This seems to be another of those questions about the hierarchy of victimhood, and where your particular victimization problem falls within it.
In an especially notorious case, written up by Howard Portnoy in 2014, a Muslim barber in Toronto refused to cut the hair of a lesbian. Who’s higher on the Victim Totem Pole? Discuss amongst yourselves.
Now comes word that feminists are objecting to ads that (sort of) humorously objectify IT nerds — because the parties being objectified are all men, and that’s totally un-diverse (not to mention unfair).
If you’ve been online in the last 10 days, you’ve probably seen at least one of these ads. I confess, I hadn’t paid them any special attention before I got wind of the concern of alert feminists. The images are pictures of ordinary-looking guys, posed in a semi-provocative manner in their underwear. They remind me of those come-on ads featuring what appear to be mug shots of the ugliest people you’ve ever laid eyes on. My main thought — to the extent I reacted in any mentally organized way — was “Don’t click; adware-attack alert.”
But career feminists are reacting differently. It seems like only yesterday that feminists were up in arms about the objectification of women, who are too apt to be portrayed on billboards in their underwear — or in similarly scanty attire — for no apparent reason. Well, for no noble reason, at any rate. We all know why businesses want to create the impression that if you buy their product, scantily-clad women will show up. Or, you’ll at least feel as cheerful and encouraged as if they have.
OK, so, ha-ha: we also all know why no customer audience has that same response to images of some yahoo-next-door in his skivvies. Tech recruiter Dice Open Web is apparently trying to be both funny and visually arresting with the “hottest tech talent” ads.
The whole premise of this ad series “Find the hottest tech talent” is that engineers are goofy-looking nerdy guys (majority white) that look ridiculous when they pose as overtly-sexualized women in mainstream advertising culture. According to the “joke,” “hottest” refers to their abilities as engineers, not their identity.
Did Dice run this ad with a woman or trans engineer in a similar position? Nope! And let’s not pretend that it was to prevent folks from even more objectification. Dice fully played into the stereotype that only men are elite tech talent. They literally spread this message all across Silicon Valley, from MUNI along the 101.
Yet, somehow, I doubt that feminists would actually cheer a “diverse” ad campaign in which women were depicted looking nerdy in their underwear. If trans persons were depicted thus, I suspect the U.S. Department of Justice would have to show up, with TV cameras and an army of lawyer-activists funded by George Soros.
A particular problem with the Dice ads seems to be that they may draw attention away from the #ILookLikeAnEngineer campaign, in which images of fully clothed women engineers are posted on social media. Who wants to check out engineers with an eerie resemblance to Jen Psaki, after all, when there are guys looking goofy in Fruit of the Loom couture to chortle over?
— 3D Systems (@3dsystems) August 6, 2015
But there I go, exhibiting a lame sense of humor instead of proper indignation about the uncaring world’s inability to ever get this stuff right. The problem I have is that one can read the entire Feministing lament on this topic and not be clear on what the world was supposed to do, other than what it did. That seems to be a consistent quality of modern-feminist complaints.
But there’s still a graduate thesis in there, whose-victimization-trumps-whose-wise.