Feminism 101: Objectifying Women Doesn't Show How Much You Love Them; It Shows How Much You Hate Them

[Or, perhaps more accurately, how disrespectful and contemptuous of them—and the silly notions about their equality—you are.]

We often hear from the sorts of trolls who pop up in the "Disembodied Things" threads (latest installment of that series here) that they like boob novelties or disembodied desk accessories (links potentially NSFW) not because they hate women, but because they like women so gosh darn much. The cleverest of these sorts frame it as an appreciation of the female form, though they proffer their faux-artistic justification without the merest hint of awareness that reducing women to their bodies isn't generally considered very enlightened.

The enjoyment of disembodied female parts is really the worst of the worst, as those items, while their humanity is quite evident, are nonetheless robbed of any expression of personhood, because they are rarely given faces—and on rare occasions when they are, the faces are little more than expressionless, gaping receptacles for some phallus substitute or other.

But occupying the dregs right beside that reprehensible stuff is the kitsch that casts women as pocket-sized playthings, to be manipulated at the whims of her owner.

Case in point, the USB Pole Dancer, who isn't even given a charming name like Moaner Lisa or Lusty Linda to attempt to dress her up as cute and harmless or anything less than just a functional item to fulfill the designated role:

The USB Pole Dancer is the pole dancer you can admit to when everyone's watching! Just plug her into your USB port and start typing. As you type – she performs. The lights flash, the music plays and your bikini-clad blonde performs her routine. And there's no need to go tucking dollars anywhere (we read somewhere, they do that), the faster you type, the faster this cheeky minx dances!

How should we describe it – Alluring? Appealing? Actually, "hilarious" is probably the most accurate! Which makes her a great Secret Santa gift – or a truly memorable corporate gift! She's kitsch with a capital K, and cute with a capital Coochee-Coo!

The more you press the keyboard buttons, the more she'll press yours. The software includes a daily word count, including your top 5 performances and you can play a word count game, testing your words per minute. So there's your defence against any office prudes who want to complain about her performance – you can simply say she's improving yours!
This is an item for the bloke who loves women, can't you tell? The sort of bloke who thinks it's outrageous he has to actually pay strippers for their services, who thinks being able to manipulate a female figure into performing a sex act with the press of a few buttons is "hilarious," who thinks this sort of thing is fine for a work environment that includes female coworkers, who thinks that any woman who might object is just a humorless, hysterical prude.

There's so much love for women there, I hardly know where to begin.

(The presumption that this item is "the ultimate male fantasy" and "many men would like to see it included as part of the standard workplace agreement" doesn't exactly do men any favors, either. Once again, misogyny comes delivered complete with sides orders of heteronormativity and man-hating bullshit.)

There are plenty of men and women who quite understandably love the female body. They don't show it by putting a plastic stereotype on their desks to be enslaved to their cruel and objectifying whims.

Occasionally, one of the men who defend their delight with these products with a "love" of women will belligerently ask me how better they can show it, as if hoping to challenge the premise by exposing my (presumed) unwillingness to concede that there is any way to respectfully celebrate women's bodies without objectifying them. "What do you suggest I buy?" asked one fellow in comments, about two years ago, who didn't like my assertion that boobie novelties (of which he was apparently an aficionado) did not actually honor women.

"If you must," I offered, "show your appreciation via consumerism, I suggest you buy a Georgia O'Keeffe print."

"That's not the same," he replied.

Indeed. It is not.

[H/T to Shaker K.]

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