Truly horrific hash tag trends on Twitter are nothing new. They seem to pop up almost every day, and, since I’ve been on Twitter for several years now, you’d think I’d be accustomed to them.
I guess not.
The #1 trending topic in the Minneapolis area right now is the tag #femalesouthereshapedlike, or, if you have trouble reading long strings of words all smushed together, “females out here shaped like”.
If you click on the tag, which I don’t recommend, you’ll see that some of the top tweets include a picture of the (headless) naked torso of a woman juxtaposed with the face of Homer Simpson. Her breasts and belly line up with his eyes and mouth, and I suppose the viewer is supposed to laugh or snort in astonished surprise that, oh my god, this chick is so ugly! She looks like Homer Simpson! And it’s not even her face!
I don’t know who this faceless woman is, or how her picture ended up on Twitter. Maybe she’s even the one who started the meme. I doubt it, but this is the internet, and it’s always a possibility. Nevertheless, I can’t help but see this as just one more manifestation of our culture’s compulsive tendency to fat-shame, slut-shame, and yes, if I may phrase it like this for continuity, woman-shame.
But wait! It gets better!
If you read further down, you’ll find an addendum to the meme:
#femalesouthereshapedlike…[insert object of choice]
It’s as if someone was sitting alone in their house one day pondering feminist theory and suddenly thought to themselves, “The objectification of women/men/bodies is a serious cultural issue. HOW CAN I EXPLOIT THIS FOR LULZ?” And then they decided to randomly start comparing women’s bodies to various household items.
Don’t believe me?
How a woman could be shaped like anything other than a woman is beyond me. Graham crackers? Half-squeezed toothpaste? The glass Coke bottle thing I can understand, since that has an actual historical basis, but that’s about the only thing that makes sense to me. And it’s still objectifying.
For anyone who would accuse me of taking lighthearted joking too seriously, I’m going to end by pointing out that this is not ironic, underhanded, subversive snark aimed at increasing awareness of the many ways in which women are told that their bodies are always up for public consumption and judgement. There are not “just a few” people who participate in this kind of thing. This is not harmless. Most of the objects named are derogatory: freezers (“short and wide”), a “garbage bag full of bricks”, dill pickles…you name it. It’s fucking weird.
And it’s sexism.
(116 new tweets using that hash tag in the ten minutes it took me to write that. No, really.)