Subtle homophobia in Facebook profiles?

I've noticed a lot of people on Facebook who list in their profile that they're married or otherwise in a long-term relationship with a person of the opposite gender, then they further specify that they're interested in people of the opposite gender in the "interested in:" field. This does not include many of my friends, thankfully, but rather, asshats from high school and from former jobs that were much like high school, as well as people who've aroused my curiosity through posting ignorant things on community pages.

What is up with the need to specify? The only reason I can think of is that they -- consciously or unconsciously -- want to make sure everyone knows they aren't remotely bisexual. Because otherwise, what? Clearly, we know you're currently interested in women if you're married to one. Or at least I hope for both of your sake that you're interested in her. Not surprisingly, it's mostly straight guys who feel the need to specify this, which also follows with the internalized homophobia thing, since there's more stigma aimed at guys with regards to being gay or bi or bi-curious.

(Yes, I realize some of them may have left it there from while they were single and looking, but that doesn't account for the ones who were already taken when they joined, yet still felt the need to specify.)


5 comments:

massmarrier said...

I think you're spot on. People I know who do this were married from the start of their FB accounts too. Moreover, the negative or passive/aggressive sorts who are married and change their relationship to It's complicated or Single are jerks. Work that stuff out at home, says I.

Barbara from Dorchester said...

My interpretation of coupled folks who list an "interested in" is that what they are really interested in is cheating on their partners. (I'm such a cynic.)

eeka said...

Yeah, mm, you can set your privacy preferences so that it doesn't show in people's feeds if you take the person off as your spouse (or if they take you off, or whatever), so that it just looks like you don't have a relationship status listed.

I think the "it's complicated" status is used 99% of the time for people who are looking for drama. I do know a few people who I've thought used it appropriately, like people who only have friends and family friended and wanted to give a heads-up to their circle that spouse had finally been convinced to move out, so as to avoid awkwardness particularly with the couple's kids. But yeah, I don't need to hear about people's on-again-off-again stuff, and neither do their 800 closest friends.

Barbara, some of them probably are!

Sarah said...

I always thought the "interested in" portion was for people looking to use FB for dating purposes - ie, "I am currently looking to date people of the following genders:" which is why, yeah, it's weird when folks are both married AND interested in. And - I feel as if people who are looking to cheat could simply create privacy controls so that their spouse and spouse's friends would see their "in a relationship with" portion, whereas others would not. I set up a control similar to that for an old job I had, where most of my colleagues were extremely homophobic but all wanted to be friends on FB - I didn't want them to see I was in a relationship with a woman so I just made a work list, and removed that section from the version of the profile they could see. If that makes sense...

Supergirl said...

giving Facebook the benefit of the doubt (they have been outwardly progressive and pro-lgbt in a number of ways) I think it's also possible people are confused about how to use Facebook sometimes and make their profile clear. Many people don't know they don't have to answer gender, "looking for" or many other fields on Facebook.

I know plenty of people who use "it's complicated" to indicate they are in nonmonogamous relationships of some kind - either dating multiple people or in actual poly relationships. But I also was told once by a gay male friend of mine that he listed himself as "it's complicated" simply to get Facebook to stop sending him ads for gay male dating sites.