Monday, July 30, 2007

Har har

You know what's hilarious? Violence against women!


BoingBoing calls it absurd, (as Shakespeare's Sister might have predicted), but I'm going with offensive, personally.

UPDATE: A commenter "Gerdien" who claims to have been part of the ad campaign (and I'm happy to believe her, though a commenter leaving only her first name has only so much credibility) says this about the ad campaign:

Hi Sara,

I want to react because I'am one of the people responsible for the jealouscomputers campaign. Being a woman myself I don't think violence against women is something hilarious! I'am fiercly against it! In fact the picture with the keyboard marks is made by three women. A female photographer (Margi Geerlinks), the model Nadia and me (Gerdien). Because of the absurdity we didn't feel the link with abuse. I hope you understand and I feel sorry that we offended you.

With kind regards,

Gerdien

My response:
Gerdien, thanks so much for commenting. I've been thinking of how to better articulate what bothers me, because I've seen similar spoofs on PSAs that haven't bothered me. I think the central thing that doesn't work about this is that given how ineffective awareness-raising campaigns about domestic violence actually are at combating it*, it comes off as making fun of the campaigns. To a world that wants to ignore domestic violence, the ads can be read as saying that violently jealous computers are equally dangerous and hilarious as violently jealous partners. Spoofing over-the-top and dishonest PSAs about drugs would make more sense, because smoking pot once doesn't actually make you into a raving lunatic. A mock local news report about a crime wave makes more sense because local news is notorious for sensationalizing that sort of thing. Your joke, though, just falls flat in the face of how unfunny it is that domestic violence continues to be a problem.

*Not that I expect PSAs to be especially effective at changing deep-seated problems in society.
Anyone else looking to add something in the comments is welcome, but I'd like to explicitly request that the comments remain respectful and civil. I appreciate and accept Gerdien's apology even as I maintain my objection to the ads, and am thrilled that my adventures in humorless feminism might actually get me somewhere other than frustrated.

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