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Sep 29 2006

When Eating Disorders Go Digital

hp_shrinker.jpg

A propos of the fat/thin discussion of a couple of days ago, blamer Rebecca sends the following communiqué. If you’re pressed for time, I’ll give you a synopsis: She blames the patriarchy for a consumer electronic woman-shrinker, and closes with a poetical expression of her acute sensitivity to and appreciation for Truth and Beauty (I have helpfully put that part in boldface).
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dear Twisty,

I blame the patriarchy for HP’s newest photography tool: the slimming feature.

From the HP website:

“With the new slimming feature, anyone can appear more slender, instantly! The slimming feature, available on select HP digital camera models, is a subtle effect that can instantly trim off pounds from the subjects in your photos!”

Note that the demo makes it clear that “anyone” = women. Women are the targets for digital slimming, presumably because women of the body sizes found in nature disgust the fat, pasty, balding guys who designed this feature.

Because the women used as models are already slim, dammit, I guess we can file this under “when eating disorders go digital.”

BTW, I have been reading your blog for several months, and it is my favorite. You’re the best. Keep up the good blaming!

40 comments

1 ping

  1. MizShoes

    That is just evil. Great blaming.

  2. Theresac

    Ah yes. The slimming camera. I’ve seen that advertised on TV.

    Funny though (or maybe not) that all the slimmers are female.

    I guess there are no ‘fat’ men in the world who need to be digitally slimmed.

  3. Theresac

    It must be the same camera they used to “slim” Katie Curic;

    [IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v230/nokiddingburlington/couricretouch.jpg[/IMG]

  4. amaz0n

    I can’t remember* a product that instantly creeped me out in such a way as this one. Ugh! How hideous.

    I like how the whole thing is couched in the notion that the problem lies with the camera’s tendency to “add five pounds,” and that this “slimming feature” is just correcting it. Foul!

    *That’s a big lie. The douche aisle gives me the screaming mimis, among another things.

  5. Kenny

    You know when you are an oppressed class when commodified technology is being used against you. Note how the means of (photographic) reproduction are essentially a tool in the exploitation and oppression of women. Walter Benjamin should have been a feminist. Kudos to Rebecca for her alert blaming capabilities.

  6. Friggas Own

    I wonder if you can reverse this feature so you can fatten your pictures. Perfect for weeding out shallow guys on dating services and giving hyper-critical mothers a hissy fit.

  7. Hawise

    This would be a useful tool if I was videoconferencng with my doctor. I could hide that 40 lbs. that he wants me to lose. Of course, I could just eat right and exercise more like he keeps yammering on about, might be better for my future. Other than that, I have no real desire for such a tool or the tools who are marketing it.

  8. langsuyar

    God damn those body types found in nature, they’re so gross! I, personally, am so glad this camera exists and I hope that everyone (and by everyone I mean all the girls) on Myspace get one so I don’t have to look at any more fat bitches while I troll for jailbait to molest. And just think how nice it will be for everyone (and by everyone, I mean women) to look back at their vacation photos and know that they weren’t even in that body at the time! Awesometastic!

    Although, it would be fairly freakish in result to use this on the aforementioned already skinny models. Some wry, artistic social commentary could result. Hmmmm…

  9. flewellyn

    Charming. I suppose next we’ll see digital cameras that remove unsightly wrinkles or skin spots, change hair and eye color, and increase bust size?

  10. Sara

    Wow. I can’t get my really expensive, supposedly designed just for arty professionals HP inkjet printer to print photos in true black and white, not ever, ever, ever, not even when it’s a grayscale image with no color information whatsoever and I’ve selected the grayscale option in the printer’s own dialog box, but now I can get an HP camera that’ll make everyone it shoots look thinner?

    Gee whiz. Over and above the whole reinforcement of endless body issues crap without any emphasis on body function or body health, and yeah, what the hell, these sample image women looked perfectly okay before and perfectly creepy afterward — over and above all that, gee whiz.

    I’m sure it will sell like hotcakes. Hotcakes will probably sell better now, too.

  11. redneckmother

    You know, as often as I’ve said that I’d love it if cameras didn’t flatten and distort images (like, say, me), I’m repulsed by HP’s marketing tactics and by the feature itself — note the way the models’ shoulders narrow on the HP demo site. It’s not just about “losing” that extra ten pounds; it’s about making your subject take up less space and look weaker to boot.

    HP stands for Hail Patriarchy, right?

  12. grrr kitty

    Another item to file away under “Why Are Women So Angry?” I am constantly dumbfounded by people who ask this question with no irony whatsofreakinever with stuff like this lurking around every corner.

  13. sockpuppet

    Well, if you are a woman, you must be working hard all the time to become less.
    —Hattie’s Sockpuppet.

  14. schatze

    Reminds me of the Fun House mirrors I sometimes see in fitting rooms that make me look taller and thinner. Maybe I just want to know how I look without the smoke and mirrors.

  15. t. comfyshoes

    And if you’re /really/ fat, like me, I doubt it will work either. Actually, I would love to see what it would do on an actual fat person. Really narrow face with round cheeks and double chin? Really narrow, but still protuberant pot belly?

    I’ll stay with images of myself without manipulation, thanks.

  16. tamaraster

    What’s really sad is I bet it’ll be mostly women who are interested in this new “feature.” As much as men generally disdain fat women (not that women don’t), I don’t think it’s men who are stressing out that women “look fat” in photographs. This is one of those cases where women are perfectly capable of enforcing the patriarchy on our own selves. (Is that what they mean by “empowerment”?)

  17. mel

    Too bad they don’t have a nifty camera thingie to remove the assholocity factor and/or bullshit in most people (with an example photo of a man, of course, who has his smug, self-satisfied look removed and replaced with a bottom lip-biting habit).

    This is sick. And that they used someone who was already skinny to begin with is even sicker. If we try hard enough, we might disappear! Bully for HP–I can’t wait to get one!

    Friggas Own wins the doorprize for this:

    “I wonder if you can reverse this feature so you can fatten your pictures. Perfect for weeding out shallow guys on dating services and giving hyper-critical mothers a hissy fit.”

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  18. scratchy888

    When I first started my martial arts training, the sensei said my shoulders were not wide enough to effectively do the sport. Recently I caught sight of myself in a mirror and my shoulders are pretty hefty from all of my training. Is there a camera which can widen them even more to my satisfaction? I’m such a minority as no manufacturer apllies itself to my needs.

  19. KMTBERRY

    I like how the whole thing is couched in the notion that the problem lies with the camera’s tendency to “add five pounds,” and that this “slimming feature” is just correcting it. Foul!

    No kidding! THe camera adds TWENTY pounds.

  20. antelope

    Personally, I think it’ll be bought by hubbies more than directly by women. Hubbies who are tired of listening to their wives go, “Ugh, why did you take that picture? That picture makes me look so fat!”

    Guys like my Dad, who pick their wives for having all the obvious outward signs of being a complete tool of the patriarchy, then spend their 50s, 60s and onwards wondering why on earth she’s becoming so whiny & insecure as she loses her looks. (Her patriarchy-approved looks that is, though she might be gorgeous in that way older women have that some of us can see.)

  21. witchy-woo

    You know, I love this blog.

    Not just for the witty insights and linguistic gymnastics of our host (whom I love like my sister, incidentally) but the comments! The comments here are sublime.

    A camera designed to make women more narrow. Now there’s a thing. Next thing you know they’ll have ‘developed’ it into video and cinematography and the (male) breakfast tv host will be joshing with a matchstick on the sofa and the hero of the next blockbuster will be snogging what looks like a couple of nipples and a pair of high heels.

    I wonder if they’ll deploy this photographic phenomenon in the world of CCTV? There’s something to be said for invisibility when you’re into subterfuge.

  22. Ron Sullivan

    The other day I was in Walgreen’s and saw this T-shirt on display. BIG Tshirt, with a cartoon woman’s torso on it where the wearer’s torso wouold be under it. Torso pink with huge boobs and teeny waist and round hips and a crocheted string bikini on. I wondered who would wear it, and what ~Fashion Statement~ they’d be making. I mean, if it were a guy, OK, ha-ha, but otherwise, WTF?

    So now I’m thinking maybe I missed the bulletin on this, we’re supposed to walk around with our slenderizified HP photos hanging in front of us? Like: Here, no, this is what I look like on a good day, after my Weight-Off course is finished, next year in Jerusalaslim?

    Maybe another such photo on the back of us, just for the ass men.

    Send the photos and the pre-occupied bras out in the morning and we can just phone the rest of our lives in. Pass the bonbons, honey.

  23. Phemisaurus Terribilis

    Twisty,

    We’ve slimmed IBTP’s odd lady and trust you will be pleased with the results.

  24. femhist

    The really weird thing about it is that it DOESN’T “slim;” it narrows. Those are totally different things. It’s awful regardless, of course, but don’t they think people will notice that? It just makes the (as many have noted, already-slim) woman look narrower, not skinnier. Maybe she was in profile when the picture was taken it would work, but I doubt it. Stupid all around. (Even if it worked as advertised, I’d be disgusted, natch, but it doesn’t seem to do even that!)

  25. DaeM

    The sad thing about this is that it’s another sign that people assume all women would love to be thin. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, they’re right. But whose fault is that? Could it be that the people who perpetuate the stereotype that all women obsess about their weight are part of the problem, rather than the solution?

    Lately, I’ve made a habit of passing time in the checkout line at the grocery store by looking at the covers of the women’s magazines, particularly fitness and health related ones. They all inevitably have a large number of headlines proclaiming foods that supposedly burn fat, new ways to tone your tummy and ways to get your body bikini ready or back in shape after the holidays (depending on the season). I’d say I’m fitness and health conscious. I know I’m overweight, and I’m trying to make a point to eat a healthy diet and exercise because I want to live a long, healthy life and feel good. I also want to be in shape for martial arts, which I’ve recently started. If my tummy gets smaller in the process, fine. If I reach a weight that I feel is more appealing on me, fine. But if I was told by a doctor tomorrow that my appearance would never change no matter how many minutes I spend exercising every day, I wouldn’t stop exercising, because my primary goal isn’t my appearance.

    However, there just isn’t that much support out there for women who are more concerned about their health and strength than how they look or how much they weigh. This camera is a great example of that. Having your pictures make you look narrower won’t make you actually thinner, and it certainly won’t make you a healthy weight (hell, that model in the picture looks like she was a healthy weight before she was digitally squished).

  26. Luckynkl

    Can this camera take a picture and make you look like someone else? Like Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider?

  27. Hawise

    Luckynkl- that is what photoshop is for, to let you shop around for the body parts that nature forgot to give you.
    I agree with antelope- this camera is for dealing with guys like my husband who is in love with his wide angle lens and never changes lenses before taking pictures of me sitting down to eat.

  28. Cass

    So, if you keep your finger down on the button does the subject’s image eventually shrink into nothingness? And is this better or worse than a properly thin woman, according to the Patriarchy?

  29. CafeSiren

    If I reach a weight that I feel is more appealing on me, fine. But if I was told by a doctor tomorrow that my appearance would never change no matter how many minutes I spend exercising every day, I wouldn’t stop exercising, because my primary goal isn’t my appearance.

    Hooray!

    I have never possessed a patriarchy-approved body, but finally, well into my 30′s, I realize that I’m healthy, and the way I look makes sense for me, and any man who would only notice me if I lost 20 pounds isn’t worth my notice.

    My only regret is that it took me so long to stop confusing the patriarchy’s aspirations with my own. Now, if only we could get through to the approximately 120,000,000 women and girls out there who still struggle with this crap.

    FUCK HP!

  30. buttonwillow

    I’m so tired of : “Thanks for your great blaming! Even though I don’t think the way your blamed person does. If only everyone were more like me. Why, just the other day I was at such and such a place and this thing happened. And my dad said something really sexist on Tuesday. I just don’t get it. And women! They are the worst sometimes! Besides, no matter what, we can’t avoid oppression, it is just EVERYWHERE. Anyway, you kick ass.”

    So I’m not going to read the comments anymore.

    My message: STOP PARTICIPATING IN ALL OPPRESSION. STOP SUPPORTING IT. STOP WASTING SO MUCH TIME ON IT. Distance yourself from everything you possibly can that perpetuates it (yes, that means television, advertising, and labels) and be an example through your LIFE, not through your comments on someone else’s blog. Do the best you can to refuse to participate in oppression.

    Bye.

  31. buttonwillow

    please delete that last post. i’m just in a really bad mood.

  32. justtesting

    if only we could get through to the approximately 120,000,000 women and girls out there who still struggle with this crap.

    or approximately 3 billion maybe ?

  33. Ephiny

    I hate the implicit suggestion that the woman in the picture *needed* to be ‘slimmed’. What exactly was wrong with the way she looked in the original photo? She looks a perfectly normal size, in fact rather slimmer than average if anything.

  34. Edith

    Twisty, I still love you and all, but really, Phemisaurus … you are my e-crush.

  35. sockpuppet

    Women who diet at my age end up looking like dessicated chickens. I’d rather be a plump and juicy bird myself.

  36. Kristina

    I watched the demo on the HP website, and it does look like you can make yourself wider as well as narrower: when the demo shows you the slimming effect option on the camera, there’s plus and minus bar to the side of the picture where the photographer can “adjust” the width of the victim- that is, the subject. Truly, you can be narrowed into nothingness, or widened to fill the room.

  37. Mar Iguana

    So, if you keep your finger down on the button does the subject’s image eventually shrink into nothingness? And is this better or worse than a properly thin woman, according to the Patriarchy?

    Worse. Just yet. They haven’t quite worked out a couple little kinks yet so they’re not ready to get rid of us entirely. Little snags such as gestation, even though doctors say they can make the boys into women, they haven’t figured out how to make a womb. But, I just know they’re working on it.

  38. maggiethewolf

    I don’t wear push-up bras (or bras) because I never want to be accused of false advertising. Same with this digital thinning device. I’d send someone a thin pic and show up fat and how would I explain that?

  39. Buttercup

    Ron Sullivan, I know a guy who has one of those shirts, and he wears it quite frequently. He also has one of a muscular male physique. equal opportunity objectifying, yanno.

  40. Pony

    Maggie thanks for that. Now I have to slurp coffee outta my keyboard.

  1. Does This Blog Make Me Look Fat? at I Blame The Patriarchy

    [...] Blamer Phemisaurus gets the picture. [...]

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