Well, There IS An Abomination Here

Uterus and Satan

In what way does this make sense?

Satan is the ultimate bad guy in many religions. He is the deceiver, the spinner of evil, the author of everything foul (In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he created this meme). In the video game of spiritual warfare, Satan is the final boss battle. If you’re devout, there is nobody and nothing to be hated and shunned more than Old Scratch himself.

Except for the female reproductive system, apparently. I’m not sure in what way the female reproductive system is comparable to the Prince of Darkness, but then again I’m not a misogynist. In order to understand this meme, I have to step inside the mind of somebody who hates and fears women and the things they can do with their wombs.

Unfortunately, finding somebody to serve as my woman-hating avatar is frighteningly easy. The Southern Poverty Law Center presents a list of blogs and websites that are overtly misogynistic in their message: the overarching statement from each of these sites is that women are evil, slutty, disease-ridden whores and that feminism is a terrorist movement whose only goal is to further torment the long suffering male of the species. I’m not even putting words in their mouths…the SPLC page provides snippets from each blog and that’s pretty much what they say.

If you’re angry about the plight of males in this increasingly female-dominated world, then you are clearly living in a constant dream state. I believe this is another instance of Perceived Reverse Victimization. I’ve written about this before, and it doesn’t seem to have gone away. The people that have been in charge for most of history suddenly feel oppressed when they are asked to stop being such jerks and to treat others with fairness.

With no evidence, I would be willing to bet that each of these men has had their fragile egos bruised at some point by a woman. Maybe the girl of their dreams rejected their prom invitation. Perhaps they were fired from a job after sexual harassment charges were lodged against them, and they just don’t understand what everybody’s so upset about – it must be women’s fault. In any case, I believe they are projecting deeply closeted concerns about their own adequacy onto an entire half of the population. In a way, I feel sorry for them; their attitudes probably stem from the culture of misogyny in which they were raised. Parents, take note: if you raise your children in an atmosphere of misogyny, don’t be surprised when your sons grow up despising women and treating them like filth. There’s a clear cycle of cause and effect.

Now let’s talk about the people that pass this meme along. I don’t know that all of them are woman-hating ass-hats, but they clearly thought this image was funny, so maybe they aren’t thinking hard enough about what the meme is actually saying. Let me put it into terms that everybody can understand: if you pass along this meme (without tearing it apart as misogynistic and stupid) then you give your assent to its message: that the part of a woman responsible for creating life – the part that may one day give shelter to your own children – is a dark and frightening place and the only apt comparison is the most evil being in all of Judeo-Christian mythology. Is that what you meant to say?

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.