This Tiny Tweak Made Your Facebook Page Less Sexist

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Take a gander at the tiny friends icon at the top right of your Facebook page and you may (or may not) notice a small change.

The image has gotten a subtle but meaningful makeover. The man has lost his Tin Tin faux-hawk and the woman's helmet hair has been given new bounce. Oh, yeah, and she's in front now.

Caitlin Winner, a design manager at Facebook, posted an explanation on Medium of these and a few other small icon tweaks that she undertook after starting at the social network and finding a few things she wasn't too thrilled about.

"I was moved to do something about the size and order of the female silhouette in the 'friends icon,'" she wrote. "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."

So in addition to updating hairdos, smoothing out a notch in the female avatar's shoulder that indicated where the male was supposed to overlap her, and creating a gender-neutral icon to add to the mix, Winner "placed the lady, slightly smaller, in front of the man," for the new version of the friends button.

Lady Facebook also takes front and center in the new groups icon, flanked at the back by the man and their genderless new friend.

Winner did not suggest that Facebook is an institution lacking in sensitivity, and chalked up the somewhat biased icons to an oversight, not "ill intentions" at an otherwise "amazing place" with free snacks. Last February, Facebook gave users more than 50 gender options to choose from on their profiles.

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