You may have noticed your Facebook feed this took on a rather reddish hue this week when most of your friends changed their Profile Picture to that garish poorly-compressed red equality sign to signal their support for gay marriage as the Supreme Court heard argument regarding the Defense Of Marriage Act and California’s Prop 8. Considering the decisions from these arguments won’t be made for a couple months, it was like seeing people being excited right now for the World Series in November (we don’t know who’s going to be in it, and it’s months away from being determined, but YAAAAAY!!!).
It gave me the feeling of KONY 2012, which I summed up “White people just found out something really bad happened in Africa!” But it wasn’t as bad because at least the people putting up the equality signs actually know gay people and have been in favor of gay marriage for a while, which if you were truly friends with this person you’d already know. I’m pretty sure no one looked on the Facebook feed, saw someone who changed their profile pic to the red equal sign, and exclaimed “Oh, I didn’t know he supported gay marriage!” You don’t know everything about your friends, but you do know where they stand on most things, that’s why you’re friends with them. I don’t need to promote awareness that I’m for gay marriage – you can just ask me.
The thought occurred to me that this could be a way to pick a fight with your non-gay marriage supporting friends on your Facebook, but this seemed like a really passive bullshit way of doing it. At least your anti gay marriage people will tell you outright you’re destroying America and your gay friends are hellbound. They’re fucking wrong but at least they’re direct.
Then as the day went on and more people switched over their profile pic I had the thought that this equality sign thing was turning into a popularity game where it became less about the cause that you favor and more about not being the only person to not have an equality sign, as if that would be held against you by your gay friends. Like you were going to be relegated to the B-list of the gay wedding invites. But if your friends are that petty, then you need to rethink your relationship with them.
As the week went on, most people switched back to their usual profile pics of them being happy or drunk somewhere, which gave me a chuckle because it was like saying “All right, we’ve had a enough of that.” Then the prevailing thought became “Oh sure, you can support gay marriage when it gets up in front of the Supreme Court, but what about some random Wednesday.” It was similar to what I was thinking on St. Patrick’s Day, seeing hordes of drunk people going from bar to bar. “Oh sure, you can get belligerently and uncontrollably drunk on St. Patrick’s Day, but let’s see you do that on a random Wednesday morning. Those are the drunks I can respect.”
No one thinks about the precedent that using your profile pic as a political statement sets. Gay marriage gets a pic change, but other causes don’t? Perhaps those causes don’t have convenient graphics or logos to post, but does that make them any less important? Oh, to be privileged enough to have graphic designers attached to your cause, or a ribbon color pattern no one else has claimed yet. Congratulations, you’ve just prioritized your issues by what you have a .jpg of.
Let’s keep Facebook to what’s supposed to be for: pictures of cats, drunk pictures of yourself, and vague cries for help.