Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Harmless joke or feeding a vicious stereotype?

After being called on having a "control a woman" remote for sale a Melbourne bookstore had to defend itself for offering such a product.
Katie Robertson told ABC Radio she was "troubled" by the toy, "mainly because it encourages a stereotype of women as submissive, who are to be controlled".

"There are certain buttons on there. For example, the male may decide that he wants beer, sex or food," she said.
Quite true that such a remote does encourage the stereotype of the submissive woman that is at her man's beck and call. And equally disgusting is that according to Borders spokeswoman Lauren Thompson there is also a "control a man" remote as well, which has sold out.

Let's take a look at these remotes. The "control a man" on the "control a woman" on the right:


As you can see both remotes are attempting to get laughs by feeding off of the stereotypes associated with being a man and being a woman. In the true sense of the word control both remotes are themed around making one's partner do or provide whatever they want at that moment. Want her naked right then? Press a button. Want him to propose to you? Press a button. Nevermind that she may not want to take her clothes off and nevermind that he may have decided he is not ready for that level of commitment (and according to this "joke" its funny that they are not up for those things).

It would seem that the answer to this question is obvious.

Edit:I have to say that while not surprising it is a bit odd and sad that a feminist would see this not just not see how its offensive to men but conclude that these remotes are not offensive to men. So much for equality for all right?
It definitely wasn't "Ah we make these two products to equally poke fun at both sexes, so it's all fair." No, men are completely off the hook here. (Oh, and OF COURSE this is totally heteronormative too.) (emphasis by me)
These remotes are offensive to both genders (and by that I mean that each remote is offensive to both) and anyone that can't see that needs to reexamine some of their conclusions about gender.

Edit 2: Now its official. When it comes to these remotes women actually have it worse.

Fucking great.