Oh hello dear Ravishers!
Here at our office in Oakland -- in the hot little train-laden heart of Jack London Square -- us editors spend a good deal of time sourcing photos on Thinkstock. And every day, one of us -- Nikki, Kelley, or I -- bursts into horrified peals of incredulous laughter at the results some of our searches yield. We bury our faces in our hands. We slam our foreheads on our keyboards. We slap the other ones who are trying to concentrate and demand they stare at our screen. (Yes, we're the office pariahs. We're entirely too loud and over-caffeinated. Not to mention so vagina-blabbing, sex-steeped, and over-sharing, it'd make Howard Stern balk and blush.)
To give you a sweet-and-sour taste -- like the cheapest, shittiest Chinese food you've ever tasted -- of life in the trenches of Thinkstock, I've gone ahead and rounded up some of our favorite search terms, side by gender side. While Getty and Sheryl Sandberg have been promising to fundamentally alter the way working women are depicted... I can't say I've witnessed too much progress myself. It's still a beautifully reductive binary out there in the Elysian fields of stock photos.
And thank God. Because there isn't too much to laugh about these days.
Women and Guns (7,645 results)
I don't know about you, but my experience with guns is mostly like the top left photo. Because I find guns very very phallic and very very intimidating, I use cheeky ironic gestures to re-appropriate the power struggle. And I feel, like, super cute when I do it.
All that being said, these other scenarios are very familiar as well, and incredibly useful in illustrating many of my points when my lady tongue or fragile fingers aren't capable of doing so. Like before I rob banks in my bikini (top right), I like my biker boyfriend to snag a quick selfie of me dangling my revolver. I also like feeling the motorcycle's vibrations through my one-inch damp triangle of fabric; it's arousing and helps banish my fear of road rash and a pending quadriplegic state when my drunk boyfriend inevitably crashes and I'm horribly disfigured.
Lastly, when I'm in the midst of fighting for my country (bottom left) or getting ready for my man to come ravish me (bottom right), I like to slip into something more comfortable -- fatigues, pink lace, dog tags, stilettos that can puncture my new sofa, a g-string -- and aim a semi-automatic at my face/the ceiling. This creates fear in the enemy/arousal for my lover.
Men and Guns (14,525 results)
As you can see, the results are a little less naked here. But don't worry, you still get some damaging stereotypes. So as not to be so doom and gloom I did include a really charming shot of a father teaching his daughter how to shoot innocent animals among the fall foliage. And because, golden retrievers.
Curious if I could elicit the same steel-clad nudity with a different round of search terms (maybe I just wasn't using my commas right?), I thought I'd try...
Men, Bathing Suit, Guns...
... but I got 40 results that looked like this:
This is a really nice series -- realistic, egalitarian. And in fact, I often enter the war zone mostly naked in ill-fitting, ankle-snapping shoes while my foolish male brethren don hearty boots and helmets. Women don't need clothes to survive battle or hunt for bodies among the rubble. That's the kind of misogynistic infantilization that really grinds our gears.
To get the goods I was after I had to add...
Men, Shirt Off, Guns
But strangely, I only got 30 results...
... and they're all wearing pants! I mean, two of my almost-naked options include an utterly repulsive, mostly bald, totally normal looking bearded man -- trying to commit suicide! I think we can all agree that's not sexy.
Women, Fishing (1,621 results)
Ahhhh, nothing like the great outdoors. When I'm ready to get all Moby Dick on your ass and hunt the big white whale, there's a certain stance I like to take in my waders. A spread-eagle one. Otherwise, all that rubber chafes my thighs. Hahaha, just kidding. Women don't fish! We pose with our boyfriends' huge catch of the day, heaving cleavage or wear a fur stole as we whisper, "Whose your naughty little savage?" Conversely we like to cut the circulation off to our genitals with our short-shorts, or just slam a stick onto the surface of the water if a fish comes too close. Because, gross, fish.
Men, Fishing (8,969 results)
We don't get it or like it, but we hear that true men like the smell of trees and solitude or some such nonsense, whereas, to reiterate, women don't fish. After all, fishing involves sportswear, like vests and jaunty hats, and sometimes happens in places that aren't 85 degrees and sunny. And, um, even if we bend over, ass-high and grinning, those snow pants aren't doing us any favors amiright? Also, a woman teaching her son to fish is confusing so I'm happy to see the proper protocol illustrated here.
Women Watching Sports (4,050 results)
Ya know, I am really sick and tired of all the sexist shit going around about how women don't watch or understand sports. As shown above, we will stare blankly at the television, morose and confused but doggedly determined to say something about "the big game" for our date tonight. We will also Hulu scenes from sitcoms where families are playing soccer, because we've got baby fever and boy is it aching right now!
We will also get wasted, lose motor skills, and toss popcorn into the air and/or the gaping hole in our face, take ecstasy, don kneesocks, and press a soccer ball against our genitals. "Watching sports" also includes admiring ourselves at the gym. When you only eat one granola bar a day and your fingernails are three inches long, it's hard to, like, swing a bat, throw a ball, run, skip, hop, or play without scratching something and drawing blood. It's best to stick to mirrors and smirks. Oh! And here's a dirty little secret, fella. Sometimes we will feign liking sports just so we can sit on the sofa and initiate foreplay with a head rub.
Men Watching Sports (4,893)
So. First an apology. Most of the time when men watch sports, it involves a lot of women sighing in their ear, pointing at their watches, and twirling their ponytail in loosely veiled contempt. When that isn't happening, men enjoy a lot of fist-pumping, bonding with children in tiny helmets, and matching their headpiece to their shirt and wall hanging.
Women have trouble clenching their fingers tight enough for a fist pump (unless it's around a you-know-what) and a three-part matching situation is a liiiiitle too close to a Canadian tuxedo thank you very much. We prefer galoshes and denim camel-toes, remember? Oh! Also, men watching sports is a really nice way to explore latent homosexuality in that sickly blue light burning from the television.