Monday, April 1, 2013

Identity badges

I was scolded this weekend by a friend of mine for not changing my Facebook icon on March 26th. Now I did know that the Supreme Court was hearing two cases on marriage equality last week, but the "change your icon if you support it" thing passed me by somehow.

The thing is, even if I had known, I don't know if I would have. I have a difficulty with labels, even self-applied ones. I run the Breast Cancer 5k, but if I don't wear pink while I do it, does that make my donation any less valuable? I give money to AIDS organizations, but I don't wear the twist of red ribbon. Back when Lance Armstrong was still kosher, I gave money to the Livestrong Foundation, but I never wore the yellow rubber bracelet. And while I am totally behind LGBT rights, supporting them both with my vote and my voice, I'm not wearing the red equals sign.

I prefer not to wear badges declaring my affiliations to the world, not because I'm embarrassed by them, but because I find it showy. Unless you are at a conference where everyone is wearing one, it's a little - "look at me, I'm so virtuous." 

It would be different if I thought it would actually make a difference, if "turning Facebook red" would change the law. But the Supreme Court does not make its decisions by polling Facebook.  

"But it's about showing support for the cause." Anyone who knows me, knows what I support, and for those I don't know, isn't it better that people approach me without the pre-conceived notions that would be engendered by a badge?  I'm more likely to be approached by someone from the opposing side, because I'm not wearing my affiliations on my sleeve. Then instead of the "Gay Rights Supporter" I'd be the average person who completely supports gay rights.

One of the few times I agreed with Seinfeld

1 comment:

  1. What gets under my skin about it the most is what you mention above: How does updating my status or changing my profile picture on social media actually assist any given cause? The only people who will see it are friends of mine, who know my position (if they know anything about me) and who likely believe the same, if they're my friends (given that people tend to choose to befriend people very much like themselves).

    If someone wants to bring about actual change in this world, she needs to take actual action in a way that could truly make a difference: volunteering, making a donation, raising awareness in the community--including communities not her own--and connecting with people (legislators, high-net-worth donors, etc.) who can make a material change possible.

    I don't see how Facebook profile photos and status updates and "likes" do that.