Quick Memes, Part 4

It’s time to clear out the Stupid Bad Memes hopper once again: here are a few more memes that are irritating, but not irritating enough to write an entire post about.  If you missed them, check out parts 1, 2, and 3 of this “series”.


bones-and-meat

First, a grammar quibble:  do not use an apostrophe when making words plural.

Second: Women aren’t meat.  Unless you are a vegan/vegetarian, meat is something you consume, at the expense of another creature.  To equate a woman’s body with meat is to say that she is something to be used, to be devoured.  A man who thinks of a woman as meat believes that she exists solely for his enjoyment.  If you’re interested in reading more about the connection between sexism and meat consumption from a feminist-vegetarian perspective, you should read The Sexual Politics of Meat, by Carol J. Adams.

Third: body shaming works both ways.  I understand and respect the push-back against shaming curvy people, but I don’t think the appropriate response is to shame skinny people (which I assume was the purpose of the hideous statement “Bones are for dog’s” [sic]).  Everybody needs love and acceptance, regardless of body type.  Furthermore, the male of the species should not be separated into dogs and men based on their sexual proclivities.  Some men like skinny women, some men like curvy women, some men like other men, some men like everybody, some men like nobody.  Let’s not band men (or women) into false dichotomies for the purpose of a stupid meme.

And while we’re on the topic of attraction…


i-need-feminism

No.  Just no.

Nowhere in feminist theory does it say that a man cannot be attracted to a woman based on her looks, nor that a man who doesn’t find a particular woman attractive is shallow.  The only thing feminists would request is that regardless of whether you find a woman attractive or not, you treat her with the same basic respect and dignity you would show to men.

Anti-feminists like to pretend that the feminist agenda is to subjugate men by placing them in no-win situations, but we know that’s not true.  Feminism has never been about subjugating anybody, but in achieving equality across the board.  Why does a movement interested in equality call itself the feminist movement, then?  Because historically, women have been victimized, subjugated, and de-humanized to a far greater extent than men.  In a society where men rule, women are often second-class citizens.  Feminism aims to correct this imbalance, not to turn the tables on men.


how-many-planets

On the lighter side, we have this bit of fluff.

Those of us who have the privilege of education know that privilege is spelled with two I‘s.

We assume there is one Universe (for lack of direct evidence to the contrary).  Also, as per the decision of the International Astronomical Union in 2006, our solar system contains only eight planets.  Sorry Plutophiles!  But if we’re considering the entire Universe, then there seem to be uncountable zillions of planets.  Nevertheless, the abundance of planets in the Universe has little to do with you meeting your true love.  Every human in the Universe lives right here on Earth.  If you haven’t met your soulmate yet, take heart; he or she is definitely within 13,000 kilometers of you.  On the scale of the Universe, that’s less than a stone’s throw.

The number of coutries, islands, and seas really depends on how you define each term.  For example, as of 2016 there are 195 officially recognized countries, but I suppose that’s a matter of politics.  Also, there are well over 809 islands in the world, especially if you include river and lake islands, but a great many of them are uninhabited and therefore unlikely to be the site where you meet your life partner.  And that whole 7 seas business has to go; we’re not ancient mariners here.

So it’s fine to create a romantically-inspired meme, but please…do your homework.


immigrants-and-homeowners

Did you know you can write sentences without capitalizing the first letter of every word and we’ll still be able to read them (no matter how much we wish we couldn’t)?

An immigrant is a person who goes to live permanently in a foreign country, regardless of whether they followed legal channels or not.  Somebody who swims across a river in pursuit of a better life is just as much an immigrant as somebody who files paperwork.

This is a poor analogy, and the author’s high school English teacher must be very disappointed.  For the most part, immigrants are not coming to the United States to take something you worked hard for.  On the contrary, studies show that undocumented immigrant workers actually improve the financial situations of documented and native workers.  Unlike the common thief who breaks into your home and steals your jewelry, immigrants provide valuable services as well as ethnic and cultural diversity.  That’s why I think that instead of trying to tighten immigration laws, we ought to consider fast-tracking the naturalization process.  Even the most hardened anti-immigrant bigots ought to appreciate the value of having more hard-working, tax-paying citizens in our communities, right?


luck-or-god

Those are not mutually exclusive things.  Suppose a bank robber manages to escape with the loot mere seconds before the police arrive.  Would you say that he got lucky, or would you contend that God helped him out?

On the other side of that coin, suppose a pious man is walking to church when he is struck and killed by a car.  Is this bad luck, or does God have it in for him?

If you believe in God, that’s fine.  It’s your choice, after all.  But it seems silly to me to assume that the existence of God precludes the existence of luck.  Sometimes good (and bad) things happen without the agency of a higher power.  If you claim that all instances of so-called luck are really the mysterious and unseen movements of a loving, divine being, then you must be prepared to explain the fact that (A) sometimes bad people have good luck, and (B) sometimes good people have bad luck.


seatbelts

*sigh*

We’ll discuss the overt sexism in this meme soon enough, but first I have a few quibbles with the grammar and with the illustration.

I’m pretty sure the meme should read “45% fewer car accidents”.  Generally, you use fewer when you are talking about things that can be enumerated, and less when you’re talking about things that cannot.  For example, I’d like to see fewer stupid sexist memes, and I would be happy if this particular meme contained less stupidity.

Also…there appears to be some kind of steel wall between the front and back seats of this car.  There is clearly a mirror, but it is rendered useless by the lack of rear visibility.  Surely this poor car design will contribute more to accidents than any other factor.

Now then…the message behind this idiotic meme is that men could drive more safely if their female passengers would just, you know, shut up.  Apparently, female chatter accounts for a whopping forty-five percent of all traffic accidents, which makes me wonder why they never warned us about riding with women when I took driver’s ed.  Apparently the feminist agenda machine got to my school before they could tell us the truth.

Now it is true that the leading cause of car accidents is distracted drivers, and the chatter of passengers is a source of distraction; however, many drivers are also distracted by talking on the phone, texting, eating, grooming, and reading, and none of those distractions are depicted here.  I find it interesting that the author of this meme thought that the only way to silence passengers – and in particular female passengers – is to physically gag them.  How typical.  How disgusting.


sherbert

Sherbet.  Sherbet.  Sherbet.  There is only one R in sherbet.


That’s all for now.  Good night everybody!

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What Guys Like

What Guys Like

Wow, isn’t it cool how this meme manages to insult both guys and girls at the same time?

Stick with me on this one: if it’s bad to make women feel horrible because they’re not rail thin, what makes it acceptable to do the same thing because they’re not curvy? I’ll tell you: nothing makes it okay. Let’s just stop this. Ladies, no matter what body shape you have, if you’re interested in being in a relationship with a man, there’s a man out there who’ll be interested in you. I promise. We’re not the single-minded cretins that memes like this make us out to be.

For example, I take umbrage at the notion that I, as a man, am supposed to decide who I like based on her body shape. There are so many considerations that go into choosing an ideal companion: What are her hopes? Her ambitions? Her favorite movies? Does she like dirty limericks? Does she hold any advanced degrees? What are her political opinions? Is she religious? Does she like yoga? Does she listen to Weird Al Yankovic? Did she go to school with anybody famous, and if so, what juicy gossip does she know about that person from when they were younger? Can she speak Pig Latin? Does she prefer Lost or Breaking Bad? Pepsi or Coke? Does she have an opinion on the Designated Hitter Rule, and if so, can she explain it to me?

If I were in the market for female companionship, the answers to these and many other questions could be critical in determining our future happiness together. Unfortunately, I can’t determine the answers to any of these questions from a photograph of a woman in a bikini. So please, Mr Meme Maker, don’t presume to tell me what I like. And do not presume to dismiss the attractiveness of any person if they don’t fit into the mold that you find most pleasing.

On The Gender Politics of Plastic Homunculi

Barbie vs He-Man

Well, you have to admit: the Barbie doll line certainly has experienced more than its share of controversies. Not all of these controversies revolve around Barbie’s dangerously unrealistic proportions, but that’s the focal point of this meme – not because the author is disgusted by the image Barbie projects, but because it gives him a perfect opportunity to besmirch the name of feminists. Oooh, feminists.

You can almost hear the snarl in the author’s voice as he writes about the bloated whining of those dastardly feminists, but it’s clear that he does not understand what feminism is about (No surprise there). It’s really quite simple: feminism is the belief that men and women should be treated equally. The feminist movement has been very clear on this point, and yet there are many who persist in the belief that feminists want to see men enslaved and women elevated to complete dominance. Well, it’s possible that somebody wants that, but that’s not really the viewpoint of a typical feminist.

If you could translate the text of this meme into the author’s actual thoughts; that is, what he would say if he weren’t trying so very, very hard to be clever, it might sound something like this: “I’m sick of namby-pamby feminists griping about how Barbie is screwing up their daughters’ fragile self-esteem. Boys don’t get all messed up from playing with He-Man, and he’s impossibly beef-cakey.”

He might not actually use the word beef-cakey, but the message would be the same. Toys alone do not damage a young girl’s self-esteem, but a model of an impossibly slim, busty woman in conjunction with the near-constant torrent of body-shaming that comes from advertisements, television shows, movies, and society in general definitely takes its toll.

And why don’t boys develop the same kind of body-image fixation on their He-Man or G.I.Joe action figures? Some do, but it’s probably not as widespread in boys because boys don’t face the same amount of body-shaming from other sources. I grew up with all the society-approved boy toys, but nobody ever told me that I was worthless or wouldn’t be able to get married if I didn’t have biceps on my biceps (although I occasionally worried that my inability to operate virtually any military vehicle with little or no training would negatively impact my social life…don’t ask me how).

If feminists are more concerned about the influence of Barbie than of He-Man, it’s only because they understand how society works; and perhaps they wish to change it for the better. The author of this meme clearly doesn’t.

Sexy As I Wanna Be

Curvy Men

Oh man, where to start?

Unless you come from a planet of cuboid aliens, all men have curves (as do women). And all men (and women) can be sexy to somebody. The trick is finding that somebody who fancies your brand of curviness, and ignoring the onslaught of mass media trying to convince you that you aren’t real because you don’t match up with the flavor-of-the-week body shape.

This meme is obviously a joke (if you want to be generous) playing on a similar sentiment often made about women. The “real women have curves” slogan was born when somebody had had enough of being force-fed the skinny = beautiful mantra, and decided to push back with a bit of body shaming of their own. They also proved the adage that “two wrongs don’t make a right”, because this idea – that curviness somehow makes you real and therefore superior to those of a more slender frame – is exactly as degrading as the “original” beauty standard it sought to overturn.

Jacqueline Allain writes in BlogHer (Warning: NSFW language) that the “curvy is better” aesthetic amounts to pitting woman against woman, and I agree. How much potential happiness has been lost to this constant body image arms race?

It’s interesting to me that this meme features a curvy man who is, by any practical definition, obese. The women often chosen as paradigms of curviness are voluptuous; they inhabit that ill-defined region between “slender” and “fat”. So does the memer think that the man on the left is analogous to the likes of, say, Christina Hendricks or Marilyn Monroe? I’m not saying he’s right or wrong; I’m just posing a hypothetical question. I may be reading too much into this, but hey…it’s what I do.

Bottom line: let’s not attempt to sort the various body types (in women or in men) into some sort of sexy hierarchy. Your personal standards of sexiness are not unlike your religious beliefs: it’s okay to believe whatever you want, but please understand that not everybody agrees, and you shouldn’t try to make them feel bad because of it.

Body Shaming 101

Body Shaming 101

I’ll reprint the tiny text to avoid exploding your eyeballs (although it might still explode your brain).


Disgusting fantasy of a lazy, good for nothing, entitled “creep”.

Probably made by a virgin lol!

Not a real man.

Maybe he should put down the McDonalds and pick up some weights!

I can’t see any muscle on him, he must be as weak as a jellyfish!

You go girl! No one should have to settle for someone compatible with their health habits and lifestyle! You don’t need to lose a pound, but men everywhere need to man up, get fit, get fashionable hairstyles that bar them from most jobs, make 100k a year, and not be “chubby chasers” but love you for who you are (that is, human embodiment of sloth).

Tone is so important when writing. If you’re going to set a sarcastic tone, you should make that abundantly clear from the start, so your readers won’t make it halfway through before becoming intensely confused about your actual intent. Take this meme: if you read the left column and examine the accompanying image without paying any mind to the right, you’ll get the impression that the memer is engaging in some serious fat man body shaming. Look at this disgusting slob, the memer almost says. How disgraceful that a fat sack like him would imagine himself dating a slender attractive underwear model!

But then you shift to the right column, where the memer has become more committed to his sarcastic tone. The memer offers mock praise to the zaftig woman for hooking up with a skinnier man (although he also implicitly shames the man for having an unorthodox haircut – a haircut that simultaneously hinders his employment prospects while allowing him to make six figures). By the time you finish reading this train wreck of a meme, you’re left to wonder exactly what the memer’s issue is.

This memer is operating under some sort of delusion about how society’s prejudices are organized regarding overweight people and their prescribed love lives. If we assume that the memer intended to be sarcastic in both panels, then he really seems to believe that fat men are disproportionately shamed for their body shape and for pursuing romantic relationships with slim women, while fat women are praised beyond measure, encouraged to stay the way they are, and given carte blanche to love whomever they want. According to the memer (as I understand him), men are now being held to unreasonable standards of physical attractiveness in order to be acceptable to women.

What planet is this memer from, anyway?

In case you’ve been fortunate enough to avoid television, radio, and print advertisements for the past five decades or so, here’s the message the rest of us are being bombarded with on an hourly basis:

  • All fat people are disgusting, and if you’re fat then you have no business at all being truly happy; however
  • Fat women are more disgusting than fat men, therefore
  • It’s more socially acceptable for a fat man to pursue a skinny woman than it is for a fat woman to pursue a skinny man.

Regarding the third postulate, this memer asserts that the polar opposite is true. What are we to make of that? I’m going to call it Perceived Reverse Victimization. Perceived Reverse Victimization is a phenomenon that occurs when jerks are suddenly asked to stop being such jerks. Instead of responding in a reasonable manner (“I never thought of it that way. You’re right…let’s all be good to each other from now on.”) the former and current tormentors immediately go into defense mode; they imagine some Bizarro opposite world in which being asked to play nice is just as oppressive as anything of which they have been accused. You see this with racists, sexists, and now with…obesists? I’m not sure what the proper word is, but you get my point.

In years gone by it was acceptable for the man of a relationship to be as fat as he wanted to be, but the woman was required to remain svelte and sexy even into her post-menopausal years. You only need to examine popular media over the past couple of decades to see that this is true. How many sitcoms can you name in which the husband was obese (and usually stupid) while the wife is thin, smart, and attractive? Here’s a list to help you out.

Now name all the shows you can think of in which the husband is thin and the wife is fat, regardless of their respective intelligence levels. I’ll give you a minute.

I’m going to assume that you had a hard time coming up with any titles to populate the second list, and I’ll tell you why. Show creators, like advertisers, know that our society is invested in the idea that it’s okay for a man to be fat as long as he’s funny, but that his wife should bring socially-approved physical beauty as well as comedic timing. If you ever see a fat woman paired with a thin man in TV shows or movies it’s being played for laughs, as if the writers are saying “Look how absurd this situation is: as if a thin, reasonably attractive male would ever fall in love with a whale like her!”

So I’m sorry, Mr Memer, but you’ve got it exactly backwards. Society’s first and most common reaction to the picture on the right is not going to be acceptance, nor will society persecute the man on the left for being romantically interested in a skinny woman. If you claim that the opposite is true, I can only assume you’re reeling and rebelling from the notion that people should be accepted and loved for who they are, even if they don’t meet your personal standards of beauty.