When is doing an action to honor something considered a dishonor and therefore okay?
I one time heard a story that happened in Poland in the 18th century. The king was coming to town and it was considered an honor to take off your Yarmulke and bow to him. The people of the town asked the Rav what should they do, as they felt it was inappropiate to take off their Yarmulke. The Rav said what is the problem - You wear a Yarmulke to show that you fear Hashem - You take it off for the king and show "From you I am not afraid".
I suspect this isn't it, but nonetheless:
There's the question about why Barbie dolls and the like don't fit the definition of "idols" -- a human figurine that's treated well -- IIRC it's said from R' Moshe that having a 4-year-old girl playing with it is in fact disgracing it! (Well okay then there's her big brother ripping its head off ...)
(Though you could also argue that Barbie is shaped more like a pencil than a human being, and the problem is only human forms ...)