Today in Disembodied Things

Part Twenty-Two in an ongoing series…

The following (image may be NSFW) was posted at Boing Boing with its specs and this description:
Here's Bob Turek's MP3 player speaker system, built into a mannequin.

As part of my object remix series, this stereo forces the music source into the center of attention and creates a radically new user interface.
A rather wondrously benign account of a positively stunning appropriation of a disembodied female torso as the centerpiece of what we commonly refer to as an entertainment system.


In the associated thread at Boing Boing, a lively discussion has ensued, with the expected results, including comments accusing feminists of man-hating. I can't quite believe we're still there, sigh.

And there are, of course, the typical attempts to draw an equivalence between this item and products like truck nuts, without the slightest regard for the vastly divergent ways in which men's and women's bodies are treated, with the latter objectified and packaged for consumption in ways the former simply is not. There is hardly a more conspicuous example of the inequality of the sexes than the fact that women's bodies are routinely reduced to something to be sold, bought, and owned by men. It is one of sexism's deepest roots.

But one has neither to understand nor accept the argument that male-specific novelties are hardly evidence of parity to nonetheless recognize that objectifying the body parts of either sex is exploitative, and adding disembodied male bits to the long tradition of consumable disembodied female bits is hardly an improvement. It's a step forward only in a race to the bottom, and there is little to be gained by treating service to the lowest common denominator as a favorable equalizer.

I don't want things to be "just as bad" for men. I want things to be better for us all.

But I despair at the reactions to the post at Boing Boing, no less that it was posted there in the first place. That we have been so resoundingly inured to the narratives of female subjugation that we are expected to not care when presented with a product like this, communicating at its essence the message that women's bodies are not to be respected and are worth little beyond their value as men's entertainment, could not more pointedly underline how very far away we are from authentic equality.

[Thanks to Shakers Rumblelizard, Erin Worrell, KG, and LifeLongActivist, who also did a nifty bit of teaspooning by linking this series at Boing Boing. Disembodied Things: Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen, Twenty, Twenty-One.]

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