Home > Hyperbolic Adventures > 8=5+5=10 and I Love Your Boobs!

8=5+5=10 and I Love Your Boobs!

10/24/2009

I love your boobs.
The boobs in this sentence have been objectified.

This is not feminism. This is language. It’s about people, and parts of people, being used as the object in a sentence. It can be done correctly or incorrectly. Correct usage gives us understandable results. Incorrect usage gives us a recipe for disaster. How many times have you had something similiar to this conversation: 

“I love your boobs”
“Yuck, you just objectified my boobs”
“No I didn’t”
“Yes you did”
“I love all of you, not just your boobs”
“Yeah, but you said you loved my boobs”
“But you know what I really meant”
“Yes, which is why I’m telling you that your language wasn’t expressing what you meant.”
“Can’t you give me a break with this crap?”
“Why do you think it’s crap”
“Because you know what I meant anyway”
“What you meant isn’t the point, the point is what you actually said, you don’t see the difference?”
No, not really, and even if there is a difference, it’s so small it doesn’t really matter.”
“It does matter”
“It only matters to you, I don’t see the problem”
“I’m trying to explain the problem”
“Well if you are really so sure there is a problem, how come you have all this trouble explaining what the problem is?”
“I told you – you objectified my boobs.”
“How, exactly, did I do that?”
“You said “I love your boobs” —- the “i” is subject the “love” is the verb, and boobs is the object. That’s objectifying. Cause the boobs are the object.”
“Well, I guess if you insist on studying the details, looking for something to be upset about, you’ll always find it”
“It’s not the details, it’s what they add up to. They add up to objectification of my boobs,”
“See, there’s the problem, you say the meaning of the words equals objectification of your boobs – do you see now how ridiculous that sounds?”
“No. the meaning of the words DOES equal objectification of my boobs.”
“But I told you that wasn’t how I meant it!”
“It doesn’t matter what you meant! Words mean stuff! What words mean is what matters”
“OMG, That’s basically what I JUST SAID! “What words mean is what matters!” And I told you what I meant, and then you say that it doesn’t matter!”
“I really can’t believe you don’t understand what I’m telling you.”
“NO! You are the one who won’t believe me when I tell you what I meant!”
“OMG. You’re a smart person! You should be able to understand this! I know you understand this! Why are you pretending to not understand this!”
“I’m not pretending! You make it sound like I’m trying to piss you off on purpose.”
“Maybe pretend wasn’t the right word… But I’m saying that the meaning of what you said, is not actually the correct meaning, doesn’t matter that you insist it means what you meant, It means what it means!
“Wow, you sound like a lunatic. I think you are trying to make a big deal out of nothing because you think women get to decide what words mean”
“I think I want a divorce, you are ignoring what I’m telling you, even though it’s true, you won’t even consider that YOU might be wrong and you just do not respect how language works. That is not cool,”
“What?! You want to divorce over something so stupid?”
“IT’S NOT STUPID! You’re completely irrational, you make up language rules in your head and expect people to use your made up rules, meanwhile it feels like my heart is breaking and we’re not even fighting about if what you said was right or wrong, but fighting over whether or not it’s ok if we make up what the meaning of the sentence is. You want to make up the meaning and expect that I will accept and understand you love “all of me” when you actually said that you “love my boobs”. And I’m just tired of this argument we’ve been having it every few months for 10 years!”.
“Again. I don’t see how the difference of where the words are matters as long as I make sure to tell you what I meant. And I’m not “making” anything up. You’re the one inventing rules willy nilly. And you’re calling me irrational? Whatever. I’m done talking about this. Wanna fool around?”

  

And how often do you have this one?:

“5 + 5 = 8”
“No, it’s ten”
“No it’s 8: there’s a 5 and another 5 and that’s 8, see?”
“Ummm. No. five and five is 10”
“Well either way it’ll work: 5 and 5 is 8, or 5 and 5 is 10”
“Wait. What? … Ok so how many is five?”
“Five”
“And another five?”
“8”
“Count on your fingers.”
“You’re implying I can’t do math?”
“Argh, five and five is 10, what are you adding this stuff for anyway?”
“Paying the bills”
“Oh shit, no 5 and 5 is 10”
“Well, isn’t it close enough?”
“No, it’s not, it’s totally different and we’ll end up with a penalty if we don’t get it right”
“Why? What’s the big deal, it’s the same amount if you ask me”
“Let me do the bills”
“No, I’ve already started”
“Then you have to understand that 5 and 5 is 10, if you won’t admit that 5 and 5 is 10, you can’t do the bills.”
“Admit? I haven’t done anything I have to admit. You make it sound like I’m purposely trying to get a late charge”
“Maybe admit was the wrong word, sorry. But I’m saying 8 is the wrong result, you refuse to believe me”
“I believe you… I just don’t see how it matters. Will you fix me a sandwich? I’m starving.”
“OMG I can’t believe this. You insist that 8 is 10, you’re gonna get us a late charge AND you want me to fix you a sandwich?”
“Why do you keep hassling me about this. I don’t see how it’s a big deal”
“I’m trying to explain to you why it’s a big deal: 5 and 5 is 10. 5 and 5 isn’t 8.”
“Well, either way, what you get is the result of 5 and 5, right? So 10 = 8, do you see now how silly you sound?”
“HOLY SHIT! Are you trying to drive me up the wall? NO. Numbers represent amounts. What the amounts add up to matters. The result matters.”
“THAT’S WHAT I JUST SAID! The end result is what matters here, right? It’s 8! You keep telling me I’m wrong, because the numbers have values, so I told you what the amount is, and then YOU told me that it doesn’t matter!”
“How can you not understand this? You know this! It’s simple addition! The numbers represent amounts, and the amounts add up to other amounts, and it doesn’t matter if you say the value of this amount is actually this value. The values are what the numbers are, it’s not a bunch of x’s you know!”
“Can you hear yourself? You sound like a lunatic. I think you are trying to make a big deal out of it because you think men get to decide what numbers mean.”
“I think I want a divorce, you are ignoring what I’m telling you, even though it’s true, you won’t even consider that YOU might be wrong and you just do not respect how math works. That is not cool.”
“What?! You want to divorce over something so stupid?”
“IT’S NOT STUPID! You’re completely irrational, you make up numeric meanings in your head and expect people to use your made up maths, meanwhile you’re wasting money, and we’re not even fighting about if the answer is wrong or right, but fighting over whether or not it’s ok if we make up what the answer is. You want to make up the results and expect that our creditors will understand that you actually mean 10 when you said 8?! Not to mention we’ve been having this same idiotic conversation every few months for 10 years!”
“Again. I don’t see how the difference in the values or amounts of the numbers matters. And I’m not “making” anything up. You’re the one inventing rules willy nilly. The cable company will still apply the amount to our account. And you’re calling me irrational? Whatever. I’m done talking about this. Should we send this 1st class? Do you have any stamps?”

Words matter. They are kinda mathy even.

If you really still don’t understand the problem with the sentence “I love your boobs” just replace “boobs” with “money” and see if that gives you a little clarity.  

Inspired by

 

  1. Jemima Aslana
    10/25/2009 at 5:19 AM | #1

    I’m laughing and crying at the same time. This is so true, and the ridiculousness of it all is so well illustrated. It would be funny if it wasn’t such a stark reality that we all live with.

    • FW
      10/25/2009 at 6:00 AM | #2

      Thanks for the comment! I had such fun writing these little conversations, I coulda gone on and on, which of course is a bit sad that I know by heart how it goes.

      It’s the denial that drives me mad “No I didn’t” you did!, I didn’t say you meant to, but you did!

      • Jemima Aslana
        10/25/2009 at 6:13 AM | #3

        I had the same issue with a dude the other day. It was in regards to how early parents ought to allow a trans child to transition socially. He literally wrote: “Sometimes giving children what they need is not the best thing to do.” I picked up on that and pointed out that he had just advocated child abuse, or to be really charitable he’d advocated child neglect. He was so angry with me because I should totally know him well enough to know that’s not what he meant. No, I said. I know that’s not what you mean because you’re not an evil person, but that is nonetheless what you said, and I told you I hoped you were aware of what you just said. Then he continued to question my sanity just like in your example convos, and that hurts extra in my case, because I’m on the autism spectrum, and I’m actually a lot better at catching non-verbal and non-literal clues than many others with my condition. And he knows this. Two days later he did it again when I picked his argument apart with logic(something about justifying genocide with the fact that the victim had committed genocide against another people). Suffice to say, we’re no longer friends, and now an additional couple of days later your post spells out the exact same dynamic in such clear terms. Thanks for writing it :)

  2. Bill Diamond
    10/26/2009 at 9:51 AM | #4

    You hear what you want to hear. Words and constructions of words do not have fixed meanings. Language is often ambiguous. They have different meanings to different people. Someone attempting to be an armchair linguist should at least be able to recognize that.

    Your original sentence obviously is tongue in cheek. Most people won’t realize that. Object and objectification have many definitions. Not all objectification is bad.

    I don’t see the point in your whole argument really. It’s more like “Gotcha!” which often seems to happen on blogs like this. The “I’m better than you because I am edumacated!” complex. That’s why I often just have to contradict the ridiculousness of these kinds of blog posts. You are not special and you are not nuanced. These types of posts are better categorized as inane.

    “They are kinda mathy even.” Are you serious? I’ll give you benefit of the doubt and say again this was tongue in cheek because you’ve probably never studied higher math concepts.

  3. Bill Diamond
    10/26/2009 at 10:04 AM | #5

    Try analyzing this conversation:
    Me: 5+5=1
    You: 5+5=10
    Me: No it doesn’t
    You: Yes it does. I get 5 things and add 5 things and I get 10 things.
    Me: No. You take 5 basketball players and 5 more basketball players and it equals 1 game.
    You: We’re not talking about basketball
    Me: I was talking about basketball players. Fine. 5+5 does not equal 10. The left of the equals has 3 symbols, the right has two symbols (two digits). Therefore they’re not equal.
    You: blah blah blah. You’re just trying to mock my original argument.
    Me: No, symbols have meanings. You just are making up what you’d like them to mean. That is not what they actually mean in my equation. I defined the symbols. You can’t tell me what they mean. You can only interpret. Your interpretation may be wrong.

    • FW
      10/26/2009 at 5:52 PM | #6

      Yeah, but I would see it going like this:
      you:5+5=1
      me:5+5=10
      you:no it doesn’t.
      me: how do you figure?
      you: because I’m talking about basketball, 2 five person teams makes one game.
      me: oh, ok then.

  4. Jason B
    10/26/2009 at 3:35 PM | #7

    Here’s something that I don’t quite understand about this – you use the example of “I love your boobs” and then flip to “5 + 5 = 8″. This strikes me as a false equivalence. The traditional concept of addition has only a single interpretation. “5 + 5 = 10″. Non-mathematical words and language, however, have nuance, tone, etc. The same phrase can contain multiple meanings. Case in point:

    “That is so great!”

    Read that normally. Now, read it sarcastically. A shift in tone/context can completely shift the meaning of a set of words. Words and sentences can be ambiguous. But however you say “5 + 5 = 8″, in whatever tone you like, it doesn’t make it true.

    Now, what if the statement in question were “I love your eyes” or “I love your hair”? Is that still bad? Is that still objectifying? What about “I love your outfit”? Or “I love your sense of humor?”

    Assuming, for a moment, that you find nothing wrong with one of those examples, consider that “I love your hair” or “eyes” use the same format of “I love your ” as “I love your boobs”, referring to a portion of the person’s anatomy as a target of adoration.

    Granted: I’m male. However I don’t see it, necessarily, as an objectification – as long as said boobs are not the ONLY target of the affection. Obviously, if someone says “I love your boobs” and there is no OTHER indication of love for you from that person, that is a totally different thing (and potentially rather creepy). Assuming the context of (a loving) marriage in the conversation, one would assume that you could understand “I love your boobs” in the same context of “I love your hair”, as a statement of appreciation for an aspect of the other’s body. It is not exclusive: “I love your boobs” does not mean he does not love your personality, or your intelligence, or your hair.

    So here’s the question: is it objectification because it’s “boobs”? Where is the line between “objectification” and “compliment on one’s physicality?” Is it still objectification if it’s a comment on the person’s mentality instead of physicality? Can any compliment of any aspect of a person be seen as non-objectifying?

    What if it’s just “I love you.” In this case, the “i” is subject, the “love” is the verb, and “you” are the object. That’s objectifying. Cause you are the object.

    To me, this argument breaks down. Whether it’s objectification or not is more reliant on context and intent than simple grammatical rules.

    • FW
      10/26/2009 at 5:07 PM | #8

      Yes, absolutely. It IS technically objectifying because it is in the object part of the sentence.

      NO WHERE in my little convo things did I say this particular “objectification” is bad…. That’s my entire point, that the offense to the objectification is in the ear of the be-hear-er(?).

      If you are a guy… I mean the general you, not doubting your guyness…. but if you’re a dude with killer abs, and every girl that you like, or think about liking goes on and on and on about your abs everytime she sees you… you may begin to feel bad about having your abs objectified. But most likely women will phrase it like “you have amazing abs” or “you have an amazing cock” or “you have amazing eyes”, which puts you as the subject and your eyes as the object. It’s all you then. Listen for that…how do women phrase the compliments to your body? Maybe it’s only the women I hang out with… I don’t know…

      As far as comparisons to math go… in fractions there is a denominator and a numerator, right? and no matter what number is in which spot, the number in the numerator spot is ALWAYS the numerator, and the number in the denominator spot is ALWAYS the denominator. The word in the object spot is ALWAYS the object. What the thought is behind it doesn’t matter. Not in these examples. In our lives, it matters, but these were just for illustration and fun really…

      Yes, in “I Love You” Yes, absolutely the YOU is the object… not an object like a “sex object” but the object part of that sentence. It’s not men’s fault, it’s not women’s fault….. it’s just a clusterfuck of confusion that so many of us find ourselves involved in during our lives, I was not trying to assign any “fault” with these conversations. But you probably have this shit happen in your life, aren’t you sick of it? Don’t you want to get past the “I didn’t mean it that way” bullshit? I said right away, this isn’t about feminism… but many took it as feminism – took it as meaning the BIG cultural type of objectification… I only meant in conversation type of objectification.

      The problem happens when people feel that more often than not, parts of their bodies are put into the subject spot. (or not bodies but things they own…. i.e. men who hear “i love your car” or “i love your big house” more than they hear “I love you”) Could happen to men, could happen to women… either way… like I said, the offense is in the ear of the person who hears it…

      And if it makes a difference…. assume that the sentence that came before “I love your boobs” was “What do you think of this shirt.” … I prolly shoulda put that in there, but I wrote this for an audience who already mostly understood what I was talking about, where I was coming from.

      • Jemima Aslana
        11/11/2009 at 9:57 AM | #9

        That was a really good explanation. Because yes, it’s totally possible to appreciate a specific feature of another’s body without ignoring the rest of them.

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