Ah, the internet. There's just nothing quite like it for stirring up controversy out of nothing. Just today, I was thinking I'd like to change my iGoogle homepage theme. I did a theme search for 'Moscow,' hoping to get a nice picture of St. Basil's or something else equally generically Russian.
What I found was a theme promising panoramic views of Moscow that alternated with time. The picture the designer chose to represent the theme was this one:
And below it, where users could write in comments to the designer, was a mini-firestorm about one thing. Or perhaps I should say one person. She's the one I've circled in red, below (this is as big as I could get the images to go on my blog, sorry):
Here is a sampling of the comments people wrote in as they got themselves all worked up about an iGoogle theme, of all things.
"Exceptionally boring but...a nice idea. Just poorly executed, particularly having to look at an unfortunately rotund woman dead center. Not a good thing."
"'unfortunately rotund woman'? First of all she's of "average" size. If you want Baywatch, then make your own."
"haha. You've gotta be kidding me- If that's "average" size then I hate to see your definition of a fatso."
"i agree, the woman is average size... realistic and beautiful in her own right! delightful theme!"
"womyn rock - no matter the size. remember size and perception of size is socially constructed. If you want to really get the low down on the crap we perpetuate about womyn then read 'Beauty and Mysogyny' by Sheila Jeffreys. And while you are at it try and do something about the slave trade that is run in the main by men."
"It's spelled "women"..."
[This one is my favorite comment.] "her size is okay it doesn't matter the size she will always b pretty in someones eyes nice theme"
"fat womyn rock! nonfat womyn rock! everyone rocks!"
"nice, alexisgambles is right she'll be pretty in someones eyes"
"ewww sick :P"
"why the fat woman? who would want a fat woman greeting on there interenet access that they have to use every morning?..............not me!!!"
"Love it! This is what Moscow looks like and I am glad to use this panorama. I recognize all locations and I don't mind the fat lady one bit. Real life is quirky and a fat lady or two never hurt anybody. Great design! Keep it up! How about more Moscow or Russia panoramas?"
"interesting...i think she's kinda refreshing...and the fact that there is so much emphasis on her and not the fact that people are laying around, packed together like sardines kind of makes me sad...be fat sister, be fat"
"this is such a great theme- amazing "discussion" about the woman in her bathers located at centre of the theme. Looks like we need a rubenesque revolution."
"Life is real - not models from tv/movies! I would like to request a 360 cities of Vienna, Austria - my favorite city in Europe. Thanks"
"I see fat women...and I see another fat women rubbing her eye on the left there....hope shes ok...."
"With regards to the curvy woman, There's more than just that unfortunate photo. Moscow is gorgeous. This theme is great."
I hope you enjoyed reading those as much as I did. I think I'll choose a different theme after all.