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August 31, 2010

Google Images strikes again

Searching for a photo of a crisp, professional woman for this blog post, I used Google Images. I wanted to type "woman in a suit" or "woman professional" something like that, but I stopped after the first word. Here's what Google offered instead: I tried "women" next. Here were the results:

I am stifling laughter as I type this. Imagine the perseverance, the desperation and the boolean ingenuity of a horde of horny guys who refined their searches over months, if not years, to create the most relevant and rapid results possible: "women WITH NO CLOTHES ON AT ALL." Not even a thong or pasties, please -- we'll take our bitches totally naked or not at all. And please, WITHOUT BRA AND UNDERWEAR. Do you think I have time for foreplay? Show me the goods already.

Laughter masking tears, of course, since this glimpse into our nation's collective desires yields one more explanation for the persistence of the wage gap, and the circumstances that made Walmart's corporate culture possible, and so many other disgusting disparities in our society.

In the spirit of Sociological Images, one of my favorite blogs out there (for its astute, eye opening and amusing insights into the received images few bother to question), I searched Google Images for "man" and "men," next. Here you go:

Even searches for these words lead to desirable young women.

Sure, sexual gratification is, I presume, the internet's primary purpose. And more far people are searching for images of naked women than women in suits. And far more men than women are searching for women in any state of dress. Hence these results.

But what about a cross-cultural, rather than a cross-gender, comparison? I've been traveling, and so I became curious what people (albeit English speaking people) in other countries search for when they start typing the word "woman." These results are very different from what you get when you type the word "woman" in the target language, and so these lists are far from a substantive or reflective glimpse into those nations' querying minds. (As if Google searches ever really offered that, but that's another matter). Instead, what I collected is playful assortment of spinoffs from the word "woman" -- ranging from sexual fantasies to computer games to the strictly bizarre (see the final item on the final sample).

What's common is predictable, and what's different is at times interesting... or is it the other way around? What do you think?



Hong Kong (I tried for China, but I was redirected to Hong Kong):


United Arab Emirates:

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