18
Aug
14

a sociological study, of a sort

I’m looking for an image of a woman carrying a tray to use as a cutout for a feminist-inspired art piece I’m considering. It will portray a woman going through life, weaving her way through images of things that cause her to lose little slivers of herself — children staring at computer screens, bosses scolding , husbands staring at football games on television, domestic chores competing with individual and/or professional pursuits, etc. I’d tell you more but I don’t want to give away my idea.

So I search for images at bing (trying to avoid being tracked, although bing seems to be as bad as google these days).

Just do this:

Go to bing.com, click on images, and then search for “waitress.”

If that isn’t revealing enough (pun unintended, but appreciated for its irony at this point), now go back and search for “waiter.”

It’s hopeless.

***

I’d feel badly for myself, but if you live in any number of regions around the world (Syria, Gaza, West Africa, Ferguson, Missouri)* you’re likely to be a victim of persecution, violence, ebola, etc. etc. First world problems, mine, although the (mis)treatment, exploitation and unappreciation of women, extended backwards, can lead to some pretty horrifying acts. Beyond the obvious problems of rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, one must include forced/child marriage, exploitative pornography, clitoral circumcision, requiring women to cover their hair or their bodies or their entire selves

womaninburka

This creeps me out. And makes me angry. Very, very angry.

or forbidding them from going out in public without a male relative as an escort. How about the right to raise a child without worrying about them being kidnapped or forced to become a child soldier or to die of some easily treatable disease? What about the right NOT to give birth to a child when so much of society seems bent on forcing you to, without helping with any of the things that come after.

Compare those things to fighting for equal pay for equal work? Equal opportunities for professional advancement? Equal distribution of household or child rearing chores? Who am I to complain?

But let’s go back to those images for a moment. Most of the women are in scanty “uniforms,” standing in provocative positions, gazing lasciviously at the camera. That’s funny, I thought I was searching for “waitress” — you know, someone who delivers food on a tray? I didn’t realize (duh) that “waitress” was a euphemism for seductress, slut, woman-who-exists-purely-for-the-pleasure-of-the-male-gaze.

Am I the only one who thinks this is a problem?

*We tell ourselves we’re made “in God’s image” to make ourselves feel better, but I just don’t see what could be further from the truth. As a species we ought to be ashamed of ourselves.

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