Phallus Just a Phallus

Letter to the Editors

To the editors:

As a heterosexual, male college student, I couldn’t help but feel somewhat insulted by Amy E. Keel’s perspective on the “snow phallus” (News, “Ruined Snow Penis Stimulates Debate,” Feb. 24). It was a bit of a childish prank, certainly, but even the young men who constructed it readily admitted that.

Now, I consider myself a feminist. My girlfriend considers herself a feminist. And yet, neither of us feels particularly threatened by the so-called “constant reminders” of the “power of the symbol of the male genitalia.” Indeed, I hardly think about my own, most of the time. My impression of Keel is that she has not yet recovered from the (understandable) trauma of her rape, and is instead choosing to use her feminist beliefs to hide her discomfort with her own sexuality. I find it sad that Keel’s situation is not even unique. It has become fashionable, in this day and age, to champion our emotional baggage, and use it to define ourselves as individuals.

Keel, I apologize, but Freud was right: sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes a nine-foot-tall snow erection is just a nine-foot-tall snow erection. Missiles have nothing to do with this, nor does the Washington Monument. As for the phallic implications of those particular images, that’s up for discussion. Militant feminism is past its prime, and getting worked up over matters as trivial as this only makes things worse. It was a juvenile college-boy prank, nothing more. Deal with it.

Seth Marlin

Marquette, Mich.

Feb. 27, 2003

The writer is an undergraduate at Northern Michigan University.