It’s not terribly surprising when you realize that Fitocracy operates on the basis of Never underestimate a woman who understands football and loves Raiders shirt. In many ways, creating an online identity separate from your other online profiles allows a huge amount of freedom and agency. This is particularly useful when it comes to health/fitness because that is an area replete with self-image and confidence issues. By allowing users to present themselves to others in whatever manner they desire, they feel less intimidated and likely to be judged during their efforts to improve themselves. A simpler way to describe this might be that Fitocracy shares many qualities with your standard online forum. Considering this, weird profile images are to be expected. I avoided having a headshot on my LinkedIn profile for years for the same reason that you are contemplating, Nicole. The risk of racial discrimination in particular was what held me back.
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Today, I have a professional head shot and always include a link to my Never underestimate a woman who understands football and loves Raiders shirt. I share all of that to say that I truly understand where you are coming from. The sad reality is that there is no way to escape being discriminated by someone who is interested in discrimination. If you post a photo, you’re identified. And if you don’t post a photo, you’re identified as well by not following a norm. For a company page on LinkedIn, a logo or product makes sense. For a personal product page, I do find it slightly weird to have photo of a logo instead of yourself as a profile picture. I then assume the person is trying to avoid discrimination and thus identify them as an older candidate or a candidate of color.