Here I go all controversial on you again. Just to make up for it, here’s a pleasant Dick for you:
You’re thinking..now, Penny, what does that have to do with anything? Everything. It is the very essence of my post. Sometimes, to be truly happy, you need to clean out the muck from other people’s chimneys. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. (Yes, that was INTENDED to be taken two ways, possibly three.)
The Twitter-verse so far has been fantastic. I love it. I’m addicted, even. Except for one teeny-tiny-almost-insignificant-little-d!ck that keeps showing up right under Britney’s mouth. It is as persistent as..well..it’s uniquely persistent. It changes names, it changes accounts. It doesn’t change size, it’s always tiny, and that makes me sad for it. Not sad enough to try to save it. In fact, I wish to annihilate it. Notice that I refer to “it.” “It” is what bothers me. Britney doesn’t. She’s a whole other story, but that story is right below this paragraph. Almost. And it’s entirely relevant as well, so hang on tight with me here.
My first official blog post on this blog, after a couple of pieces written for “artistic value,” was also my most popular post in the short history of all posts I’ve posted, on all my blogs so far. (Then again, I’m just getting started, so fingers crossed.) In case you missed it, it was “Me, The Internet and 69.” The objective of that post was to encourage the continual development of a safer, stronger, more useful Internet for us all. The “69” was the year of our birth, the Internet and I, but you that the high click results on the post were not because of the word ‘Internet,’ but because of that magic number. (Also, because I used the tag “bikini” in the post, and that seemed to attract a lot of traffic.)
There I go, bravely braving the soot, so you don’t have to. (See how Dick Van Dyke is relevant?)
Why pick such controversial subjects? Why attempt such “guerilla tactics” to get the message out? Because the message matters. We deserve a safer, cleaner, more useful Internet. We deserve a safer, cleaner more useful world, for that matter. But it goes beyond the Internet, to something far more creepy about the Britney phenomenon, something that you may have missed. It’s not about sex. The people doing this are not peddling sex. They are not peddling pleasure. They are peddling EXPLOITATION. They are peddling OBJECTIFICATION. They are TERRORISTS with a MYSOGENISTIC agenda. (Ok. I’ll stop with the capitals already, but I really am yelling these words. Hubby can hear it.)
You don’t believe me? Ask yourselves: what’s the point? What is the point of showing that you can, as the perpetrators claim, “hack” into “celebrity accounts” and expose their intimacy. This is not sex. It is grotesque violence. This tantamount to virtual gang rape. Just because the people affected are “famous” and possibly some of them a bit irritating, does that mean that we sit back and allow this type of aggression to take place?
I am not a prude. Never have been, never will be. If you’ve read my posts and inferred any prudishness on my part, get your head checked. Even so, I don’t want to see any images of people “doing things” in my in-box, or showing up in my Tweet feed when I least expect it. It isn’t about being open-minded, not when it comes to issues like this. Legitimate blogs and web-sites that trade in what is lovingly called “smutt” and who do not promote exploitation, rather represent consensual concourse and play time among adults are fine in my book. Live and let live.
These types of Tweets are not in that league. I didn’t ask for them. I don’t want them. I won’t tolerate them. Most people don’t, I would think. But I’m wrong.
I know I’m wrong because I understand how markets work. If there were no demand for this, there would be no supply. I don’t believe the demand comes from a bunch of horny people looking to have a good time. The demand comes from a bunch of angry people looking to validate themselves by debasing others, and THAT is what bothers me about it. That is what has my panties in a bunch! (“I spit your lingo in your face, chauvenist scum!” — sorry that was my dark-side speaking. Just a teensy bit more aggressive. We’ll ask her to be quiet now.)
Clearly there is a problem. There is a recurring demand, an endless stream of losers seeking to raise their own self-worth by stomping on another’s. When something becomes viral, as this picture has done, it is because there is a demand for it, whether overt or covert. Now think about that: there is a demand, a considerable one, to exploit, violate, objectify, degrade women. You knew that, right? Here’s what you may not have considered. What do I mean by covert? The answer lies in another key question: Why isn’t it stopped aleady? Why does it perpetuate?
I understand bots. Got it. I know that people can write code to generate millions of ID’s and do whatever they please. But, really, our programming isn’t up to par with squashing that a bit? Furthermore, the accounts have links to web-sites. Are those web-sites just floating from server to server like flies, changing IP addresses every few seconds? Are we not able to track and toast them?
I really don’t know these answers, and I am open to comment. If we do not have that technology, then that is a golden business opportunity for the next Internet Genius to develop and market.
I’ll tell you what I suspect. I suspect we’ve become passive about this and similar predatory behavior, to our detriment. Through our passivity, we perpetuate the problem. We have not made stamping things like this, like child exploitation, like other forms of regression to a base, low, sub-human form, a sufficient priority. We have not made safety a priority. We have not made children a priority. We have not made women a priority. We have not made Humanity a priority.
These images are powerful dangerous things. They are not just an ordinary nuisance. If they are like mosquitos, they are like mosquitos carrying Dengue Fever. The objectification they represent is deadly to our humanity. It is an affront to all of us, regardless of gender.
If you’ve followed my blog, you may have picked up on a theme. I am a little bit obsessed with the images of two iconic women who have hystorically been objectified. I’m fascinated by their parallels and their contrasts. One was a powerful and solid dame, and she handled her image to her own interest. She managed it entirely. She OWNED it. The other one was a divine, intelligent, sensitive soul. She didn’t handle it well. Sadly, it broke her.
I might lose the argument, if we had it, but I believe that Marilyn Monroe was an unbelievably intelligent, witty, beautiful woman. She may have been an unrecognized genius with tremendous potential. She would have made a wonderful woman leader, if we hadn’t allowed her to be sucked dry and spat out like the frail skin on a grape.
That is what happens when we turn a blind eye to exploitation. We lose our shining lights. If we don’t kill them, we drive them to kill themselves.
So what about Britney? I personally think it’s not her fault. She isn’t annoying me daily. What is annoying is how she is being used and abused. What is annoying me pondering why, with all the power and features we have on this Internet, this kind of thing can go on so often, so easily. Why should I care? Why should you care? Because it’s not just about Britney. It could happen to any of us.
Even if it were only about Britney, why pick on the poor girl? She has enough trouble. She needs help, guidance, hope. She doesn’t need to the victim of our laissez-fair attitude to this type of viral mail. She has been exploited enough already, even from childhood, even by her parents. She doesn’t need anything adding to her already significant low self-esteem, to her grief. As I said, it’s not about Britney, or Paris, or Tila Tequila, or anyone else like that..it’s about all of us. Women and Men alike. About the kind of environment we want online and off-line. Do we want a savage society that ravages the vulnerable, or a gentle society that aids them?
We need more empowered men and women in this world. We need more shining lights. Maybe Britney will never be a shining light, but how will we ever know if she keeps getting crushed? Have we ever allowed her to be anything but a dumb blond sucking on a lolly pop?
It’s called desensitization. The more we tolerate this sort of image propagating our space, the more we re-enforce the message behind it, the more women are objectified and victimized, the more they are abused, the greater the tragedy for all humanity. These things are not unrelated. These things are intimately linked.
I’d like it to stop. I believe I am not alone. Not just the Twits, but all of it. I’d like to see that we all pick up our chimney sweep toolkit and get all the soot out, for good. Won’t you join me?
Chim-Chiminee Chim-Chiminee Chim-Chim Che-ree a sweep is as lucky as lucky can be.
..and that was a Penny for Your Thoughts.