Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Women's bodies and pieces of meat
Blog of the Week: Screaming in all caps
Soooo ... Hot Dog Legs is a thing that exists, you guys.
In case it hasn't hit your feed, the latest Tumblr making the rounds juxtaposes selfies of tanned, glistening gams culled from Instagram, Pinterest and elsewhere with photos of sweaty (ew) hot dog wieners. Then you, dear reader, get to decipher which is which! Is it a lady!? Is it a frankfurter!? ARE WE REALLY DOING THIS!?
My initial reaction was "Yeah, they kind of look like hotdogs, I guess?" followed by some serious deep-socket eye-rolling, because OH GOOD MORE WOMEN'S BODIES COMPARED TO PIECES OF MEAT.
The more I looked, the more I found the whole thing to be really disturbing. And gross. (I know. Lousy humourless feminist, here to ruin "your new favourite meme" as designated by New York Magazine.)
I'm not the only one feeling weirded out by Hot Dog Legs (because also: it's called HOT DOG LEGS). Rebecca Greenfield over at The Atlantic points out that this Tumblr is "a disturbing outgrowth of the thinspiration and body dysmorphia issues that proliferate on Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram."
After all, what kind of legs are Hot Dog Legs? Very thin, tanned legs with slim thighs that don't widen at the top. (Photos of untanned legs are placed alongside uncooked wieners, natch.)
From The Atlantic:
"In particular, the position, lighting, and summery backgrounds seen in these images make for great "inner thigh gap" shot -- Inner thigh gap, or ITG, is one of the popular tags used along side thinspiration on the Internet -- an absurd beauty standard that defines a space between one's thighs as an indicator of ideal thinness and sex appeal. Indeed, the first image that comes up in a Tumblr search for "inner thigh gap" surfaces a picture that falls into the "hot dog legs" genre, though not exactly the correct format. It is also tagged with '#thinspiration' and '#thinspo.'"
BTW: Were you aware of inner thigh gap porn? WELL, YOU ARE NOW! Thanks Internet!
I'm sure the creators of Hot Dog Legs were just trying to parody a certain kind of selfie. But not unlike hot dog wieners, I think it's worth considering the stuff this Tumblr is made of. Sure, hot dogs are delicious -- but they're also often filled with chemicals. Likewise, this blog might make you laugh, but it's the byproduct (GET IT!?) of an online culture that hurts women. I agree with Greenfield that the provenance of these images is disturbing.
My problem -- BECAUSE I HAVE ONE -- has more to do with the fact I'm really sick and tired of women's-bodies-as-severed-pieces-of-meat being heralded as 'genius' or 'hilarious.' Brilliant? I'm pretty sure this is just a trompe l'oiel that doesn't really work.
SCREAMING IN ALL CAPS looks at popular culture through a feminist lens. We scream about things that piss us off. In all caps. You know, because women are shrill. Follow this blog at screaminginallcaps.com
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 8, 2013 A10
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