Sunday, April 06, 2008

The gift that keeps on giving me the creeps.


Honey,

First of all, thank you so much for the lovely panties. They are so comfortable and cute too! I have to say, though, I’ve been concerned about your behavior lately. I mean, when I was jogging in the woods and you were suddenly there, it kind of creeped me out. And then when you burst into that job interview it was pretty humiliating. I mean, how did you know I was there? It was a good thing I had determined I didn’t want the position (though I was still really nervous…always am at those things) because I’m pretty sure you freaked out the CEO and he wouldn’t have hired me anyway.



Okay, this week you must indulge me, gentle La Bloga readers. Like my earlier “priestcake-calendar” entry, this is one of those “products that just vex me” columns. Occasionally I come across a creation that brings out the sociologist in me, something that allows me to ponder about the state of modern society. Well, if I were to judge our future on the Forget-Me-Not panties I would have to say we are doomed.

I found the site by mistake, I was searching for the phone number for my favorite shop in Johnson, Vermont—the Forget-Me-Not-Shop—and I pulled up this site: http://forgetmenotpanties.com/ The first thing I saw was the seductive photo of the panty clad woman with the ray-emitting flower appliqué. As you can imagine, I was intrigued. And that image…was the flower giving off heat? Massaging her hip? Despite these questions I was about to head back to google when the tagline “protect her privates” caught my eye. Needless to say, I read further.

“Ever worry about your wife cheating? Want to know where your daughter is late at night?”

And my personal favorite:

“Need to know when your girlfriend’s temperature is rising?”

Turns out, it is a pair of attractive brief-cut cotton underwear with a decorative flower that is actually a GPS device that can provide the wearer’s location, temperature and heart rate. Temperature and heart rate…I felt my own ticker pickup its pace with a touch of anger.

“Make sure you will never be forgotten,” it promises.

Now being a marketing professional, I delved further. How does one sell this kind of despicable, personal-liberty-stealing product? The section called “testimonials” give two examples. The first the one I can understand slightly, a father who was concerned about his teenage daughter’s safety after she spent many late nights out. Concern I understand, invasion of privacy I don’t. This goes way beyond reading her diary or rummaging through her purse (neither of which I condone). To top it off, his testimonial attests that the only improvement he suggested for the product was a video camera. I have no words.

The second testimonial was from a man who suspected his wife of cheating on him, which of course, she was. I mean, how creepy would it be to hear about a guy who tracked his wife through her panties and found out she was faithful? That wouldn’t sell too many bloomers, I’ll tell you that!

Okay, so as you’ve surmised, this is not a subject I’m on the fence about. It’s not the GPS, I mean we give our kids cell phones we can track, but it’s the deception that bothers me. Truth be told, I find this whole thing so disturbing it is almost beyond comment. I mean, why not added a banner that says, “Great for the stalker on your Christmas list!” or, “Paranoid? Delusional? Have we got the product for you!”

At this point I find myself asking, what is my raison d’etre for this blog entry? Is it enough to rant and rave about a bizarre and offensive product? Perhaps, but as I reflect on my need to tell you about this find I realize that it is more than that, more than a sociological study. I fear that we risk losing our dignity, our humanity when we give in to our darkest thoughts. There are always marketers out there to prey upon our anxieties, our innermost fears and insecurities. And if we are distrustful of our partners or our children and unable to confront them in a healthy and respectful manner, will we reduce ourselves to buying underwear that track their whereabouts and body temperature? Have we really sunk this low?

I’m being preachy you say? Yes, you’re right, and I apologize. I had intended this to have more humor, but honestly the forget-me-not panties frighten me. As they should you. And ladies, if your husband or partner gives you a pair of lingerie with an odd little appliqué on them, put them on the dog and set him loose through the neighborhood. But be sure to invite me to watch when the gift giver finds out he has been monitoring a mutt’s adventures through the neighborhood streets. I’m sure I could sell tickets, in fact.

P.S. My nephew Jedediah just informed me that this is a hoax created by pantyraiders.org "girls ambushing the media." (read the comments) Guess I got duped! As an art project this is so effective, I mean look at the depth of feeling they got in my reaction. Very powerful. I am not someone who is easily duped, I am often the one who sends you back the email about the toilet spiders or fake tsunami pictures and directs you to urbanlegends.about.com, but the fact that you have to go down so many layers to discover this is a hoax is brilliant (of course I did that once I found out). You click on order, then it gives you a selection of models of panties, and when you click on one, you get a note that flashes at you that says "Gotcha!" and gives the pantyraiders.org address. You should visit the site, it's fascinating.
As I said in my comment, what does it say to those people who actually click on the button with the full intention of ordering a pair? I would hope it makes them reflect.
Gente, this is what art is about.

5 comments:

Jedediah Baker said...

Just a heads up, but the ForgetMeNot Panties are a hoax. They are not a real product. It's a joke.

If you click on Order Now, it takes you to another page, and if you roll over the images of panties, a banner pops up that says GOTCHA! (pantyraiders.org). Clicking on that brings up a page where they describe who they are and why they made up this product.

"If you thought Forget Me Not Panties were real, you got duped, but you aren't stupid. We had over 300 distribution requests and 90% of the press we got never figured out the "GPS panties" was really an art project. We even created a fake PR company to handle the press that suddenly bombarded our inbox." - from the site

Just wanted to let you know. I am an Internet-sleuth.

(Also, I clicked on Order Now because I was suspicious of the product, not because I was ordering a pair for my girlfriend.)

Ann Hagman Cardinal said...

Thanks Jed, for saving face for your dear Tia. What's so interesting about this art project is that in order to find out it is a hoax you have to click order. Then the person who really was trying to order them is forced to reflect on that action. I mean, to me that is what art should be about. I'm so impressed by these women and this piece.

Anonymous said...

sure, jed, that's what you were doing, sleuthing.

mvs

Andrea said...

Whether or not the panties are a hoax your point still stands! Nicely done.

So if you take a GPS out of a car where do you install it on the dog?

feministsunite said...

hey! this is leba from the panty raiders...thanks so much for this blog, i love the graphics! we should add them to the site!

we are doing some new projects with the panty raiders, so email us if you would like to get involved!

we have done a few other sites, my favorite of which is plasticassets.com, but the panties is our namesake :)

thanks la bloga, for your insightful feminist response.

PEACE
leba