TELL FACEBOOK: "Relationships" Comprise More Than Just Sex Partners
Dear Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Heiliger,
Please make Relationship Status a write-in field, as you have done with the Religion option. Since 2007, at least six Facebook groups have formed to advocate for broader definitions of relationship on the site, yet Facebook still requires users to choose from a short pre-set list of choices centering around marital status and sexual habits.
Facebook's current Relationship menu perpetuates our society's entrenched mate-mania, which over-worships the sexual-couple-unit, and marriage in particular. Mate-mania is more than an irritating cultural quirk. It is actually codified into government policy. In the U.S. legal code over 1300 laws mention marital status, favoring married couples by a wide margin. This bias devalues other important relationships. It devalues platonic friends and non-spousal family members. And it devalues people for whom conventional coupling/marriage is either not appealing or not an option.
That's not what Facebook is about. Facebook is about facilitating connections--all kinds of connections. Let your users define Relationship for themselves and you'll only come closer to your meeting your mission. And better, try having several Relationship fields. Your users each have myriad important relationships in their lives. Don't force them to choose between their domestic partner and their grandmother and their TiVO. Thank you.
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