• Fri, Dec 6 - 1:00 pm ET

STFU Parents: Why Does The Elf On The Shelf Hate Women?

‘Tis the season to be jolly — and to talk endless amounts of trash about that grinning bastard Elf on the Shelf. Nary a day can go by each December that I don’t receive an email, tweet, or Facebook message from someone complaining about that smug, self-satisfied little elf. This year, I was even #blessed to receive my first Elf Twitter submission on November 30:

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  • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

    I told you this earlier, but I love this and you are so spot on. Fuck ironic parents being assholes about the dumb cheesy elf. Must we be ironic and smarmy about everything? seeing all your images grouped like this really makes you THINK about it. ugh

    • AmazingE

      Of course we have to be ironic and smarmy about everything, how else will you know that we’re sooo much cooler than you?

      Also, why no male strippers? Surely there are some gay elves out there.

    • GPMeg

      Right? I’m pretty sure GI Joe would make a bangin’ male stripper. I mean, dude is ripped…

    • Britt

      You’d have to stuff a Barbie sock in his g-string, though. (Also, I definitely didn’t type “sock” the first time. What up, Freud?)

    • Cavalish

      Of course there are no gay elves, I mean he may be a violent sexually aggressive murderer, but he’s not a DEVIANT.
      /sarcasm

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      Listen, these parents are DECENT people! Killing and murdering is fine as long as there ain’t none of that that homosexuality involved!

    • goofyjj

      once everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) is doing it, it ceases to be ironic or smarmy and just looks like “look at me” crap.

    • EcnoTheNeato

      I wonder if the parents realize that the same hate for “that elf” that inspired them to PURCHASE THE VERY SAME PRODUCT only perpetuates the thing’s very existence. Both in “recognition” via photos of social media, and monetarily as you gave that company money.

      I, myself, realize that’s not why every who posts these picture feel about the whole deal. But I feel many do. And they’re doing themselves a major disservice o_O

  • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

    Oh God – you are so right. I was thinking the same thing. This Elf thing has gone overboard – and in a totally weird, fucked up direction. Yuck.

  • Kay_Sue

    Wow. That Page 7…that’s just. It’s highly disturbing. I mean, when you’ve met an Elf in person, you often wonder if those soulless eyes have something going on behind them, and that makes these images all the more horrible…

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  • Muggle

    I saw an article a few weeks ago about how women are the most common victims of violence in film (or maybe just certain genres). So page 7 just got really disturbing. Sure, the parents probably don’t have an obsession with violence against women themselves, but it says a lot about our pop culture and the fetishization of dead women. How many victims on CSI are women? How many of them were raped first, or killed over relationship/sex drama? How many victims on Law & Order? How about Lifetime, a channel devoted to scaring the pants off women with violence? And how many movies now have male protagonists (always white, too) that have to avenge a wife or daughter’s violent death?

    Seeing all those images on Page 7, with that in mind, was really freaky. I’ll try to find the article again and link it.

    • DeeVee

      Still amazing that men are more likely to be victims of assault and violent crimes in general.

    • alice

      are they?

    • Paul White

      Generally, yeah. They also commit more violent crimes.

    • alice

      i thought the stats were a little closer to even in terms of victims. i dont think it’s an overwhelming majority, at least. http://www.bjs.gov/

      do you think that dramatized violent crime (on tv/film) is gender biased?

    • DeeVee

      Dramatized violence against women is the majority in film and television because a woman being hurt or killed has a harder impact on the viewer than men- heck, look at the outrage when a single woman is killed as part of a video game, particularly those that have men dying horrific deaths on every level. We as a society hold female life to be more valuable than male lives.

    • Blueathena623

      I don’t think its a matter of value as it is of numbers. How many women characters are in video games compared to male characters?

    • alice

      the same could be said for child deaths in film though.

      i may be misreading the original point, but: i don’t agree that the portrayal of a female death on screen is an example of pervasive misogyny.

      nor do i agree that these insipid elf pictures are either :) it’s a little reaching.

      put it this way: it’s possible that every one of these bored moms has used a female figure in their “inappropriate” elf tableau because they really are conditioned by a misogynistic society, or:

      maybe it’s just because there’s a million more barbies floating around than ken dolls :)

    • Lindsey Sweet

      Well said Alice!

    • moonie27

      er… pervasive misogyny is all about the patterns, not the instance. So, a portrayal of a female death, no. The consistent, patterned portrayal of female deaths, for the benefit of the male character, glorifying both the death of the female and male character? Yes, misogyny, regardless of the intentions behind any single portrayals.

      And all the Barbies out there and no Ken dolls? Also misogyny.

    • EozS

      Haha you are so full of it!

    • Muggle

      As it has been said before, yes men are more likely to be on the receiving end of violent crime in general, but the media chooses to show off violence against women because of the stronger reaction. Take a guess as to who’s committing these crimes, both in real life and in movies, and against both men and women. That’s right, men. And why does the media believe that violence against women elicits a stronger reaction from the audience? Because the media believes that viewers are primarily white men, aged 18-45, whose protective instincts would be triggered by seeing a female character in danger– the girlfriend, wife, or daughter of the white male lead. This has the side-effect of… well, Lifetime. As much as I hate Lifetime for their weak female leads and messages that the right man can fix everything, I can’t say I don’t understand why much of its shows and movies relate to women betraying each other and falling victim to violence by men.

    • Teleute

      Wow, what’s with all the downvotes? DeeVee makes an excellent point.

    • Simone

      That is nowhere near a logical or consistent argument.

      A. More women are killed in films than men.
      C. Therefore we value women’s lives more than men’s.

      What do you propose to put in as Point B in order for this to make sense?

    • Paul White

      Honestly don’t watch enough TV shows to really know an answer to that. Not trying to be snarky or anything, I just don’t watch them enough to know.

    • alice

      ohhhhh i’m paul…cable is for simpletons…

      :) jk

    • Paul White

      Or people with more disposable income

    • Blueathena623

      We ditched cable 3 years ago. I’m still mad thinking how much we paid for so many years.

    • Paul White

      It’d be 50 odd/month here and I’m not spending 700ish a year on it. Just not worth it to me. Maybe if I had a six digit income…

    • EcnoTheNeato

      The only thing I miss is live sporting events. Anything else I can watch on-demand at a friend’s house, on (legal!) websites usually 24 hours later, or just buy the DvD of a show I really like.

      I DO have internet though. I mean, what am I, a crazy person?

    • Véronique Houde

      Hey, I ditched cable when I moved because we couldn’t afford it, and then I plugged my TV in the wall, and we had FREE CABLE!!!! Now I don’t want to move out of my one-bedroom apartment (even with a second child on the way) because I don’t want to have to pay for the stinking cable…!

    • Teleute
    • Kelly S

      who perpetrates those crimes?

    • DeeVee

      Well, as far as domestic violence, women are just as likely as men to batter their partner; it’s a 50/50 split for women battering their male partner and men battering their female partner. Same-sex relationships have a skew towards lesbian relationships being more likely to be violent than heterosexual relationships.
      Random violent crimes? Men are more likely to commit and be on the receiving end.

    • Bullshit

      Citations needed.

    • AlbinoWino

      And yet one in three women who is a victim of a homicide is murdered by her current or former partner. Nine out of ten rape victims are women. 1 out of every 6 women has been raped or had someone attempt to rape her. Those are pretty difficult facts to ignore if you’re looking at violence as a whole. http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims

    • DeeVee

      Statistics from a biased and widely debunked group? Oh yeah, that oughta learn me.
      How about you look at the CDC rape statistics, and don’t ignore “forced envelopment” on the male side (isn’t it nice that women aren’t considered rapists when they force themselves on a man?)
      Read some real statistics and then get back to me, instead of posting information that is wrong, and cherry-picked from studies done in the 70′s via Jane magazine questionnaires

    • Muggle

      RAINN is widely debunked? By who? Your fellow MRAs who sincerely believe women’s lives are considered more valuable than men’s?

    • AlbinoWino

      For fuck sake. What is with your hostility toward women? It’s pretty widely recognized fact that women have being systematically disenfranchised for centuries of human history the whole world over. I’m sorry, does that hurt your poor little MRA feelings that some people choose to challenge this way of thinking? That men are automatically being disenfranchised by pointing out that women are victimized and often in horrible and oppressive ways? You bitch and moan about statistics without providing your own but want me to believe yours that you could easily just be pulling out of your ass. I’d ask for your brave and bold propositions for how to rid the world of going down this path of empowering women and taking everything away from men but you are never going to find the stats you need to prove this is the case in the world today. I mean, why survey any women at all about rape because they all must be vengeful lying sluts in your world to so much as dare to accuse a man of rape. Let’s go back to the days when a man beating his wife was considered a right and that rape in a marriage was not a prosecutable crime because her body was viewed as his sole property. Man, those were the good old days. But sure, please, entertain us with more of your ideas about the oppressed man and your vivid fantasies of of putting women in their place. You clearly must be a truly loved and cared about person of true worth to espouse these revolutionary ideas.

    • JLaw

      Not to defend DeeVee’s posts, but the Jane thing is referencing a survey that concluded women had been raped, even when they believed otherwise, because their experience fit the criteria that had been set forth, in addition to questions like “have you ever had sex with someone after they gave you alcohol or drugs?” and answering in the affirmative meant that you had been raped, regardless of whether you felt it was a normal one-night stand.

    • alice

      wait, what???

      the CDC very clearly says that women are disproportionately affected by IPV, SV, and stalking. (Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Violence). Where is the 50/50 stat you speak of?

    • alice

      from the NISVS (from where the CDC publishes their data):

      • Nearly 1 in 5 women (18%) and 1 in 71 men (1%) have been raped in their lifetime.

      • One in 4 women have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner, while 1 in 7 men have experienced the same.

      http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs/

    • brebay

      That is total bullshit. Where do you get your stats, “Focus on the Family?”

    • IrishFury

      Totally untrue stats – quote your sources. Same sex partner violence is real, as is female on male domestic violence but 50/50?? Untrue. I will say, however, that women are very capable of physiologically/emotionally abusing their partners.

    • Teleute
    • pixie

      One of the reasons why I liked Dexter was because with his “code” he didn’t discriminate between his victims. And from what I recall, most of the people he killed were men.

    • Tinyfaeri

      They were mostly men. First Nurse and the coven leader are the only two I can think of off the top of my head, but there are probably others. The only requirement is that they be serial killers like he is…but most serial killers are men.

    • pixie

      And the other requirement was don’t get caught.

  • keanesian

    Don’t hate the playa…hate the game?

    • Tinyfaeri

      Pretty sure that was B’s point. The “game” sucks.

  • AmazingE

    The whole Elf on the Shelf thing is creepy as hell to begin with, but most of these take it to a whole new level. I will admit though, that the Silence of the Lambs one did make me chuckle a little bit.

    • Emmali Lucia

      I think it’s just because SOTL is my favourite movie, but I started laughing so hard. I was just imagining the elf tucking it in and dancing with a orange blanket after that picture was taken.

  • DeeVee

    Considering it’s 90% women who are making these little scenes and posting them on facebook for all to enjoy, what does that say about how women view other women?
    Barbies are more popular than Ken dolls, and Men are the MAJORITY of victims of violent crimes- I understand that you want to make this into some feminist statement, but you need to look at women and their motivations for doing things like this.

    • Kelly S

      internalized misogyny? that’s really, really common. and yes, men attack each other lots. not sure how that negates women being attacked. and if you don’t get that violence against women is glamorized in media and supported in real life….well, enjoy your bubble. we’ll be dealing with this crap out here in reality.

    • DeeVee

      So all women who do this are suffering from internalized misogyny because they find it funny for a creepy little elf to be put in these positions? Violence against women is sensationalized because we have a privileged position in society- when we’re hurt or killed, it’s a tragedy and a shame, but when men are killed en masse in movies or games, it’s par for the course of being male in the media. What bubble are you living in that women getting hurt is horrific, but men being killed (count the male deaths in Dexter or Silence of the Lambs, for instance) is something to be brushed off and accepted?

    • Blueathena623

      No, women being hurt is more sensationalized when its a pretty woman who is injured or killed.
      As for why women do this — my guess is they want to seem “cool”.

    • JLaw

      To whom? other women? How does it make sense that women would engage in misogynistic behavior in order to seem “cool” in front of other women?

    • alice

      it makes sense if you view it through a lens other than misogyny. :)

    • Muggle

      They want to seem cool to men. They enjoy what privilege they may have, and if they haven’t been victims of crimes themselves they’ll blame victims in order not to face the real possibility of violence and discrimination themselves.

    • alice

      certainly that’s an extreme generalization, and can’t be held to most of these photos.

    • Blueathena623

      Muggle answered, but yes, to seem “cool” to men, and to let other women know that said woman would be viewed as “cool” by guys. Its a competition thing that is so ingrained and subconscious that most women don’t even realize it.

    • JLaw

      So women only do things in order to get male attention, and this is a biological imperative? better watch your words, people tend to get mighty offended when others imply that evolutionary psychology is more than a pseudo-science

    • Blueathena623

      Not sure I ever used the word “only”. But I did also read a blurb in The Week yesterday about how slut-shamey women can be because they feel they are competing for male attention, and that this drive decreases with age as women become less fertile (and thus less likely to need to compete for a guy).

    • AlbinoWino

      Biological imperative? Human beings are very social creatures by nature and we adhere to social rules and norms to function in society. Our values and views of things can differ greatly, though, from person to person. Human progress is based around the changing of ideas and morals. Nobody is saying all women do things to get male attention…but some women do in fact do this. In a lot of ways our society perpetuates this idea by constantly showing women serving men whether it be sexually or by the division of labor in the home, etc. A woman’s body is still often seen as an object for the consumption of other, mainly men. Those ideas are slowly getting challenged more and more. But sure, there are still women who want men to be in charge of everything, want women to stay out of the workforce, and want women to all be baby factories.

    • AlbinoWino

      I think they do it more to seem cool to men. A lot of women don’t speak up when men say misogynistic things because they don’t wan to be the caricature of “that woman” who is overly sensitive and easily offended. Shit, I have been guilty of this. My silence could probably be taken as agreement and some women take it a step further and wholeheartedly endorse these comments to fit in even further. I think the same can go with women who perpetuate these same ideas, maybe with other ladies. In my opinion, these women lack a lot of self respect and probably have low self esteem.

    • AlbinoWino

      So by saying that women getting hurt is horrific, you think people in that vain of thought CAN’T think that men getting killed is also horrific? That is a very binary and simplistic view. Perhaps violence against women is talked about a lot because it was not even seen as something of any importance or concern for CENTURIES and we’re still trying to shake ourselves out of that mindset. Could I absolutely say all of those women who posted those photos are internalizing misogyny? No, but one has to wonder about the root causes.

    • alice

      hmmm, i don’t really see that violence against women is *glamorized* in media. can you explain more? it’s portrayed, yes. and we could discuss whether or not the dramatized victimization perpetuates real life victimization. and therefore whether we have an obligation to stop writing story lines with female victims. we could debate “art imitates life” vs “life imitates art” forever — but that is a philisophical debate, neither of us can state in fact that one is truer than the other.

      regardless: this elf thing is just really stupid imo. internalized misogyny exists. but i dont see a case for it when a barbie is tied to fake train tracks. really?

    • Emmali Lucia
    • Sri

      The number of “sexy corpse” and “sexual assault- fun for everyone!” pictures here has made me lose my will to can. Not all of these are “real” adverts, right? Some of them are just concept pieces that haven’t been picked up by companies? The ad creators are scummy, but at least the company didn’t run them, right? Please just restore my faith in humanity a little bit here.

    • Emmali Lucia

      All of those are real advertisements. Most of those were in fashion magazines geared towards women, and all except for the Broomsticks one were aired after 2000, so it’s not even like we can pretend these are just the old fashioned advertisements from ye olde 1960s.

    • Emmali Lucia

      You were saying something about violence against women not being glamourized?

      Those aren’t even a third of them, just the most violent ones I found that were also obviously advertisements for something. Although the last two broke the rules in the fact that they aren’t obvious advertisements, but they were part of fashion magazine spreads.

    • alice

      my bad, i really was referring to film/tv. i shouldn’t have said “media” – all of the discussions i’ve had in this thread were in reference to the dramatization of violence against women in film/tv.

      all of those print ads are abhorrent. and most of them i recognize from the controversy they incited.

      previous parts of this thread have suggested that there’s a disproportionate amount of violence towards women in movies/tv, and that it’s related to a misogynistic culture. i disagree strongly that plot lines involving “a woman as a victim” are inherently misogynistic. death and violence is a device used across many artistic mediums, for too many reasons to list. i feel it’s a harsh generalization to suggest that only the pretty women who die in films generate emotional response, or that female victims in films are just a patriarchal instinct, or that they represent the normalization of misogyny. that’s way too simplistic.

    • Emmali Lucia

      I would need to see the study done, but I am inclined to believe that you are more likely to see a woman victim than a male in the film/tv media.

      I don’t honestly know if that is a bi-product of misogyny or the fact that most of the news focuses on the young pretty women getting kidnapped or murdered.

      Or maybe the fact that the even the news focuses mostly on the young pretty women is also a product of misogyny?

      I had a friend once who came up with a brilliant theory, he said that the world is a much safer place for women and children than it was in the 60s, statistically speaking. Yet we focus so much more on violent crimes against women and children now than we did back then. According to his theory it was to instill fear into women and mothers to keep them home and barefoot in the kitchen and let their husbands go out into the field of work instead.

      Now whether or not I believe this theory I won’t say, but it was a really interesting thing to think about.

    • alice

      i’m inclined to believe that if there’s a surplus of “pretty” women being killed in film instead of “ugly” ones, it’s more to do w/ the fact that ugly women in film are like unicorns.

      your friend’s theory sounds good. and people in this thread have kinda been going back n forth about that a bit:

      in film/tv, is “violence against females” used to elicit a hero-savior response from the male audience, or is it used to subvert gender equality?

      personally, i think it’s rarely used as a form of misogyny these days, a la “I Spit On Your Grave.”

      But when female victimization is used to produce a chivalric response, is that also subverting gender equality? like your friend believes.

      ehhh, i don’t know. i don’t think so, on a whole. but i’d have to think about it more. like, using children’s deaths in film: is that pro child abuse? i would say definitely not.

      and i would say most of the elf pics are not examples of rampant misogyny. sometimes barbies and elves just get naked…!

    • Emmali Lucia

      I’ve noticed that when children die in films it’s usually of illness or car crashes or strangers. And while illness and car crashes are two huge things that contribute to children’s death toll, it’s usually family members or loved ones of the family members that cause a child’s death (At least far more than Stranger Danger)

      I mean, women die non violent deaths all the time in films, too. It just seems like if you think of children death it’s something a bit more peaceful than murder. Usually even the abducted children come home alive and relatively unharmed.

    • AlbinoWino

      This is a really good video (and some of the others are good too) about how in comic books women’s deaths are frequent and are often used to further the plot. Worth checking out I think: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DInYaHVSLr8

    • noreallyshesawful

      I don’t trust a word this scam artist says.

      There are people who’ve explained this same thing only better. She’s a horrible example and a horrible person.

    • Simone

      You don’t think that violence against women is glamorised in the media? You need to educate yourself.

      You could start here, or you could start almost anywhere on the Internet. About twelve seconds of searching would do it.

      http://creativepool.com/magazine/features/harmless-fun-violence-against-women-in-advertising.2126

    • alice

      Meow!

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      How do you know 90% of these images are created by women anyway?

      and all I wanna say is I love how this entire conversation is going on due to the dumb elf.

    • EcnoTheNeato

      We ALL know 90% of Pintrest accounts are women, the other 10% gay men amirite?

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      Oh I forgot :(

    • Simone

      Men are the majority of victims of violent crime committed by other men. Women are overwhelmingly more likely to be assaulted by a man than by a woman, and the most dangerous place for a woman to be is in her home with her partner, as in that situation she is most likely to be assaulted according to all the statistics we are able to gather and analyse.

      Violence is patterned across gender. It’s part of a larger pattern, and just stating that men are victims of violent crime is purposeless and without meaning.

      Reasons why women might do this could include the fact that violence against women is the core feature of so many media forms and has been for centuries.

  • Annona

    The thing looks creepy and disgusting…like it wants to wait till you’re asleep and creep off the shelf and murder your family. I think all the “elf as creeper” photos are a natural progression of the damn thing being so freakish by itself. I’m pretty over any variation of elf on the shelf, and I wish my parent friends AND non-parent friends would find a new fad already.

  • deedee24

    Seriously, it’s social media. People over share about things most others don’t really care about as a RULE on social media. You may roll your eyes at someone’s Elf tales and pictures. And other people probably roll their eyes at your gratuitous and poorly composed vacation photos, or selfies, or tales/photos of your drunken night on the town, or your whining about work, or the kinds off articles you tend to share, or the stupid pictures you “like” from other lame Facebook pages.

    If you don’t like it, grow up and either scroll past it, hide the person’s posts, or defriend them. Quit acting like high school girls all up in arms about what other high school girls are doing.

    Signed, Someone who doesn’t do the elf thing, but thinks it’s exceptionally lame to give so much of a shit about what others do when it truly doesn’t harm you.

    • Meg

      …With that opinion, why the hell would you even choose to read a STFU Parents column, then? No one here is ‘whining’. This is a parenting website. This is a parental activity. It suggests certain trends. It’s weird. Discuss. That’s kind of one of the ideas of Mommyish, no??

    • deedee24

      So, the point of Mommyish is to judge and criticize other parents, particularly over trivial things? Guess I missed that on the “About” page.

    • UpandDown

      You crossed over that line and stated a great opinion that isn’t well liked (according to the down votes at least ;)-thank you. I started reading this site about 3-4 months ago and thought I hit the jackpot on real parenting instead of sanctimommies. While I don’t think this article is too off-base (as I tend to feel B tends to use sarcasm while staying real), I have noticed comments by many, especially the ‘Moderators’ are almost conversations between high school girls. It’s a lot less ‘discussion’ and more of, ‘we’re online friends so let’s talk about how much we agree- we’ll attack anyone who disagrees’.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      Boooo. I don’t think I’m that JUDGEY. I do get into with people who challenge me on issues of rape, child abuse and violence against women, but other than that I am pretty open.

    • MamaLlama

      I don’t think your THAT judgey…But I do have a hard time reading comments sometimes, as some of the other writers do tend to get a little bit on their ‘high horse’ when commenting on their posts. Not clique-ish, but sometimes, a little more ‘we all agree’ than others.. But, show me a message board/comment section that doesn’t have that..

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      It’s not even judging other parents individually, it’s sort of all of us saying “Yeah the elf is annoying, but is he so annoying he is now associated with decapitating dolls?”

    • Simone

      Trivial.

      Are you able to link ideas together – the number of dead women in the real world and the number of images of dead women considered funny?

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I can agree with this to an extent. Basically most everyone is annoying on social media. It’s who we are as a people now. And no one is going to be bothered by an occasional update with an elf visiting a dream house strip club.

      we may find it sort of eye-rolly, or dumb, or whatever, but no one really cares. As you said, scroll on past it.

      But when you see all these images together, like B has collected, and you start to think they are all not being done by one or two parents, it’s sort of creepy.

      We have taken this dumb but sort of cute idea, THE ELF, and have taken it to this weird, subversive level where it’s no longer parents phoning each other up to complain “shit, I gotta think of something to do with this damn elf” to parents trying to one up each other by seeing how perverse they can make the elf seem. And the fact that in a lot of these images he is being pretty nasty to female dolls is disturbing.

      I think the reason WHY this resonates with the Mommyish community is because we are the sort of moms who would make our elves be run over by a car or stage him snorting pop rocks, and when we see an entire collection of him (the elf, shit, I am making him sound like a person)being creepy in every image it’s freaks us out.

  • Melissa T

    Wow. This is the best article you have ever written. I came here expecting to roll my eyes and laugh, but instead this. I agree with what you’ve written and think it’s very brave, actually.

  • GPMeg

    I hadn’t really thought about it, but when I saw that same gallery the only one I didn’t find creepy was the Dick in the Box one (because, well, Lonely Island and JT) and this is SPOT. ON.

  • Jess

    Page 7 is just freaky (but I did think The Silence of the Lambs pic was kind of clever). Elf on the Shelf in general just gives me the creeps. It’s bad enough my kid won’t play with dolls because she thinks they’ll come alive, I think the Elf would just throw her over the edge.

  • Blueathena623

    I laughed at the silence of the lambs one, but other than that, ehh. Aren’t there any naughty adult activities the elf can do that doesn’t degrade women/Barbies?

    • Skipper

      Agree. That was one of the few that I thought was clever.

    • Blueathena623

      Also because I use the line “it puts the lotion on its skin” every night when my toddler finishes his bath. So that’s why it made me giggle.

    • Williwaw

      Me too! But I think I might have to give it up when he starts talking, or else he might come out with that line at day care and give the teachers a weird impression of our home life…

    • Harriet Meadow

      I say it to my son when I put lotion on him, too! I can’t wait until he’s old enough to figure out that reference…

    • Muggle

      There’s plenty, but for some reason nobody thinks they’re more shocking.

      I saw a picture of an elf hanging upside down from a shelf holding a straw and looking like it was sucking down… something in a bottle earlier today. I thought that was fairly clever and suitably “naughty.” I’m sure there are other murder-elves that kill other elves rather than Barbies.

  • http://ichasekids.com/ Litterboxjen

    Okay, I’m kinda impressed with the way that wedding Barbie is arranged in the Cheating photo, and good on Mom? for hooking CreepyElf with a Ken doll for a change.

    Otherwise, these are disturbing.

    • Skipper

      That was a rather elaborate staging, but pretty well done.

    • Toto

      Agreed! I enjoyed the photos on the wall that included Brad and Angelina.

  • Are you nuts

    Can we agree as a collective population to throw out all Elves on the Shelf?? I’m more tired of this damn elf than Fox News stories about the War on Christmas.
    Partially because one day I know my kids are going to come home and say “Jaiydehn has an elf who poops chocolate chips all over the house, draws on the mirror in toothpaste and undecorates the whole tree. Why don’t we have an elf?”
    Partially because it inspires tired memes about the naughty elf who got a little too naughty.
    But mainly because who has time to worry about one more thing at Christmas? Especially one more thing that you have to worry about for TWENTY-FIVE DAYS STRAIGHT. So over it!!!

    • AP

      If the Elf pooped his chocolate chips into one of those refillable Advent calendars, you’d kill two birds with one stone.

      Speaking of stones, you could have him pee yellow Nerds while doubled over in kidney stone pain.

    • Are you nuts

      If only there were some way to combine placenta photography with Elf on the Shelf! Would be PERFECT.

    • RCIAG

      OMG DON’T GIVE THEM ANY IDEAS!!

  • Zettai

    I saw the Aveeno and thought, “There’s no way he’d jack with that, it’s too sticky.”

    And I hate Elf on the Shelf.

  • shellylou

    As I was looking through these, I wondered if the use of Barbie as a stripper or murder victim was because of convience rather than hatred towards women. What I find offensive is less the implied violence towards women and more unoriginality. Why cant the elf be seen stealing a wallet or playing real life GTA with a Luttle Tykes play town? After the 4th or 5th Barbie stripper, I’m bored.

    • Leah

      I had the same thought, that most families with girls have plenty of Barbie dolls handy, and the scale is correct. GI Joes are too short, the elves would tower over them.

    • EcnoTheNeato

      “GI Joes are too short, the elves would tower over them.” After looking at several pictures on this article, I don’t think proportions matter nearly as much as the gag, in general. Even though there are Joes and action figures available in large, Barbie, size…

      But it’s VERY possible they only have girls with Barbies and/or no GI Joes/Dinosaurs/Robots/Godzilla figurines etc. But every single one of these people/photos/situations? That’s a trend that B notices. That the “lazy” route is to take a Barbie, and take her clothes off, put in “compromising” situation. Which is what the article is about, I feel

    • Katherine Handcock

      I’d agree with your comment about it being the “lazy” route that B. is commenting on — that the default easy way to make the Elf “naughty” almost automatically becomes sexual, and in many cases violently and/or degradingly sexual. I think it does say something about how society views women that those scenarios are the easiest to bring to mind.

      Interestingly, I’ve seen multiple examples of violence directed TOWARDS the Elf this year — maybe that’s a statement from parents who have done it in the past, are tired of it, and would love to drop it, but now their kids are expecting the Elf for this Christmas.

    • Muggle

      Yeah, I completely agree that it’s more out of convenience than actual, conscious hatred of women. But it says something when violence against women isn’t considered original…

    • shellylou

      Right? That part is what squicks me out the most.

    • Blueathena623

      Or how about being engaged in a fight to the death with a plastic dinosaur?

    • Emmali Lucia

      YES. Oh my God YES. You need to get an elf on the shelf and take pictures of the epic battles it has at night.

      CAN YOU IMAGINE?!?! Like the dinosaurs and soldiers surrounding the child’s bed and then the elf with a sword in his hand like he’s protecting him/her?!

      That would be wayy too cute.

    • shellylou

      Only if that dinosaur is wearing a sombrero and holding maracas. ;) but seriously? That would be so awesome.

    • Simone

      The default illustration of deviance is brutality towards women, apparently.

  • AP

    I suspect there are three things at hand. 1) Taboo: The joke is that an “innocent” toy is doing something awful and horrendous, and there are few things more horrendous than the objectification of women. It’s funny because it’s horrible, not because the act itself is funny. If the elves were widely available in every color of the human rainbow, racially insensitive stuff would be popping up left and right, too. Asian Elf crashing Barbie’s car, or Indian Elf providing tech support (or worse…)

    2) Doll sizes: The Elf on a Shelf is the same size as a Barbie and other “fashion” dolls. There’s way more of them than their male counterparts, so people have to make do with what their kids have. I’ve definitely seen a decent number of Elves posed with GI Joes, Little People, and Kens (often also in a sexually explicit manner, see #1), though last year I saw one of GI Joe and the Elf committing war crimes.

    3) Elfie is Male: The Elf on a Shelf is usually male, so you see crimes attributed to men pop up. If the female elves were more popular, you might see pictures of them doing naughty stuff too, like watching Magic Mike holding a vibrator or fake pregnant and holding a spoon and a lighter.

    • Muggle

      In response to #3: yeah, but that ‘naughty’ stuff isn’t crimes committed at the expense of men. How many ‘naughty’ female elves would be killing male elves/dolls/action figures? Probably a fair few, but certainly not enough to be so widespread.

    • EcnoTheNeato

      And in response to #2: GI Joes aren’t the only male toy. I had tons of toys about the size of the elf. Mostly action figures, but there are some ninja turtles and GI Joes that are more proportional (heck, I have some Starcraft and Spawn toys in my “nerd room” that are the perfect size…). So I think the photo taker just gets lazy, grabs a Barbie, and pulls her head off. Because “lol!”

    • RCIAG

      Not all Elves are male. Last year I bought a girl elf for a cousin’s little girl. Thankfully they don’t take & post any pic of their elf.

  • Natasha B

    When you group them all together like this…wow. I refuse to do a elf on the shelf anyways because creepy, but these, while some are funny, some are gross. Someone else ran and article on twitter verse with ‘naughty elf’ and one of the pics he’s slipping an obvious roofy (um, SP?) into Barbies martini glass. That one I was like, wtf?! When is RAPE funny?!?! I’ll try and find it….

    • meteor_echo

      Apparently rape is funny when it’s rapists who get to joke about it.
      Oh wait…

  • Hibbie

    That last selection is way, way too fucked up.

    I enjoy when you write with a more serious tone. I thought the best chapter in your book was the one about breastfeeding where you discussed women’s bodies and society. This is a great and thoughtful article, I just wish the material didn’t exist for it.

  • http://sarahhollowell.com/ Sarah Hollowell

    This makes the Elf on the Shelf pictures a friend has been posting every day look a lot better. His Elf has been fighting the Avengers and dinosaurs. Not the predictable Elf pictures, but also not involving CRAZY BARBIE MURDER.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      On another note, CRAZY BARBIE MURDER will be the name of my death metal band.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I’m on drums

  • EX

    Alright, so, I may get my feminist card revoked for this one, but I thought most of these were funny? Maybe not all terribly original but I appreciated the detail in the wedding Barbie one and lol’ed at the silence of the lambs one. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t aware of this trend (I apparently live under a rock) so it’s not something I’ve seen before. I only see the usual over-achiever mom elf-on-the-shelf posts and found these to be an amusing skewering of that annoying trend.

    • Harsh

      I agree! I think the elves are creepy so I enjoyed them doing creepy things. I don’t care much violent ones, but who hasn’t seen a stripper? ;).

    • EcnoTheNeato

      I think the “Dexter” and “Silence of the lambs” ones were excusable from the overall tone of the article, since that is what actually happens in the show/movies. It’s still violence against (Fake) women, but based off of a real (fake) scenario, correct down to the genders of the individuals

      (though, maybe Dexter killing Ariel is a bit off, since Dexter very rarely kills a woman on the show)

    • Jami

      Dexter depends on a code. He’d only kill Barbie if Barbie herself was a serial killer. Like the nurse that murdered his father.

    • Simone

      I’m kind of sick of living in a culture where we’re so accustomed to seeing women’s bodies being used up, sliced up for cosmetic reasons or, hey, just because some dude felt like it, served up on platters to sell cars and coffee, and twisted into stupid proportions so, no, I don’t find it funny.

  • Kelly

    I think it’s funny because I’ve always thought those elves were creepy as shit. They look like some kind of psycho who would be cruising around in a van looking for victims to me so these are all fitting in my opinion.

  • Williwaw

    I thought the Silence of the Lambs one was pretty funny, but then, I liked the “It Rubs the Lotion on its Skin” music video, too.

    I think a lot of these might be sort of funny if you just showed them to your adult family members…but taken as a group onslaught via social media, they get kind of tedious.

  • brebay

    What the fuck did I just ….

  • CrazyLogic

    I agree with getting some GI Joes involved with the antics. Especially the stripper ones.

    Put Duke on the stripper pole damn it!

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    I need time to process what I’ve just seen and may just need to vomit after Page 7.

  • SarahJesness

    Eh, to be fair, the use of female dolls is probably done because female dolls are more readily available than male ones. (at least, one that match the Elf’s size)

    On that note, some of those dolls look underage.

    • EcnoTheNeato

      Yeah, the Bratz dolls (are that the brand they are?) are strangely not proportioned to the elf, though. Albeit their heads are ginormous compared to his, with bodies much smaller than he. But those and the Monster High ones turn the EotS into Pedo-bear. Pedo-elf?

      But again, there are LOTS of action figures the elf’s size. So…I think it’s a product of a lazy idea instead of pure doll convenience. Unless EVERY picture here was taken by a parent who only has Barbie dolls in their home and not a single other type of toy…But hey, at least #1 uses a male doll. So…there’s that!

  • meteor_echo

    To the fine specimen who thinks that women’s lives are “more valuable” than men’s lives, and that the majority of male victims come from crimes committed by women – sod the fuck off.
    Women’s lives in this society are only valuable when a woman is good-looking, quiet, traditionally-minded, religious, and wants children. If a woman can be appraised as a living, breathing commodity, then she has “value”. But if a woman thinks for herself, dresses and looks unconventionally, and lives unconventionally, then whatever happens to her is ~her fault~, and nobody questions this statement aside from other women and the few men who realize how heinous it is.
    Yes, women commit violent crimes – as do trans, queer, agender and genderfluid people – but until the majority of violent crime perpetrators are men, shut up and take your fucking seat. You’re much less likely to be raped, beaten, assaulted, mutilated, kidnapped and kept in a basement, you have zero chances of being impregnated against your will and forced to have an unwanted child, or to be kidnapped and taken to another country as a sex slave (or to be kidnapped for in-country trafficking).

    So fuck you and your smug MRA rhetoric – and next time you get into a fight, or have your possessions ruined by a vengeful creep, I have no doubt that it won’t be caused by a woman.

    • EcnoTheNeato

      Not only do I have to not worry about said culture as a man, but I don’t have to worry (Too much) about the counter-culture either. I don’t have to feel obligated to go to a “tupperware” party where we make games out of our sexual conquests and play “spin the fleshlight” for prizes. And if I DID say “no” to that party, I wouldn’t be labeled as a gender traitor.

      And I also don’t have to worry about potential backlash from me choosing to stay at home versus going into the work force. Or if I buy my daughter a princess toy that may or may not be pink, I won’t get stink eyes from “more progressive” moms.

      Louie CK once said this about race, but I feel it applies to gender, too. “I’m not saying [males] are better, but I am saying BEING [a cis man] is better. If it were an option, I’d re-op every year!…I’ve been enjoying that, I’ll stick with [male], thank you.”

      And yeah, there are things men have to worry about to. But not to the extent that I feel the ladies have too :-x

  • Janine Latus

    The picture that’s fourth from the top on page 7 — the severed head Barbie with ‘you’re next’ — includes my memoir of my sister’s murder at the hands of her boyfriend. Someone explain how that could possibly be funny.

    • EcnoTheNeato

      I believe “South Park” did a recent episode making fun of parents/couples/adults who are WAY too obsessed with so-called “murder porn.” My guess is that episode would ring way too true for whoever took that photo :-x

    • Katherine Handcock

      I am so, so sorry. A horrible experience to have to live through, and then to see the story used as a prop for this? I can’t even imagine.

      Will you accept an Internet-based hug?

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      Oh fuck that right in the head. I’m sorry. I noticed how they had carefully art directed true crime books next to that pic, grrrr

    • BecW

      I took that photo. It was for a contest, and I took that one and 4-5 other photos of an inappropriate elf that night, including one of him cross-dressing as the creepy twins in “The Shining” and falling into the garbage disposal drunk. They were all inappropriate. I chose the creepiest titles I had on my bookshelves so I could snap a photo of “Elf on the WRONG shelf.” It has no more to do with domestic violence than it does with killing your postman or witches (other titles in that stack). But nice overreaction…

      I didn’t take those photos to be cooler than other parents, or to degrade women. The only other dolls in my house that night were Barbies, which my daughter had just tossed because she was outgrowing them, and LaLa Loopsies, and if I’d used one of those it would have appeared that Elf was killing a kid. I didn’t have a male doll in the house, and I wasn’t trying to make a statement. I was trying to show a creepy, inappropriate elf to win an iPad.

      I went back and pulled that book and tried to remember your story, and realized I never read it. I also quickly realized why you misconstrued this photo and made it all about your one title, after reading the amazon reviews. I’m sorry for your tragic loss, and I should not have used a true crime book. The others were fiction and some random self-help book about over-bearing parents, and the only thing any of those have in common is that the titles sounded creepy.

      Here’s your mountain back. I reverted it back to its original state for you: a molehill.

    • Janine Latus

      You just made your own point. It wouldn’t be okay for the Elf to have murdered a child, but it is okay for the Elf to have murdered a woman.

      Further, you are not the arbiter of whether someone reacts appropriately.

    • BecW

      My point is that they’re all TOYS. I didn’t have a male doll or it would have worked just as well. If Lala Loopsie’s head would have popped off more easily and attached to the elf’s hand it would also have sufficed. But then you sensitive ninnies would have complained that he was killing a child. THEY’RE TOYS, and YOUR BOOK TITLE IS CREEPY. That’s the only thing happening in that photo.

      You are also not the arbiter of whether someone reacts to your overreaction, so I guess we both lose? Like this photo, you need to stop taking the internet so seriously.

    • Janine Latus

      It was creepy when we found those words in the letter my sister left behind. Like many women, she knew she was in trouble and she taped a letter to the inside of her desk drawer. If I am missing or dead, it read, pick up my boyfriend. It’s creepy every time someone writes those words.

      Ninny? Really? And yes, we would have pointed out that he was killing a child. Which also isn’t funny.

    • BecW

      Ninny wasn’t my first choice of words, rest assured. It was the nicest word I could type when I was finally able to remove my palm from my forehead. Once again, THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOUR SISTER. IT’S NOT ABOUT HARMING WOMEN OR DEGRADING THEM. It’s a damn toy, hurting another toy. My only mistake was throwing a book I’ve never read into a pile of books with similar, creepy titles that happened to be written by someone who really needs to step away from the internet for a while and calm down. That book is now in my trash, after this crapstorm and after reading the reviews on amazon. It won’t ever appear in another photo of mine again, I promise!

      I can’t completely remove the original from all the places it sits on the web or I would, just to give you nothing to further blow out of proportion. This is the best I can do for you. Bring on the PETA vegans, I guess. Now he’s harming a cat that’s also a plant! Oh no!!!!

    • Ripleysmom

      This is how this conversation should have gone:

      Janine – The picture that’s fourth from the top on page 7 — the severed head Barbie with ‘you’re next’ — includes my memoir of my sister’s murder at the hands of her boyfriend. Someone explain how that could possibly be funny.

      BecW – Oh wow. I took that photo, it was for a contest. I was just trying to win something and wanted it to be inappropriate and creepy. I didn’t really pay attention to the books I stacked there and I meant no disrespect to your sisters memory and the pain you have been through. I’m so sorry for you loss.

      Janine – thank you for the kind words BecW. I’m glad to hear you didn’t do this on purpose. I realize it’s a silly picture taken for a silly reason but it was such a horrible time for my family that it still hurts so much. Thank you for understanding.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      CALM THE FUCK DOWN, LADY!

      And really, get over it. It’s a stupid book in a stupid photo.

    • Persistent Cat

      Way to belittle.

    • Madbadrad

      To her it’s certainly not just a ‘stupid’ book, it’s her sister’s true story of being murdered. So I can certainly understand how seeing the title in a disturbing scene would trigger an emotional response.

    • Millie

      You used the memory of her sister’s murder as part of your joke about murdering women. It is not an overreaction for her to take offense. Maybe you should try to be more careful so that you don’t end up turning someone’s death into a joke.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      Maybe someone should calm down and get over it, because it wasn’t about her in the first place, and it’s just a picture.

    • BarlowGirl

      Holy heck, I’m so sorry.

    • Jami

      *hugs*
      I’m sorry your sister was murdered. I’m sorry an insensitive and classless cretin like BecW tried to justify her horrible and inhuman response and only made things worse for you. I hope the coming year will be better and you don’t have any more crud like that.
      As for you, BecW, grow up and get a life.

  • Teleute

    As someone who has never done Elf on the Shelf (I’ve never even heard of it until quite recently), I actually find these pictures pretty hilarious.

    • Simone

      Oh, hilarious. We are so jaded towards brutality to women that these are just funny. Love my world.

    • Teleute

  • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

    Wait…so you’re telling me that there AREN’T parents who do this shit with their kid’s toys all year long?

  • Guest

    Help me Kickstart my own Kickstarter:

    Do you love Elf on the Shelf?
    Do you love controlling your children through fear?
    Do you love how you can share how creative you are to all your friends?
    Do you love stealing ideas from Pinterest and Instagram in order to convince your friends and family that you’re creative?
    Do you love pretending it’s actually just about your children?
    Do you love giving power to inanimate objects?
    Do you love doing the above in an “ironic” sense to distinguish you from “those others”?
    And do you love being so ironic that your counter-culture idea, itself, becomes mainstream and bloated?

    Now, don’t you wish you could do all of that year-round, and not just
    during the month of December, when your friends will likely roll their
    eyes to the sudden “yet another” person getting in on the “festivities”?
    Then you’ll LOVE my new idea:

    Cthulhu on a Stool-u…

    All I need is a creative “team” who can make original plushie, yet vaguely terrifying, Cthulhu monsters…

    (below is my “concept art” stolen from Google images. Needs more Elder Signs on the stool…)

    http://twitpic.com/dnxeni

  • EcnoTheNeato

    Help me Kickstart my own Kickstarter:

    Do you love Elf on the Shelf?
    Do you love controlling your children through fear?
    Do you love how you can share how creative you are to all your friends?
    Do you love stealing ideas from Pinterest and Instagram in order to convince your friends and family that you’re creative?
    Do you love pretending it’s actually just about your children?
    Do you love giving power to inanimate objects?
    Do you love doing the above in an “ironic” sense to distinguish you from “those others”?
    And do you love being so ironic that your counter-culture idea, itself, becomes mainstream and bloated?

    Now, don’t you wish you could do all of that year-round, and not just
    during the month of December, when your friends will likely roll their
    eyes to the sudden “yet another” person getting in on the “festivities”?
    Then you’ll LOVE my new idea:

    Cthulhu on a Stool-u…

    All I need is a creative “team” who can make original plushie, yet vaguely terrifying, Cthulhu monsters…

    (below is my “concept art” stolen from Google images. Needs more Elder Signs on the stool…)

    • EcnoTheNeato

      If I raise enough money, maybe I’ll make more Cthulhu friends. Like…Yog on a Log!
      (sorry about the double-post. Tried deleting it but just turned it into a “guest” entry. Maybe it’ll disappear with time!)

    • meteor_echo

      You should consider making Shub-Niggurath. Collect her thousand young and you will get the Mother Goat herself for free – not a bad marketing idea at all :D

    • EcnoTheNeato

      Shub on a…Nub?

      I’ll work on it and get back to you! May or may not produce milk…

    • meteor_echo

      That is Shub in a Tub, dear sir. Packet of strawberry-flavored worshipper blood and a tub should be purchased separately.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I’m in sign me up for the highest donation level. Yesterday my son put his Cthulhu ornament on our tree

  • Simone

    Oh, my god. Thanks for putting up this post, it’s clever, articulate, well-written and everything else. Why are these considered funny? Let’s move a few variables around a bit and see if it’s still funny.

    If the Elf is murdering children – funny then? No? Why not?
    If the Elf is skinning someone alive – still funny? Of course! That shit’s hilarious!
    If the Elf is being violently sodomised by a smiling GI Joe while he’s tied up and in pain? What could be funnier?

    But of course, women’s bodies occupy a unique position in society. They are the ultimate blank canvas, everyone’s possession, everyone’s to use, comment upon, and debase. Brutalising women is the first thing I think of when I want to take some silly staged photos and share the funny with the world!

    Fuck I’m angry.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I sort of feel like getting all elf-creative and recreating my own scenes with the elf. If none of the above images are offensive or upsetting to people (and I am not talking about us here, I am talking about the other people in the internet ether) I can almost promise if I stage ANY of the following scenarios with my elf and posted them to social media I would get a fuckton of down votes:

      an elf breastfeeding in public

      an elf voting for Obama

      an elf performing a marriage ceremony between Barbie and Midge or Ken and GI Joe

      all these would be seen as BAD but wtf let the elf cut a bitch

    • Simone

      I just feel like hiding in a cave for a hundred years and then coming out to see if things are still the same.

  • RCIAG

    I think many of us agree that the Silence of the Lambs & maybe the Dexter one aren’t as horrible as the others.

    But where’ the Elf on Elf violence? That’s what I wanna see because it makes so much more sense.

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  • hidamali

    in that first picture, are those really small pictures of Brangelina and couples with babies? even if it’s just a mtter of perspective, who has that on their wall??

  • DanielCraigForevah

    I’m so glad you wrote about this, Blair. This is an important issue!

  • Jami

    I wonder if it’s not so much that they hate women as they hate Barbie. She gets a bad rap after all for being “bad for young girls’ self esteem” with her “unrealistic body.” (For the record, my self esteem issues have zilch to do with Barbie and everything to do with being bullied for not looking like models.)

    So they’re getting their frustrations out by “killing” Barbie.

  • Steph

    Oh my God, just NO!!! No more! I got to page 5 and went, “Fuck. This. SHIT!!!”

    I feel so dirty…

  • Johnhammer

    You people all need to take a fucking chill pill. Don’t be such faggots about everything

  • canaduck

    Excellent feminist commentary on a bunch of freaky-ass pictures.

  • kat

    Oh please, for once can we just let it be for what it was meant for? A laugh and that is all, please can we stop picking at every little thing making it into something it is not?

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  • Kaitlin Luksa

    … wut.