who’s in YOUR Facebook photo?

If you’re anything like me or 95% of my personal sampling of Facebook moms, your status picture is either a picture of you and your kid(s), or a picture of said kids without you. I did recently think it was time to change up my photo, and wondered whether I should post a picture of myself without the kids. Do people without kids find the here’s-my-adorable-three-year-old pix annoying?

Well, wonder no more. On the new women’s issue website www.doublex.com, the always irascible Katie Roiphe has an essay posted called Get Your Kid off Your Facebook Page. I won’t question her inflammatory title, since as I now know too well, she may or may not have actually written it. But the essay, title notwithstanding, follows Roiphe’s usual cranky style of blanket assertions and button-pushing assumptions.

Basically, Roiphe says that a woman posting her child’s picture on Facebook, instead of her own, is a form of “ominous self-effacement,” a “voluntary loss of self” that leads one to neglect haircuts, wear sneakers, and bore everyone she meets, even though she once made law review.

I think the loss of self, once one becomes a mother, is real and something we all grapple with. However, I think Ms. Roiphe is overlooking a few points here:

–Plenty of fathers also post pictures of themselves with their children, or just their children, on Facebook as well.
–Many of my friends without children don’t post pictures of themselves at all, opting instead for ferrets and cartoon characters, or perhaps a closeup of only their left eye. A ferret seems like a much more ominous form of self-effacement to me, if you’re keeping score.
–The reason many mothers post pictures of themselves with their kid, or just their kids, is that once you have kids, you’re behind the camera instead of in front of it. If you’re like me, you have about six photos from the last six years that you are in, and in half of them, you’re in the hospital bed, having just given birth, and Lord knows you’re not using THOSE.
–If you’re like me, you think, “Hmm, I’m going to change my photo,” and then leave the same one up there for another six months, because you have a hundred thousand more pressing things to do than dick around with your Facebook photo.

By the way, can’t we also look at Facebook as taking a giant feminist step forward, since most women include their maiden names as part of their Facebook names, in order to be *more* visible and found?