came across this old Slate article by Katie Roiphe. She makes an interesting point about women who post photos of their children as profile pictures on Facebook. According to Roiphe, this loss of self is enough to make Betty Friedan role over in her grave:
"If Betty Friedan were to review the Facebook habits of the over-30 set, she would turn over in her grave…. Here, harmlessly embedded in one of our favorite methods of procrastination, is a potent symbol for the new century. Where have all of these women gone? What, some future historian may very well ask, do all of these babies on our Facebook pages say about the construction of women’s identity at this particular moment in time?"
Really?!? I'm one of these women. I have the above photo of my son as my Facebook profile image. I do not think my son is more important than me; nor do I only value myself as a mother. I simply think the picture is cute.
There are plenty of people with dogs, cats, or clown shoes as their profile pictures. No one is criticizing them. No, this is one more divisive attack from a feminist who should know better. Feminism is about promoting equality and a woman's right to choose her own path in life. There is no need to look down upon a woman who focuses on her child. If a woman is proud of her child and wants to post a picture on Facebook, good for her! She is no less valid than the woman who chooses not to.
Roiphe makes some intriguing comments about how over-devotion is having adverse effects on kids in this generation. I agree. But, she goes too far to leap to the conclusion that Facebook profile pictures are indicative of this trend. Roiphe needs to give women a break and stop reading far too much into not caring what picture goes on a stupid Facebook profile. Facebook does not define us.
"What if Facebook pages are only the beginning? What if next are passports and drivers’ licenses? What if suddenly the faces of a generation were to disappear, and in their places beaming toddlers? Who will mourn these vanished ladies and when will Betty Friedan rest in peace?"
Betty Friedan is fine. If anything, she is rolling over because women are judging each other based on which pictures we upload onto a website created for college kids. Sometimes a picture is just a freaking picture.