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Monday, October 19, 2009

More Cute Overload FAIL

TRIGGER WARNING

Some of you may have read my previous fail post regarding Cute Overload.  Well, I have some bad news.  Thanks to an anonymous commenter I have learned of another epic fail on the cute site.  There's a picture of a kangaroo (or wallaby, I'm not sure), in a post titled "The New Slave Girl, She Intrigues Me."  The caption reads:

Something in her eyes — there is a fierceness to them, a smoldering, unquenchable fire that has consumed many a lesser man.  It shall amuse me to break her spirit.  Have her bathed and brought to my tent at midnight.
Wow.  Just.  Wait, let me pull it together here.

Are you fucking kidding me?  It's a picture of a kangaroo and you're going to caption it with something incredibly racist and triggering??  Oh, that's so witty and clever of you to refer to the systemic rape of WOC (could be specifically black women, given the history of systemic rape and violence of black women in the US, but it could be referencing some romanticized idea of slave women--I don't really need to know.  It's fucked up either way).

Seriously.  What the hell Cute Overload?  I don't need racism and rape references with my pictures of cute things, especially since you've embraced the notion that cute = happy.

But, just so we're clear:  THIS IS NOT HAPPY AND IT'S NOT OKAY.

Apparently the comments section has been closed, but the post is still up.  I encourage you all to write and give the mods a piece of your mind: general@cutelabs.com.

**UPDATE**  The name of the post has been edited.  "Slave" has been omitted.  The caption remains unchanged.  Even without the word "slave" the caption is still triggeringly creepy and disgusting.  So is this subtle change supposed to fix everything?  Short answer: no.

**UPDATE**  The post has now been removed.  The above link will take you to an error page.  I'm hoping they'll own up to this post and apologize, rather than just pretend it never happened, but I'm not holding my breath.

**UPDATE** They didn't own up to the post.  Instead they decided to ridicule their readers.  With this sort of response, it makes me wonder why they took down the original post in the first place.  I mean, obviously they don't care if they're offending anyone. 

17 comments:

Emily said...

I agree. I read this on my phone this morning and it bugged me all afternoon. I love cute animal pics, so find this site kind of addictive, but this one really turned my stomach. I do hope they can learn from the people annoyed by this and do better from now on!

Intransigentia said...

What is up with them lately? Is offending uppity women who think they're human suddenly rule #70 of cuteness? what the hell?

FilthyGrandeur said...

Intransigentia--

who knows, but i'm really getting sick of it. it's a cute site--is it really necessary to offend readers? make a comment on how cute something is, and move on. geez...

i'm waiting for someone to tell me i'm looking too much into it. i'm ready.

Nancy said...

This is why I've given up my cuteoverload habit and now frequent Slode From Cute on LJ.

Jade said...

Does anyone have a snapshot of the comments before they were taken down? I was reading them before I left for work, and wasn't able to look on again until about 10 minutes ago. The last I looked, a person was ranting something about how much the "nuffers" (ugh) bugged him/her, which was why they went out of their way to be unpleasant. I'm curious as to what happened afterward.

Intransigentia said...

Well, now they have a post up where they mock anybody who had concerns about the rapist kangaroo. I really think I'm done with them. I've been reading them since about two days after they first came online, but I've finally had enough.

FilthyGrandeur said...

ugh. i'm so sick of this shit. and no word from the creator of Cute Overload, who is in fact a woman. i left an angry comment on their passive aggressive thread. i expect the lions will pounce any minute now. http://cuteoverload.com/2009/10/20/even-this-url-is-an-outrage-well-i-never-grumble-grumble/#comment-386344

jennyknopinski said...

It just enrages me that people who are offended are accused of not having a sense of humor or being hypersensitive. It was a joke about a slave-owner raping a slave. It's like beating someone over the head with a sledge hammer and then saying, What? I thought it was funny! You're so over-sensitive.

FilthyGrandeur said...

i know. i can't tell you how many times i've been called over sensitive--it's just a silencing technique that people who don't want to own up to their actions use. i hate it.

i have sent an email directly to Meg. We'll see if there's any response...

Theo said...

"Troll comments that violate my comments policy will not be published. Comments have to be approved before they appear here, so please be patient with me."

Sounds like a reasonable policy to me.

FilthyGrandeur said...

it is. i don't have to give voice to hate speech in my space. i don't know what sort of ship you're running over at Cute Overload, but that shit doesn't fly here.

stufflikemikans said...

What a sad world we live in where even pictures of cute animals have to include sexism/racism captions. This is really depressing.

Oh well...there's always ICanHasCheeseBurger

FilthyGrandeur said...

so true. ICan is funnier anyway.

Black in Alberta said...

Yes the pic is offensive but not specific to women of colour, though that is the image that comes to mind.

When the term slave comes up soem people almost automatically picture a black person. So I understand considering history the and assumptions a lot of us make that it can be seen as racist and I'm not saying that it isn't. And considering the almost automatic assumption the website should have been more sensitive to that. But we have to take a look at our own understandings of history.

It could be a woman of any race. No one specifically said black but I'm sure that is what many were thinking.

Tents and slave girls has strong implications of "orientalism", I hate that word.

It could represent the Huns.

It could also be used in a situation of European war times where conquered European women were essentially slave toys.

There have been many names for it throughout history but slavery is not exclusive to POC. Pions, serfs etc. people will explain how it was different than slavery but the underlying things were the same, exploitation by forced, basically unescapable labour, with few rights.



But yes it implies rape and degregation of women not specifically to WOC. It's just something I think we have to keep in mind with our own self perceptions.

I'm not sure if I expressed myself clearly. Does anyone kind of understand or agree with what I'm trying to get at?

FilthyGrandeur said...

@Black in Alberta--

i totally understand what you're saying. and thank you for saying it. i think, given our country's history, the image of black slavery was first in my mind. the second image was actually of a white slave. it made me think of the novel Biting the Sun, where the main character who is white dreamed up a scenario where she was a member of a tribe which was enslaved, and she fell in love with her master. i also thought of the practice of raping conquered people (including captured male soldiers--especially in Roman society). so in some way white slavery did enter my mind. but i can't speak for everyone else. slavery certainly isn't exclusive to POC. that it was the first example in my mind when reading the post in question certainly illustrates how i am very much a product of our race focused society.

so thanks for pointing out that this encompasses more than we may perceive at first glance.

illegaljesus said...

I'm a little late to the game, sorry. I love this post and the one on intent.

Anyway, aside from the implied slave-owner-rapes-slave image, what about sex trafficking in general? Last time I checked, it wasn't really something people found cute. Blargh.

FilthyGrandeur said...

excellent point, illegaljesus. i hadn't thought about sex trafficking, but yes that also applies here. and no, decidedly not cute.