Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Face the Facts

For some time, I've loved visiting a blog called Cute Overload. I've got a serious need to be around, or at least see, animals of all types. So this blog was a gift. The blog owner posted pictures like these:

The pictures on Cute Overload depict a variety of species. Photos are conveniently assigned to categories. For some reason, the blog owner created a new category that introduced misogyny into an otherwise delightful blog. Cute Overload now sports a Cats 'n' Racks™ category. Here are some images and captions in this category:

"This 'Cats 'n' Racks' is no error, People, it's tewtelly posed for your enjoyment! That cat is soo comfterbuls. Now we know how Katie Holmes stuffed."

"Ow! A third submission for a new "Cats n' Racks" category arrived. It's now an offical category! As 'Tracy B' noted, 'It doesn't get any rackier than this. :)' ha!"

I won't waste my time guessing their motivations for doing this. The facts are simple:
  • women do not enjoy the same rights in society as men
  • women are valued primarily as a sex class; they are not valued as fully human
  • women suffer violence, torture, and death simply because they are women
  • posting pictures of women that promote their status as sex objects causes real harm.
Why is it so difficult to see that photos like these are harmful? Is it difficult to see, or is it that people just don't care? Maybe I can make this a little clearer for people who think that pictures like these don't matter.

In 2004, a killer whale attacked his trainer. The whale attempted to submerge the man, and suceeded at times. (Some killer whales overcome their prey by drowning the animal.) Fortunately, the trainer was not hurt.

So I've decided to rip off Cute Overload and start a new blog called Critters So Precious You'll Upchuck. I've created a category called Whales 'n' Males™. I'm going to post pictures of that trainer being attacked by the killer whale and I'll post cutesy comments with the pictures.

Oh, somebody woke up on the wrong side of the pool!

Swim faster, or you won't be my chum!

Boys will be boys!

Funny? Not at all. Seeing a man attacked is not funny; it's horrifying and sickening. The living conditions of the whale aren't funny either, but that's the subject of a later post. Why are the pictures objectifying women considered funny?

Why am I making such a big deal out of pictures that objectify women? The man in the picture was facing death. Of course that's not funny. The women were just shown so we could enjoy their boobs. What could be funnier than a cat and boobs?

Treating women as the cats 'n' racks photos do causes real damage. They show that's it's ok to view women as sex objects. They perpetuate the belief that women exist for the pleasure of men. All of these beliefs protect the status quo: men are human but women serve as decoration and sexual outlets.

Where do you suppose violence against women comes from? Why are women battered, raped, and murdered by their male partners? People don't behave mindlessly: "Time to beat someone. Hey, the wife is handy." We adapt our behavior according to the situation we're in. When a man gets angry at work, does he punch his boss? No, he needs his job, so he controls himself. Why do some men control themselves with their bosses, but beat their wives into a bloody pulp?

Because they can.

Attitudes and beliefs inform behavior. You don't batter, rape, and kill someone you view as your equal. But when you view women as being less than men, all kinds of terrible behaviors become acceptable. The ubiquitous message that women are worth less than men matters. When violence and hate are everywhere, there's no such thing as acceptable objectification.

We live in an ugly, inequal society. Cats 'n' Racks™ plays right into the hate.


le lyons said...

Wow. I was feeling uninspired and decided to read what everyone else had to know the drill. But this - I never could have even dreamed up something so incredibly stupid.

Why? Why? Why? I know you already answered that, but still. Ick.

Biting Beaver said...

I thought the captions were funny *smile*.

Ok, well maybe not so much but perhaps something like this will show people just how disgusting the practice of objectifying women and giving them a lesser status is wrong.

I love the post today. And damn, that bunny is CUTE!!

cameo said...

again....... people are stupid, and they just don't think or get it! yup, it's the whole boobs and pussy thing. put them together because no other part of the woman matters. all i have to say is thank god the men in my life are different. thank god. and truth be told, i rarely have to ever deal with people like this. lucky me, i know. have you read Female Chauvinist Pigs? i'm reading it now. partially, what is allowed as okay, is only so because it's ALLOWED. this is the classic case of general stupidity effecting us all. but, in our immediate (and i include you, because you have a good husband too, no?) world, this shit isn't perceived as humorous, and isn't allowed. we live with like-minded individuals in our world. let me know if i'm wrong.

hexyhex said...

Dammit. I really liked Cute Overload. :(

And... erm... I laughed at the whale pics. *sheepish* I'm a sick and horrible human being. Have I mentioned that my favourite ad is the one where the killer whale eats the Inuit dude fishing on the ice? I laughed for about ten minutes when I saw that.

Amy's Brain Today said...

Heh heh, I hear you hexy. I was thinking, "Where's the blood and gore?" I mean, I'm sure it was terrifying for the guy, but from those photos you can't really tell they're not playing. It's not exactly "Jaws" or anything. The bunnies were adorable. Too bad they had to go and wreck it.

(PS My favorite movies are the ones where animals get back at evil people. Did you see "Ghost and the Darkness"? Great. Just great.)

spotted elephant said...

Lauren-It is shocking that someone would even think of stuff like this.

BB-I was trying to be funny. ;) The situation isn't funny. And the bunny stealing the cookie? Thought I'd never stop laughing. I don't know if you lose food in your house like this, but we sure do.

Cameo-I haven't read that book, but the title seems very familiar. Getting what's allowed to change is such a long, painful process. And yes-I am married to a progressive, equality-minded man.

Hexy-I know! I'm so pissed that I can't go there anymore. I *loved* the pictures. As far as the pictures, I'm always a little sorry when captive killer whales don't "act out" more often. I will have to get to that post. btw, are you familiar with the Darwin Awards? If not, you may find them funny.

spotted elephant said...

Amy-You're spot on about the pictures. After all, the whale didn't hurt him in any way-just (ahem) pushed/held him underwater a little.

I'm going out to find Ghost and the Darkness tomorrow. Sounds great!

And those jerks-Cute Overload has bunnies, puppies, kittens, and all kinds of neat critters. Today they had a great picture of a grub. A grub! It had beautiful colors and neat eyes. They really ruined it.

gandhi rules said...

You're right and this is so sad to me. I'm going to go over to the website and see if I can contact them.

spotted elephant said...

GR-Good for you. I thought about contacting them, but all the recent troll activity has me worn out and bitter, and I decided not to contact them. I hope you get in touch, and I hope you get a decent reply.

cameo said...

get the book!!!!! it's hopefully what will re-start the feminist movement! i have told my students to read it and a couple of them are! it's a very interesting and easy read. go get it! or put your name on the library waiting list. i had to wait awhile to get mine from the library, but i think i may go buy it and keep it for reference and for my children to read! get it! this is right down your alley.

cameo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
quakerdave said...

I just keep hoping those cats are de-clawed.

Dollars to donuts some dopey guy runs that site, so he obviously doesn't get it.

And as long as men don't get it, we will continue to see crap like this. So don't be shocked. Be aggrevated.

Sally's Life said...

Here in dear old England, we have institutions called parish churches, with church wardens; worthies, pillars of society and the such. The son of one such was introduced to me and seemed a gentleman; until he turned violent, then said to me: you won't get better than me, not the way you are. My obvious response, as I exited like lightning: No woman has to put up with violence.

His family, his church, condoned.

I was castigated for not managing him better; seems it was thought that I, being disabled and therefore desperate, would make the effort to put up with him. Being relatively new to the parish, I did not know that he had taken a gun to his ex-wife, as my neighbours did know. (He is a farmer, so he has/had a licence.)

This is not what females are for. Yet, eight years on, he is about to marry. Does his quiet as a mouse fiancee know his history?

I hope his family have taken responsibility for their violent
family member.

That story needed to be told, I hope you don't mind me adding it to your blogging comments.

lost clown said...

Great post. I love how you pulled it apart so well.

I thought that there was a nice kind of justice in the whale attack. they shouldn't be performing for us, they should be free.

spotted elephant said...

Cameo-I didn't know you were a teacher. What do you teach?

Quakerdave-Yeah, nothing should be shocking at this point. But I let my guard down because-cute pictures.

Burrow-I agree completely. Can't fault a whale in captivity for being aggressive.

cameo said...

i have had the honor/frustration (laughing) of teaching dance for the last 15 years. i mainly teach ballet. but i am also adjunct at a small college and teach musical theatre movement and tap/jazz. most of my students are between the ages of 10-17. it's a neat experience because these girls are with me for years, sometimes 10 or more. and you become an integral part of their life. i've counseled girls through unplanned pregnancy, rape, divorce, and the usual teenage crap. i like to think i'm teaching them how to become ballerinas, but also a good strong women.

Clark Lee said...

Cats being cradled in cleavage. Aquatic carnivores attacking humans. I'm lost. Totally lost. Not that video of Whales Gone Wild wouldn't be a big seller. I'd wager there is an unmet demand for footage of waterborne megafauna being naughty. "She's as big as a whale, she's all wet, and she's not afraid to swallow! Whales Gone Wild Volume 2, only $19.95 on DVD". I just don't see any logical connection between cats, non-sexual images of them resting on human breasts, mysogyny, and whale attacks. Perhaps I'll post this last paragraph over there and see if she can clarify things for me.

spotted elephant said...

Sally-I don't mind at all. I think that comment is worth a post.

"Cats being cradled in cleavage. Aquatic carnivores attacking humans. I'm lost. Totally lost."

Did you read my post? I state clearly what the connection is.

"Not that video of Whales Gone Wild wouldn't be a big seller. I'd wager there is an unmet demand for footage of waterborne megafauna being naughty."

Oh, I see. It's all a joke. I do a post on the rape, battery, and murder of women and you make a joke.

"She's as big as a whale, she's all wet, and she's not afraid to swallow! Whales Gone Wild Volume 2, only $19.95 on DVD".

Wow, hatred of fat people, porn, and general misogyny. Your attitudes are quite delightful.

"I just don't see any logical connection between cats, non-sexual images of them resting on human breasts, mysogyny, and whale attacks. Perhaps I'll post this last paragraph over there and see if she can clarify things for me."

Based on your comment, I'm not surprised you can't see the connection.

Human breasts are *always* sexual. The point is not about the cats, it's that tits are included on a blog formerly devoted to animal pictures.

You go ahead and post wherever "there" is and maybe "she", whoever that is, can help you.

hexyhex said...

"Human breasts are always sexual."

You know, I actually read that and thought "No they aren't! Human breasts can be totally non sexual..."

and then I finished that sentence

"... at least to me."

Ah, there's the clincher. To our society, breasts ARE always sexual. They've been oversexualised by porn and by media to the point where a woman breastfeeding in public is considered a sexual act, and women are told they can't wear singlets in situation were men can. As much as breasts are not genitals, our society treats them as such.

And that, clark lee, is why "non-sexual images of them resting on human breasts" are completely inappropriate for that forum. Not because of what we see, but because of what everyone else sees.

hexyhex said...

And yes, SE, the Darwin awards make me laugh. Then they make me angry at the state of human intelligence. Then a little depressed.

Then I go and download the ad where the whale eats the Inuit guy, and I get all cheered up. ;)

Kim said...

When I saw the "Racks" addition to Cute Overload, a site I previously enjoyed as good, clean mental-palate clensing fun, I felt fucking betrayed.

EVEN HERE, on a site chock full of fluffy bunnies and kitties and puppies and BABY HORSIES, EVEN HERE this bullshit?

I love your Captions, tho, SE!
You have a very sneakily funny side to you, don't you :)

spotted elephant said...

Hexy-I actually erased the sentence about breasts always being sexual-for the same reason you stated, thought about it and put it back.

The Darwin Awards do have a downside. But everytime I read about you getting cheered up by the whale eating the guy I lol. :D

"EVEN HERE, on a site chock full of fluffy bunnies and kitties and puppies and BABY HORSIES, EVEN HERE this bullshit?"

Exactly! That's it exactly.

I'm glad you liked the captions. It's nice when I make someone else laugh.

swelks said...

"And that, clark lee, is why "non-sexual images of them resting on human breasts" are completely inappropriate for that forum. Not because of what we see, but because of what everyone else sees. "

I don't think the images in themselves are offensive,but rather of course,the wording of the added category 'Cats n Racks' is what objectifies the content of the pictures.For example,the last picture you posted of the wet black kitty is one in a series of pics showing the cat getting a bath,as I remember.And the last picture just happened to include the top of the cat owner's (or whomever that happens to be) breasts.But instead of letting it go,the woman in the picture has to be pointed out as a woman in a degrading way,and essentially just becomes a pair of breasts.I know it's likely someone might say,"well,what if that site put up a category with some sort of animal sitting on guys' laps and named that category Dude-degrading Such and Such" and you know it would not be the same because men aren't valued for their parts,in our culture.See,I LIKE those pictures.I mean who hasn't enjoyed some cute furball of an animal or two down the shirt?(just me,then?'kay.)But because breasts=xxx in our society,those pictures just had to be rounded up and presented as sexually degrading to the people in them.Just because of the hypersexualization of breasts in our culture.To be honest,I wouldn've even reacted vehemently to this new phenomena at if we weren't living within a patriarchy.Perhaps it could've been presented as something quirky and definitely with a different title.perchance to dream and all that.

hexyhex said...

swelks: I agree entirely. Those pictures are perfectly acceptable for common consumption, and are largely G-rated. Just not in that context. And yeah, it all comes down to patriarchy. Like so much else. *sigh*

Kim said...

Slightly OT here but:
SE: I have a wild bunny in my yard--last year, we had a whole bunch and so sadly, one by one I found them dead in the road.
So glad at least one has returned this year -- hoping they multiply and populate my yard once again with their wild bunniness--they are so much fun to watch!

I'm keeping my camera in the kitchen to get pics for you and that Bumble!

spotted elephant said...

Thanks, Kaka! That would be much appreciated. :)

FallingStar said...

Ugh..not even lovely cats are safe from being used by the patriarchy!

I mean, it would probably be perfectly innocent if it wasn't used in a patriarchal and objectifying way. Cats are lovely and fluffy but I'm sure they would hate it if they knew their mugs were on a website being used to objectify their owner's breasts.

The cats would revolt and become feminanimals! ;) hehehe :) Just a silly thought!

Yes, this is horrible :( Breasts are far too oversexualised in our society. Yes, they have erotic feeling, but they're not objects, they are part of a person. Grrr.

Mary said...

FUCK Cute Overload. The cool kids all read Justalittleguy: