Monday, May 20, 2013

"Ex-Girlfriend" Target Bleeds When You Shoot It


I'm going to go with "not cool" here...and "creepy"...

I get the idea--it's a well-known joke template: I hate my ex-wife/gf (or, for that matter: ex-husband/bf...) I really really hate her.

Yeah, o.k., I get that. Honestly, I've never hated any of my ex-gfs. I don't have the best sense in the world, but I have always steered clear of relationships with people I might end up hating. I don't look upon all my exes with unalloyed fondness, and I've deeply regretted certain interactions, but I've never hated anybody I was significantly involved with in that way. But still: I get it. I've known plenty of people, male and female, who were entirely justified in hating some of their exes.

And I don't buy this:
The more you shoot the iconization of the woman you hate (a 'slut' with her large breasts bulging out of her tanktop) the more she bleeds and her body, once sexy, becomes mangled.  It is a startling reminder of the normalization of violence against women in America, and the latest in delegitimization of the pro-gun lobby's claims that firearms are an equalizer for women.

Er, the manikin is a slut? Wha...? That's, to say the least. And it’s pretty speculative. Not only is this not a “startling reminder” of the “normalization” of violence against women, but it really doesn’t have anything we know of to actually do with real violence against non-plastic women. In fact, my guess is that the people making this, and most of the people shooting at this, aren’t taking this what you'd call seriously. You might accuse them of cluelessness, but it’s not transparently obvious that they can be accused of much else. (Though see below.)

And, of course, this in no way offers even the slightest refutation (or “delegitimization”) of the claim (not made only by the “pro-gun lobby," you’ll note) that firearms are an equalizer for women. They obviously can be, and there is absolutely nothing that could even conceivably be done with a manikin that could refute that. Do guns, in fact and on average, have that effect? My guess is in the negative, and I'd be willing to put some money on that…but the question can’t be answered without looking at the numbers. Uncharitable interpretations of people shooting at manikins simply isn’t going to do anything like the trick there.

All that having been said...

I think we could safely go with “uncool” here. And creepy. Very creepy. Violence against women remains a big problem. (Violence against men is a bigger problem in many ways…but if you bring up that point in a context like this, people freak out. So let’s ignore it… Even if it’s not the only problem, nor the worst problem, it’s a huge problem.) And making a bleeding dummy specifically to look female in order to take out your anger on it--anger about a real-life female…that’s creepy, dude. Really, really creepy.

Look, the left—though usually the lefter-than-Alternet left—likes to make up screwy theories, and loves to criticize (stupid buzzword “trigger warning”!!!111) “problematic” actions in terms of those screwy theories. First and foremost, that stuff’s bullshit. And Bullshit is bad. But—and this is, by far, the less important criticism—promulgating bullshit reasons “delegitimizes” (cough) good points. This freaking shoot-your-ex-girlfriend manikin is, to use the technical phrase, f*cked up. You might, say, fantasize about blowing up your ex’s house. A bit much, I’d say, but I can understand it. But taking out your actual firearm, and shooting a dummy that’s made to look realistic, and ostentatiously female, and made to bleed when you shoot it… Listen, man, if that sounds like a good time to you, it’s probably time to sit down and have a long talk with yourself about reasonable and unreasonable degrees of anger. Even if she done you really, really wrong, graphic fantasies--with bleeding props--about doing violence to her just aren't right--even if they do not make you in any way more disposed toward actual violence.

But, again: this is supposed to be a joke--it's a creepy joke, but it's simply not meant to be taken seriously. And that cannot be ignored.

Anyway, that's the way it seems to me after what is probably insufficient thought.

But sometimes you really need to just stick with moral categories like creepy instead of making up bogus nonsense like "normalizes violence against women." "Creepy" may not have the doomy, serious ring you'd like it to have, but it has the virtue of being accurate in cases like this... 


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