Surprisingly, They Kept the Brain

My parents tried so hard to protect me from the Internet. In my early years online, my dad installed CyberPatrol, a program that changed all my curse words to “****”.  Fortunately, the program wasn’t too ASCII-savvy, and my exclamations of “shít!” and “fück!” echoed loud and clear across IRC. Then there was the time limit: after 2 hours online, a little dialog box would pop up and say to me, “Your Time is Up! Click OK to Sign Off” or something to that effect. Upon clicking OK, the net connection would shut down until the next day. But I found my way around that, too: I just never clicked OK, so the internet stayed on. And thank God, because otherwise I might’ve actually developed an interest in sunlight and fresh air in my teens. Fück that!

Sometime later, Bell picked up on the fears that compelled my dad to install that poorly-programmed piece of shít, and ran the ad above to promote its own version of a web-based parental control tool. You’ll note that the page that looks like the game board from Operation is actually an anatomical textbook, with the breasts, the ovaries, and – inexplicably – the stomach removed. What exactly is this ad saying – about women’s bodies, sex education, the intelligence of the parents they’re marketing to, and/or quality of the software?

Via the venerable SocImages, where commenter pcwhite notes: “I remember the controversy over this ad from several years ago. Bell trotted out the predictable non-apology stating that what they were really doing was *satirizing* the over-protective parents who would censor their kids’ anatomy illustrations. I think that’s a weasely batch of bullshit, but there you are. I also love how this ad is unintentionally truthful: filters routinely deny access to websites about sex education as well as porn.”

11 Responses to “Surprisingly, They Kept the Brain”

  1. Irene Kaoru Says:

    That picture makes me want to strangle. I love how parts of my body are chopped out and labeled as “inappropriate content.” Nice heavy-handed misogynist message. God I cannot wait to breastfeed in public all over town.

  2. Tequila Says:

    I never got my head around censorship involving female nudity. I get why parents, religious leaders, teachers, etc. would not allow the nude female form to be seen by young boys…but what exactly are they hiding from young girls? You ladies grow into all that and have ready access to the stuff we boys fantasize about to insane levels at that age.

    It all seems so pointless since 9 out of 10 times the first nude females most guys see are from classical art anyhow. It may not count in the eyes of most but its true. What exactly are these filters suppose to censor? Porn? Seems pointless since some of the most explicit content you could ever find is verbal. To this day no LEGAL porn site can match the 120 Days of Sodom (way to DE Sade you’re still the king!) in pure perversity.

    On another level…what are these filters suppose to do? Keep kids & teens from ever being interested in whatever the people who run or configure such filters deem offensive?

  3. R. Says:

    Wow…that ad is just…they actually were allowed to print that crap?

  4. Janelle Says:

    On a related note: the uterus has been recalled.

  5. Janelle Says:

    That is a bizarre ad… but more so because it looks like a failed attempt at satire.

    I mean, I look at that and I think they’re trying (and failing) to say: hey parents, we know you love your kids, but this isn’t the way to go, and we can help.

    If I had any idea of what kind of risk I was lending myself to on the internet when I was in middle and high school — er, I just kind of think I was really lucky that most of my contacts turned out to be who they said they were.

    I’m curious what else they came up with that they settled on that text; I’ve been trying to think of something myself, and haven’t come up with much of anything that couldn’t be construed the same way as what’s already there.

  6. Skerror Says:

    What haphazard exact-o work too…that thing is from the desk of a serial killer.

    Yeah why cut out the stomach? There must be a painful episode in Bell’s history where one of their customers decided to test if they were actually willing to do “anything” to protect our kids from inappropriate content…

  7. Jerem Morrow Says:

    Fuck, The. WHAT?

  8. Chris L Says:

    Don’t really have much to add about the image itself (it’s absurd) – but thank you, Nadya, for posting the link to that blog. Turns out it’s pretty amazing.

  9. cappy Says:

    That lady in that picture is obviously R. Dorothy from “The Big O” — she’s an android, but in the form of a child. I can understand the need for censorship.

    To this day, I’ll never know why my somewhat conservative parents did nothing at all to restrict my internet access in the mid-90’s, but I’m glad they didn’t.

  10. M Says:

    I received that pathetic excuse for marketing material by mail in Ottawa in 2005 and IMMEDIATELY sent an email to Bell to express my fury over their immature, narrow-minded, regressive, and misogynist attitudes. A quick search online led me to discover that readers/posters were engrossed in a discussion about it and that a serious backlash was forming across the country (not only the major cities where the campaign had been rolled out).

    My dialogue, via email, with Bell was extremely frustrating. They refused to acknowledge WHY this campaign was offensive and merely said some such crap like, “we’re sorry if it offended our loyal customers”. They couldn’t seem to understand that this was about MORE than offending customers, how unfathomably ignorant.

    I suggested they donate the same amount of money spent on the bullshit campaign to a cause dedicated to improving women’s health such as The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, but they didn’t even acknowledge that concept since I’m sure all of their correspondence was cut/paste from pre-approved communication sheets by poorly paid inbound CSRs.

    I have avoided holding services with Bell ever since.

    I’m so glad you posted this… they should FOREVER be shamed for allowing such crap out of the board room.

  11. M Says:

    Whoops! Sorry if my comment was redundant to the text posted as part of the original entry…
    i saw the image and the original wave of anger I experienced when getting the ad in the mail returned… I didn’t read the whole thing until afterwards.
    yup, their “apology” was bullshit.