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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White Knight Crusade

whiteknight

I’m not going to say that the creator of this meme is a misogynist, but he sure is disdainful of men who support women’s issues.  Make of that what you will.

The phrase white knight has several meanings; in this case it applies to a man who takes up the feminist cause.  The term is a pejorative; it implies that any man who espouses feminist ideals must be seeking a romantic reward.  This is insulting both to women and to men.  It’s insulting to women because it implies that their cause is not worth fighting for unless there is an eventual physical reward, and it’s insulting to men because it implies that all men are the same kind of selfish oafs as the maker of this meme.

The rest of this meme is a mess.  It includes liberal and feminist lingo that is either used incorrectly, or out of context.  Here’s the problem with memes like this one: if you’re a man and you even attempt to point out the glaring errors contained in this meme, the meme’s supporters will label you as exactly the kind of person this meme is talking about: i.e. a white knight with ulterior motives.  In other words, there’s no honest way to win.

Not that I’ve ever been deterred by impossible odds.  Let’s strip this white knight of his armor, and in doing so, expose the ignorance of the meme’s creator.

  • Friendzone Shoulder Padding

Despite the insistence of forlorn would-be lovers, there is no such thing as a friend zone.  That phrase was invented by people who view women as sex vending machines, primed to dispense the goods in exchange for the currency of chivalry, attentiveness, and emotional support.  When a man finds himself in the so-called friend zone, that is, that dreaded territory wherein a woman refuses to have sex with him, he tosses out the phrase almost as an insult, like the woman is defective for failing to honor her end of some unspoken contract.

Those of us who know better, know that women are thinking human beings (Imagine that!) with the autonomy to choose when and with whom they do the nasty, regardless of whether that person has been an emotional rock for the woman during her times of stress.  No one would suggest that a man is friend zoning his female friends if he does not repay their kindness with sexual favors (in fact, many of his friends are probably grateful that he does not offer to do so).  So why is it that women are somehow expected to repay kindness and decency with sex, then scoffed at if they do not?  Could it be because some people still view women as objects that exist for the satisfaction of men, and believe that they are broken if they refuse to act as such?  I think yes.

Anyway, if you insist that a woman has put you in the friend zone, you’re wrong.  You’re no friend to her if you think that she owes you for your friendship.

Ironically, the meme comes close to being correct in this instance; it clearly implies that women are not obligated to sleep with whatever gentle soul comes calling.  I would give the meme credit for recognizing the autonomy of women, especially when selecting sexual partners…but the rest of the meme utterly negates any good done here.  Let’s move on.

  • SJW Sword

There are few phrases that confuse me more than SJW, or social justice warrior.  Taken at face value, it seems like a noble goal; who wouldn’t want to be hailed for his tireless struggle for social justice?  Who wouldn’t want to be known as a champion – nay, a warrior – for those whom society has cast underfoot?

Yet in certain troll-heavy corners of the Internet, the SJW label is often applied as an insult.  For reasons I cannot fathom, some people consider it undesirable to be a person who lobbies for social improvement.  If you use the phrase social justice warrior as a pejorative, then what is the more appealing alternative in your opinion?  Somebody who fights for the status quo?  Somebody who thinks that social attitudes toward women and minorities are A-okay?  Because I can assure you, they really aren’t.  They really, really aren’t.

It’s confusing that the author of this meme decided that our white knight’s SJW sword should be used to “slice through” entitlement.  Most conservatives – and I think it’s pretty safe to say that the author of this meme is conservative – seem to think that social justice warriors draw their mana from entitlements.  This is just further evidence for my pet theory that nobody really knows what entitlement means, and that people simply use the word whenever they want to discredit their opponents’ ideology.

  • “Au Secour” Leggings

I’m certain the author meant to say au secours, which is French for to the rescue or, simply, help.  In either case, the author implies that one of the white knight’s ongoing missions is to rescue damsels-in-distress; specifically, feminists in danger of engaging in a logical debate.

The only way a logical debate might be dangerous – figuratively speaking – is if you have no logical backing for your arguments.  All feminist arguments are based on the underlying assumption that women are people who ought to have the same rights and treatment as other people, and the logic of their arguments blossoms from there.  To say that a feminist faces danger when she engages in a logical debate is either to say that this logic is wrong, or that feminists are overwhelmingly incapable of presenting their cases.  If you believe that the logic is wrong, we must once again ask what logic you offer to supplant it, Mr Meme Author?  Do you contend that women are not equal to other people?  Is it your assertion that the equality of women is not a logically defensible position?  Or do you simply believe that feminists are too inept to express their arguments in a cogent fashion?  I have to tell you, Mr Meme Author: neither position makes you look particularly appealing.

  • Cognitive Dissonance Helmet

Cognitive dissonance is mental stress that comes from holding conflicting opinions or beliefs at the same time.  Cognitive dissonance is not in itself a bad thing; we are all forced into situations of cognitive dissonance by the circumstances of our lives.  For example, we might be concerned about the environment, yet compelled to drive gas-burning cars to get back and forth.  In that case, cognitive dissonance might lead us to make decisions that lessen our environmental impact, such as walking or bicycling for short trips.  (On the other hand, it might lead us to decide that we don’t care as much about the environment as we pretend to – we all respond differently to cognitive dissonance.)

According to the meme’s creator, the CDH allows its wearer to accept radfem dogma.  I Googled radfem (a portmanteau of radical feminist) to discover exactly what constitutes radfem dogma, and came away with varying viewpoints.  For example, the usually-helpful Urban Dictionary tells us that a radfem is either:

  1. An ideologue who acts under the decades-outdated belief that gender, sexuality, and all parts of the human mind are learned and have no basis in biology, or
  2. A feminist who is more interested in revenge on the male gender than gender equality, or
  3. A radical feminist who often blogs and posts about sexism.

I encountered conflicting definitions from other websites as well.

So there appears to be disagreement about the meaning of radfem even among people who use the word.  Now far be it from me to insist that a word cannot have more than one meaning, but it seems that radfem, like entitlement, is simply another buzzword used by conservatives and anti-feminists when discussing people and ideas they do not like.  With no concrete definition for the word, it is impossible to evaluate exactly what the author means when he says that the CDH allows a person to accept radfem dogma.

If I had to take a guess, I would guess that the author of this meme does not know or care about the distinction between so-called radical feminists and the more moderate feminists that dominate the feminist movement.  I would go so far as to wager that the author believes that all feminists are radfems, but I can only speculate.

Male gaze is not something that can be corrected by a helmet; it’s a phenomenon that occurs in the visual arts, where the world is depicted primarily from the viewpoint of a heterosexual male viewer, using imagery that would appeal to him.  If you’ve seen some of the fast food commercials in recent years featuring scantily clad women writhing in ecstasy over a hamburger, then you have a pretty good idea of what male gaze is all about.  The author of this meme apparently does not.

  • Magic Breastplate

The Magic Breastplate allows the virtuous white knight to swallow his pride and check his privilege; both things that the author of this meme should try doing.  When you swallow your pride, you accept that you have to do things you might find embarrassing or which you might not want to do, but which you do because you know you’ll be making a positive difference.  For example, the author of this meme might swallow his pride and apologize for making such a wretched meme.

Checking your privilege is something you should always do if you occupy any position on the American Star of Privilege.  (Yes, I’m tooting my own horn.)  If you are a white, straight, Christian, cis-gendered, relatively wealthy male living in the United States, then you receive certain social benefits that simply are not offered to people who do not meet all of those criteria.  Ironically, the more points of the Star that apply to you, the more likely you are to deny that privilege exists at all.  Don’t.  Being privileged doesn’t mean you didn’t earn any of the things you have; it simply means that society totally had your back along the way.

When somebody says “check your privilege”, they’re saying that you should recognize your privilege; to acknowledge that your race, sexuality, or socioeconomic status affect the way others respond to you.  Check your privilege is not an admonishment not to be yourself, or to live to some extreme standard of political correctness; it’s only an invitation to be aware of your place on the social ladder.  Everybody could benefit from that.

  • Magic Gauntlet and Mace

The gauntlet and mace help the white knight dismantle the patriarchy, which doesn’t sound like a bad idea.  Despite the fact that women make up about 50% of the population, they are sadly underrepresented in positions of power (seats of Congress, for examples, or CEOs of large corporations).  Given the sarcastic tone of this meme, I assume that the author believes that dismantling the patriarchy is unwise, perhaps impossible.

  • Protective Knee Pad

And here we get to the crux of what the author thinks about feminist allies: he believes that we live our lives apologizing for everything our less-refined brothers (the creator of this meme, e.g.) have ever done or said that was demeaning toward women.  Perhaps some people spend their time that way, but I don’t think most feminist allies do.  Apologies are not without merit, but they do not change history.  That is simply impossible.  What we can do is acknowledge our history – to admit that the patriarchy has caused grievous harm to women (and continues to do so).  Even if we don’t beg forgiveness for the sins of our fathers, we can live a life that sets an example for our sons.  We, the people of the present, can live in such a way that the people of the future will be proud to be our descendants.  Part of that will involve treating women – nay, treating everyone with the same basic dignity.

And that is why I hate this meme so much.  The author portrays feminist allies as leches in knight’s armor.  He insults us by imagining us to be like him.  I truly grieve for the author, who is able to see no further than the tip of his own penis.  If I were ever going to apologize for any man’s behavior, it would be his.

Why We All Need Feminism

Male Feminists

In 2012, sixteen students at Duke University began a social media campaign to shed light on issues of gender equality. It was called Who Needs Feminism? As part of the campaign, participants displayed posters around campus. Each poster bore an image of a man or woman holding a whiteboard sign starting with the words “I need feminism because…” The students’ motivation was to show that feminist principles could be important to everybody, and that there was no feminist archetype.

Images from and inspired by Who Needs Feminism?

Images from and inspired by Who Needs Feminism?

The students also launched a three-pronged online campaign on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Within hours their message was spreading rapidly across the Internet, and they had garnered a lot of attention, from men and women; from feminists and antifeminists.

A quick word about antifeminists: I’m not going to universally bash antifeminists by assuming that they are all misogynistic sexual predators-in-training. Just as there is no feminist archetype, there is no antifeminist archetype. They each have their own motives, even if I disagree with their conclusions. But there are those among the antifeminist crowd who betray a spectacular misunderstanding of women, their desires, and their struggle by creating garbage like this meme. If you are an antifeminist who thinks this meme is hilarious, it is to you that I address the rest of this post.

Despite what you may have heard in the last meeting of your He-Man Woman Hater’s Club, feminism is not about women dominating men. Most feminists will tell you that feminism is about equality; they subscribe to the notion that women are actual people who deserve the same social, political, and economic benefits as their male counterparts. Now really, there shouldn’t be anything too upsetting about that, unless you’re part of the privileged class and you’ve bought into the fairy tale that an increase in someone else’s rights means a decrease in your own rights. Don’t worry, rights are not a limited resource. There are plenty to go around.

If you are one of these misogynistic antifeminists, then you no doubt believe that any man who espouses feminist ideals does so only because he’s trying to get laid. Let’s take a few seconds to enumerate everything that’s wrong with that position.

  1. Blogger Feminspire writes that one of the most harmful aspects of the “male feminists just want to get laid” argument is that it betrays a complete indifference to the humanity of women. Anybody who makes this argument apparently cannot understand why any man would feel otherwise; ergo, any man who appears to support a woman’s cause must be trying to con a woman into sleeping with him.
  2. Men are not all single-minded sex-seeking missiles. It is conceivable that some men have interests outside of sex. It just might be possible that some men are interested in equality for everyone, and they can express their support without expecting any sort of sexual compensation.
  3. If a feminist ally truly understands feminist ideals (and he’d better), he knows that being feminist is not a free pass to having sex anyway. A woman chooses her sexual partners based on many qualities, not just ideological compatibility. If he didn’t already know this, he would learn real quick.

I am a white, straight male. I occupy three of the five sides of the American Pentagon of Privilege (a concept I just now invented, as far as I know. The other two sides are being wealthy and Christian.) I am aware of my privilege, but I don’t want to give it away. I want everybody to have the same privilege. That means I don’t want to tear others down or block their progress. When I identify myself as an ally to feminists (and to homosexuals and to people of color), it’s not because I want something for myself; I want us all to be in the same boat. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

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.

Hippo-Crap

The Hypocrite Diaries

I’m not exactly sure what The Hypocrite Diaries is/are. My exhaustive research into the subject (about 60 seconds of Googling) has turned up nothing but this meme. I believe this meme is the entire volume of The Hypocrite Diaries and not an excerpt.

I wish everything were black and white. I wish I could dismiss this trio of charges as utter stupidity – completely wrong in every way. But I’m forced to peer into the gray areas, and the issue becomes much more difficult.

You see, I know hypocrites exist in every walk of life. Are there Communist sympathizers who favor the redistribution of wealth…until they find themselves on the other side of the manicured hedge? Of course. Are there women who espouse economic, social, and political equality for women until they find themselves comfortably within the bonds of marriage, whereupon they sacrifice some of their autonomy to their husbands? Undoubtedly so. Are there self-proclaimed atheists who pray fervently when they find themselves in peril? Yes. But are these so-called hypocrites indicative of all Communists, feminists, and atheists, as this meme seems to suggest? Not at all. Some Communist sympathizers do their best to give back to the community that nurtured them, most feminists view their marriage as a partnership rather than a subjugation, and many atheists cannot be cowed by terrible danger into supplicating salvation from a deity they do not believe in.

I notice that the three archetypical hypocrites listed in this meme tend to be left-leaning idealists, but certainly there are conservative hypocrites as well. What about:

  • Pro-Lifers who procure clandestine abortions following an unplanned and embarrassing pregnancy, or
  • “Traditional” marriage proponents who solicit gay prostitutes, or
  • People who blather on about welfare drug testing while abusing prescription pain pills?

You would be perfectly correct to point out that not all Pro-Lifers, “traditional” marriage proponents, and welfare drug testing advocates are obnoxious hypocrites. Neither are all Communists, feminists, and atheists. As with any other group of people, some are hypocrites; some aren’t. Let’s stop the unfair generalizations, shall we?

Slut Shaming

Whoremones

Yes, sluts, you should live in accordance with society’s completely reasonable expectations of you. In case you’ve forgotten what those are:

  1. You should be sexually available whenever your boyfriend or husband wants you, but don’t seek out sexual fulfillment on your own (and especially not from more than one partner), or you will be branded a slut.
  2. If you want to have sex more than the correct amount for your age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, you are a slut.
  3. The correct amount of sex will not be defined. Society’s judges know a slut when they see one. If you have to ask if you’re having too much sex, you’re probably a slut.
  4. When in doubt, ask yourself this: am I having sex (A) to please a man or (B) to please myself? If the answer is (B), you’re a slut.
  5. If you are a woman who dresses immodestly, you will be labeled a slut, even if you abstain from any kind of sexual activity.
  6. The standards of modest attire will also not be defined. You’ll know you’re being immodest when somebody calls you a slut.
  7. If you have a political opinion – and especially if that political opinion centers around you having some kind of control over your own reproductive organs – you are a slut and an enemy of the state.
  8. You shouldn’t be offended at being called a slut, even though it strips away your dignity as an individual human being with your own desires. Remember: conformity is key.

Here’s another rule to live by: if you agree with any of the above “rules”, you’re an idiot. Stop devaluing people whose sexual proclivities don’t mesh with your own. As long as they’re consenting adults who aren’t hurting anybody (or maybe if they are hurting people a little bit but they have a mutually agreed upon safe word), let them be.

A Meme-Maker’s Explanation For Why He Will Be Forever Single

Good Obedient Wives

Gravity makes the world round, but I suppose you could argue that God made gravity, if you’re the religious type. No, that’s not what makes this a Stupid Bad Meme. This is a Stupid Bad Meme because it implies that since the world has no corners, there’s no such thing as a good and obedient wife. And if there are no good and obedient wives, what are there? Bad and disobedient wives?

Since this meme mentions God, let’s try to piece together the theological position of the meme’s creator, shall we? According to the meme-maker, God is a trickster with a warped sense of humor who thinks it’s hilarious to make dicily-worded promises to His creations. Now maybe you think I’m being too harsh here: clearly the meme is meant in jest, but the joke about how women are such willful shrews who won’t bend to their husbands’ demands is old and offensive, and I’m not even a woman. I don’t feel like cutting any slack. In one poorly executed joke, the meme-maker has managed to completely mangle Judeo-Christian theology as well as expose his misogyny. How charming.