Friday, August 30, 2013

Cute Sexy Blond She-Ra Amazon Fighter Girl Babe

That's the name of an auction listing. Actually the full listing title is "CUTE SEXY BLOND SHE-RA AMAZON FIGHTER GIRL BABE Action Figurine Figure Statue" -- because, ya gotta get all your keywords in there. Fine, whatever... but what I really found annoying was the photo he chose as the main one for the listing, the one you see in your list of search results:

I removed the seller's username and location because I don't think he needs any more attention.
It's a butt-shot. Of an action figure. /facepalm

Now, I could almost tell myself that he was doing this to show the Mattel mark on her back, except when I look at his other listings, and then narrow those using his keyword of "sexy" within the action figure listings, my search results look like this:

157 listings that are "sexy" *sigh* -- and that's just the action figures I don't think it has anything to do with She-Ra's maker's mark. Scrolling down the first page of the results, there's even this tasteful photo:

The photos for this item are especially obnoxious...
A crotch-shot. /headdesk

Now I know some people are going to say I'm being too sensitive. That these are plastic toys and therefore I can't be offended by how he chooses to photograph his items for sale. And besides, he calls some of the male figures "beefcake" so there's equal sexualization:

40 results for beefcake and not one single butt-shot
Lots and lots of people have argued about the false equivalence inherent in the "males are objectified, too" argument. David Willis' Shortpacked! webcomic illustrates the point well. We could discuss the concept of the "male gaze" in various media from comics to movies to video games. But what it boils down to for me is this: he is selling a whole lot of action figures, and taking many product photos (which is a good thing for a buyer), but the ones he uses for the main photos that show up in the search list are really porny. In fact, a lot of the shots he takes of the female figures resemble a Penthouse photo shoot. The fact that he's taking so many shots of the female figures, and far less of the male figures (3-4 for the males, 6+ of the females) tells me that he knows very well that "sex sells."

The seller has a high feedback rating, and many sales. He puts time and effort into the listings; some even have that annoying automatic MIDI music in the background. The photographs are good, in-focus and clear (some have unfortunate shadows, but overall they're far better than most product shots on ebay). He hasn't broken any rules that I have seen. The listing titles are a little spammy, but there's nothing really wrong with any of the listings I looked at. I think his pricing is a little out of line for loose figures, but that's not against any rules, either. 

So if he's not doing anything wrong with the listings, and has better-than-average photos for those listings, what the hell is my problem? What makes it problematic (for me) is the focus on body parts and "hotness." Boob shots, and lots of 'em. Butt shots, likewise. Even Aunt May gets the sexist treatment: "SPIDER-MAN'S SEXY OCTOGENARIAN AUNT MAY HOT BABE CHICK GIRL Statue Action Figure." (No, really, that's what it says.) It's the overall tone of objectification (which, when you think about it is pretty impressive: he has objectified an object even more than it already was!) that rubs me the wrong way. Will I report him? Of course not! Walking the line of what is "good taste" is a completely subjective point of view. Will I give him any of my money? Nope! (Although it hasn't escaped me that by giving him any attention at all might generate more sales for him.)

What do you think? Porny, or just attention-grabbing? After all, it got mine!

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