A lovely friend shared this comment with me after reading my It was supposed to be a fun snow day. And it was. Mostly. post. I want to share it because her words captured a lot of my own feelings. If I could go back in time I would phrase the question I pinned to the banner this way. When I left my house about an hour after leaving the sign and banner it was already gone. So maybe I could still put this question there. I don’t know if that is safe though, now that they know someone has already publicly objected and might be on the lookout for more messages. But here it is what my friend wrote:
Hey Emily. This is truly disgusting and I’m really glad you did not let it go, because it is so important to react. I just want to note that I really dislike the “what if this was your mother, sister etc.” rhetoric around responding to misogyny, because it seems to say that it’s ok to define women only in relation to men. The true question is “what if this was you?” Why can’t we ask men to empathize directly with women, not with their male relations? The point is that this is a human being you are portraying, not just something another man may care about. I’m still really glad that you chose to respond, because again I think the most important thing is that they know people aren’t just going to let this slide. So please know that, whatever my feelings on your exact rhetoric, you have all my support and love in your stand against misogyny.
I am grateful to her for articulating some of my discomfort with the initial question. I couldn’t put a finger on why it bothered me. I just want them to recognize the humanity we all share. I want them to recognize they wouldn’t put themselves in that situation of helplessness (well, maybe they enjoy being in a similar position in the bedroom but I bet they would not accept being in the exact position they depicted the snow woman. Defenseless and bereft of dignity).