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Facebook has introduced a subtle feminist tweak to its 'friends' icon

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Facebook has subtly changed its 'friends' icon to give the 'woman' silhouette more prominence.

The female character has been made larger, given a new hairstyle and is moved in front of the male character.

In a blog post on Medium, Facebook design manager Caitlin Winner explained how she'd noticed the inequality between the two figures when she first joined the company.

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Winner explained that when looking at the company's stock of icons, she'd noticed "the lady had a chip in her shoulder" which was never visible because she was hidden behind the man.

I assumed no ill intentions, just a lack of consideration but as a lady with two robust shoulders, the chip offended me.

She then set about redesigning the icon, removing the "Darth Vader-like helmet" and gave it a "more shapely bob". She also drew a silhouette for "cases where a gendered icon was inappropriate".

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As a woman, educated at a women’s college, it was hard not to read into the symbolism of the current icon; the woman was quite literally in the shadow of the man, she was not in a position to lean in.

The changes were rolled out to employees at Facebook before being "shipped" to the rest of the world "without much fanfare".

"As a result of this project, I’m on high alert for symbolism." Winner concludes. "I try to question all icons, especially those that feel the most familiar."


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