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Statue Not 'Menacing'

Letter to the Editors

By William A. Johnson

To the editors:

Feminism is a worthwhile advocacy agenda, given society’s history of male dominance. Unfortunately, in any group, a few reckless loudmouths can tarnish the entire movement’s image. Lecturer in Women’s Studies Diane L. Rosenfeld is one of those individuals (News, “Ruined Snow Penis Stimulates Debate,” Feb. 24).

Her assertion that vertical lines in architecture and other construction pay homage to male sexual superiority is, phrased delicately, extremely poorly reasoned. I would not expect a humanities professor to be familiar with advanced physics, but a dim awareness of gravity as it applies to collapsing buildings should fit within the scope of the debate.

Furthermore, as Rosenfeld herself noticed, the snow statue was built in “a public space.” Barring an active assault by the sculpture, her description of the object as “menacing” is highly subjective at best. Given our nation’s historically vigorous defense of freedom of expression, the burden of proof lies with Rosenfeld to explain what distinguishes this snow sculpture from, for example, a painting of the Virgin Mary with feces smeared across it (a piece no doubt “menacing” to Christians, but nonetheless protected under law). Her statements offer nothing to support her position.

William A. Johnson

Franklin, Ind.

Feb. 27, 2003

The writer is an undergraduate at Franklin University.

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