I, Amy Elise Keel, proudly own up to the fact that it was indeed me—with my roommate—who dismantled the obscene snow penis “sculpture” in Tercentenary Theater. To call this a “cowardly act of vandalism,” as does Jonathan H. Esensten ’04 in his opinion piece, is absurd (Comment, “The Broken Phallus of Harvard Yard,” Feb. 19).
The penis “sculpture” was not an official Harvard installation, and the men who put it up had no permission to do so. It was perfectly within my rights to take down this object which was incredibly offensive to me. As a student of Harvard University, neither I, nor any other woman, should have to see this obscene and grossly inappropriate thing on my way to class. No one should have to be subjected to an erect penis without his or her express permission or consent.
Many women and men, including myself, are the victims of sexual assault, child sexual abuse and rape. The unwanted image of an erect penis is an implied threat; it means that we, as women, must be subject to erect penises whether we like it or not. There was nothing “challenging” or “subversive” about the penis. The only thing it did was create an uncomfortable environment for the women of Harvard University.
Once again-—what my roommate and I did was not cowardly, but instead quite brave.
This penis was not the “symbol of peace,” of which Esensten writes in his comment. These men felt that it was their right to build this pornographic sculpture whose only purpose could be to assert male dominance. I am dismayed that The Crimson chose to both publish the picture of the snow penis and Esensten’s commentary, both of which were extremely offensive.
Amy E. Keel ’04
Feb. 20, 2003