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Harvard Penis
February 23, 2003 9:43 PM   Subscribe

Did you hear the one about the Harvard girls and the large snow phallus? Oh, and here's the response featuring the memorable line: "it means that we, as women, must be subject to erect penises whether we like it or not."
posted by adrober (114 comments total)

 
I'm torn here... on the one hand, a snow penis is pretty juvenile, and female students have a right not to have their environment sexualized against their will, but on the other hand, I wonder how Amy Keel would have felt if it had been a large snow vulva instead of a a snow penis. Would she still have been outraged, or felt empowered? Probably still outraged, but not enough to destroy it, IMHO. I could be wrong, though.
posted by RylandDotNet at 9:56 PM on February 23, 2003


All this and no photograph?!
posted by swerve at 9:56 PM on February 23, 2003


I have an uncontrollable urge to call someone a meat-tosser.
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:08 PM on February 23, 2003


Some people handle dick better than others.
posted by Down10 at 10:10 PM on February 23, 2003


I, Stan Chin, proudly defend my right to throttle Amy E. Keel with snow projectiles modeled after my own prodigious testicles as a protest against her repression of erect penis.

I will also urinate upon the sexist representation of heavenly angel reliefs in the snowbank, citing my outrage upon the stereotype that all angels wear skirts, and thus only women are favored by God's Grace.

Any attempt by Ms.Keel in the future to produce a snow represention of the anatomically incorrect male figure in the future will result in vandalization by removing the carrot as a 'nose' elaboration, and correctly placing it as a erect cock for her to be subjected to.
posted by Stan Chin at 10:12 PM on February 23, 2003


The sculpture is filth. It graphically portrays parts of the human body which, practical as they may be, are evil.
posted by Ljubljana at 10:17 PM on February 23, 2003


meanwhile, on fark...
posted by condour75 at 10:22 PM on February 23, 2003


Oh. My God.

I know one of the girls who built it. She's my ex. And we are still good friends. And she goes to BU, not Harvard.

This is hilarious. I can't believe it got this big.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:44 PM on February 23, 2003


Some people take life too seriously.
posted by tomorama at 10:55 PM on February 23, 2003


"When I painted 'Fucking Jesus Christ Up the Ass with a 10-Inch Dildo,' I had no idea people were going to be upset."
-Tom Tomorrow
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:57 PM on February 23, 2003


When my dad was at college (late 60s), he made a snowman that looked like it was urinating on the fire hydrant in front of the house. He said he watched a cop walk by, do a double take, stare for a while, and then walk away. Maybe since the snowman was just indicating that he had genitals, rather than flagrantly displaying them, it was acceptable. ;)
posted by fotzepolitic at 11:02 PM on February 23, 2003


We all go to college once or twice in our lives -- well, most of us... Here... I think.

I think we all (see previous four sentences for qualificaction of "all") realize that what's vitally important as a student can seem rather peculiar to people who have lived through that period but are now engaged in different -- but no less important or more ridiculous -- endeavors such as working at jobs, paying off mortgages, and trying to remember not to leave giant icey phalluses around the office.

In other words, I don't think it makes a lot of sense to move out of a glass house and start making fun of people who still live in glass houses. I'd rather live in a glass house than an overpriced apartment for which I have to bill 250 hours a month at a New York law firm. Or maybe I just want to move back into Kirk Hall....
posted by subgenius at 11:07 PM on February 23, 2003


So I guess just standing out in the middle of Harvard Yard with a raging erection would be considered bad taste too.

And what if that giant phallus had been a landmark on some sort of pirate's map? Thirty paces due north of the tremendous ice-wang, and all that. Nobody ever thinks about how their actions will affect pirates.
posted by Hildago at 11:09 PM on February 23, 2003


Always refreshing to (re)discover that there is no real reason to take Harvard seriously. Interesting paradox, though; both the ones who built the thing and the ones who destroyed it seem equally pathetic.
posted by RavinDave at 11:21 PM on February 23, 2003


"female students have a right not to have their environment sexualized against their will".

Wow. I had no idea that this was an exclusively female concern.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:04 AM on February 24, 2003


“It was perfectly within my rights to take down this object which was incredibly offensive to me”

This is where she looses me. I can see complaining to the administrator, or protesting, but to feel it was her right to destroy another’s work, no matter how offensive it maybe, seems to me as just egoistic. IMHO
posted by ambirex at 12:05 AM on February 24, 2003


Check out Amy's Homepage.....

Elsewhere, the Crimson complains that Yale men won't do a full vermonty
posted by quarsan at 12:29 AM on February 24, 2003


but to feel it was her right to destroy another’s work, no matter how offensive it maybe, seems to me as just egoistic

seems to me it was hardly a work of art, as Ms. Keel points out: The penis “sculpture” was not an official Harvard installation, and the men who put it up had no permission to do so.

So some guys thought it'd be cool to create a "tremendous ice-wang" (excellent description, hildago) in the middle of Harvard Yard. Ok, cool, whatever. I used walk around campus turning every picnic table (not nailed or otherwise securely fastened) upside down.

But I'd be hardly offended if someone walked around behind me and put them back up. And neither do the creators of said ice-wang.

This is where the story really becomes amusing to me. Mysterious ice-wang appears, is quickly destroyed, and suddenly it is up to Mr. Jonathan H. Esensten, Executive Director of the Harvard Crimson, to lecture the "cowardly vandals" on the "distinguished history of phallic imagery in art"

But he's not done there. Mr. Esensten proceeds to offer that perhaps the "phallus-breakers"

were reacting with bourgeois conventionality in labeling challenging art as subversive. Or maybe they were acting on some radical women’s liberation agenda that requires the destruction of visible symbols of male virility

He's serious. No, really. He is. Destroying snow art is serious politically commentary. They are making a statement. Really. But don't go anywhere, he's not done yet:

Although the builders of the snow phallus likely took pleasure in the sheer physical presence of the work, this pleasure does not invalidate the artistic merits of the sculpture

Again, he's really serious.

Methinks that the fact that Mr. Esensten feels the need to account for what he evidently feels is the obvious "pleasure in the sheer physical presence" in the "work" reveals quite a bit about Mr. Esensten, not the "cowardly vandals" he's lecturing/chiding.
posted by cohappy at 1:00 AM on February 24, 2003


So if the female students had done a huge sculpture of a body part it would be a protest right?

And if some males had destroyed it, that would have been their fear over a womans body... right?

Of course it would have. Because thats the way some peoples warped sense of reality works. They have decided to be victims and they'll be damned if reality will get in the way.
posted by soulhuntre at 1:09 AM on February 24, 2003


Uh-oh.. another post discussing organs? ;)
posted by Onanist at 1:52 AM on February 24, 2003


Meanwhile, Police field complaint about busty snow woman.
posted by stormy at 1:55 AM on February 24, 2003


The sculpture is filth. It graphically portrays parts of the human body which, practical as they may be, are evil.
posted by Ljubljana at 10:17 PM PST on February 23



Whoa. When we men say that our penises have minds of their own, you know we're just joking, right? The only, possible organ you can write a statement like that about is the brain.
posted by rshah21 at 2:01 AM on February 24, 2003


rshah21: It's a simpsons quote, which was originally about the graphical portrayal of Michelangelo's David's parts of the human body. And yes, that's something you'd need to have tv to know about.
posted by fvw at 2:13 AM on February 24, 2003


oof. I stand corrected. Sorry. Not a gigantic Simpsons fan.
posted by rshah21 at 2:14 AM on February 24, 2003


Thirty paces due north of the tremendous ice-wang, and all that. Nobody ever thinks about how their actions will affect pirates.

A most compelling arrrr-gument, hildago!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:17 AM on February 24, 2003


Students create a big dick in a public area on University grounds. Cool, but a bit juvenile.

Self appointed art critique decides the art is in bad form and decides to "take down this object which was incredibly offensive to me."

Sorry, Amy, that's vandalism. The destruction of 'art' under the excuse of "it created an uncomfortable environment for the women of Harvard University" is really your opinion (or did you read the minds of the all the females on campus).

Make up you mind, you've provided the reason and then created an excuse to justify your destruction.

It's not like it wouldn't go away on it's own.
posted by DBAPaul at 3:31 AM on February 24, 2003


DBAPaul: Wouldn't the Ice Wang itself be considered a form of vandalism? It was placed in a public space, without the consent of those in charge of said space.

By your logic, those who sandblast graffiti are the true vandals.

And if that's your argument, then I might have to agree.
posted by Newbornstranger at 4:06 AM on February 24, 2003


I'm with cohappy as to the right of the sculpture to exist. If said giant ice wang got in the way of my daily commute, I would have felt entitled to dismantle it. I can think of lots of non-pathetic reasons for destroying somebody else's snow sculpture.

At my alma mater, we had an underpass dubbed the Free Expression Tunnel, where lots of people spray painted whatever images and messages they wished. It was understood that one's paint creation had the right to last as long as it took the paint to dry. Those who had various political messages to display would have to guard them if they wanted them to remain intact... As for myself, I brazenly spray-painted a happy birthday stencil over everything in the middle of the night once, to give my boyfriend a nice surprise the next day.

That said, anyone who finds a giant ice wang threatening is someone who needs to be cloistered, as their fragile little minds need protection from the outside world. I do dispute the aesthetic value of the phallus - I find it laughable.

But then, I'm a woman.
posted by meep at 4:14 AM on February 24, 2003 [1 favorite]


Q. How many Harvard girls does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A. THAT'S RADCLIFFE, THAT'S WOMEN, AND THAT'S NOT VERY FUNNY.
posted by PrinceValium at 4:37 AM on February 24, 2003


I'm guessing quite a few people have been exposed to my fews on the human body, so I won't go down that route again...

Yes, it's sad that people are jouvenile enough to need to create a giant dick in out of snow - but then that's partly us as well, because no-one would find a giant bicep childish despite it's randomness.

The idea of destroying a piece of 'art' because it offends you is dangerous in the extreme - who choses what is 'offensive'? It's a process that leads to extreme censorship, and (IMHO) that is a BadThing™.

In reality, it was a bloody dick make of snow. WHo the hell cares in reality? It's a fuss because it was a penis... if it was a candcastle on the beach no-one would have given a damn.
posted by twine42 at 4:39 AM on February 24, 2003


bah. I'm screwed up today... I missed these on writing and two previews... fews=views, jouvenile=juvenile, candcastle=sandcastle. There's probably more, but I'm giving up anyway. ;)
posted by twine42 at 4:44 AM on February 24, 2003


Vandalism...

Stray painting a building is vandalism - it is desruction of property.

Destruction of a construction (regardless) is vandalism unless it's done by the proper authorities, and then it can still be vandalism.

The moulding of snow into an object isn't vandalism.

The placing of an object isn't vandalism. It may well be dumping, flu-tipping or littering, but it's not vandalism.
posted by twine42 at 4:48 AM on February 24, 2003


I read the articles and no one can say anything to convince me that they are not both parodies.

I need to believe that to retain my faith in humanity. (And yes, I would have felt the same way when I was a college student.)
posted by hilatron at 4:56 AM on February 24, 2003


Ever get your tongue stuck to an icicle?
posted by Space Coyote at 5:02 AM on February 24, 2003


Was the motive of the wang-sculptors to create art? Or was it to be funny by making a giant dick in the middle of Harvard campus? Having done a few equally silly pranks in my life, I'm leaning towards the latter.

If the giant ice wang were instead a giant metal wang (complete with veins and giant nuts), and a permanent installation instead of a random ice scultpure, do you honestly think that people would sit back and calmly say, "Ahh. A giant dick. Now that's art!" Doubtful, and it wouldn't just be the fundies or those who are unusually offended by giant genitalia.

Yes, there is a place for giant dick art, in whatever medium, and I'm not a particularly reserved person and I like penises just fine, but I'm not sure I'd want that thing pointed at me on the way to class, or work, or the coffee shop or where ever I was headed. Now, to be perfectly honest, I would be less annoyed by a giant vagina, but fair is fair. I'd readily concede to removing large snow labia to keep daily strolls free of large snow cocks.

So what should some one who found the big ice wang offensive do? Call the authorities, I suppose.
posted by jennyb at 5:06 AM on February 24, 2003


lazaruslong:

This is hilarious. I can't believe it got this big.

*cough*
posted by ODiV at 5:16 AM on February 24, 2003


Some people need to chill.
posted by spazzm at 5:45 AM on February 24, 2003


Just noticed this. Harvard girls? ouch...
posted by ODiV at 5:52 AM on February 24, 2003


I wonder if the person(s) that destroyed the ice wang would destroy a snowman built by 10-year olds if they deemed it "offensive"?

Snowsculptures are pretty innocent. This one was, it seems, crafted with loving care and not maliciously intended.
To destroy the creation of another where it is not necessary, on the other hand, must be said to be a aggressive act.
posted by spazzm at 5:54 AM on February 24, 2003


Amy Keel is clearly not getting any.
posted by BubbaDude at 5:55 AM on February 24, 2003


If the biggest obstacle in her life right now is a wang-sculpture, I wish I had her life.
posted by Karl at 5:55 AM on February 24, 2003


I can't believe we've had no-one announcing Amy Keel is a lesbian yet... ;)
posted by twine42 at 5:58 AM on February 24, 2003


I'm sorry, ice and snow sculpture, like sand castles. Being ephemeral is part of the art process. I'm sure the creators were counting the minutes to its destruction.
posted by Lex Tangible at 6:00 AM on February 24, 2003


Surely there were less destructive ways to symbolically reduce the oppressiveness of the snow phallus. I'd have stuck feathers in it.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 6:07 AM on February 24, 2003


I wonder what the reaction would have been, if the phallus had been made by some religious group as a symbol, say like some sort of lingum, would it have been a "threat" then?

These men felt that it was their right to build this pornographic sculpture whose only purpose could be to assert male dominance.

Didn't someone say that their girlfriend made this, besides, why could its "ONLY PURPOSE" be to "assert male dominance?" Maybe someone likes penises, maybe someone WAS making an artistic statement, maybe someone was building something else and didn't finish, did she build it, so how does she know?

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.

That's sad, I'm sorry, not really sure where sexual assault and sculpture are equated here though. We ARE subjected to penises whether we like it or not. Whether we like it or not around 50% of the people on this earth have them, sorry, but penises are not going anywhere in the foreseeable future, I think it would be a little healthier if we all got used to them, same goes for vaginas, breasts, feet, ears, whatever... Perhaps your fear and discomfort around penises is something that you and your therapist need to work out together because I can assure you that this is not the last one you will have to see in your life, god forbid you should ever decide to have children and end up with a boy.

All right, with that said, you put up a giant cock in the middle of a college campus (as long as its not for some religious purpose) and someone is going to be offended, the artists had to know that going in.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:35 AM on February 24, 2003


Personally I think Amy needs to relax a bit or she's not going to be able to enjoy her life. I fear she'll shorten her lifespan with self-induced stress and related heart disease.

It's sad to see one so young in such an uproar about something so stupid.
posted by Cerebus at 6:53 AM on February 24, 2003


I think the first article was just using the sculpture as an excuse to write an imaginative expository. As for the reply, I don't know. What I do know is this: my penis is no weapon and has never been used as one. Just because this woman was sexually abused by someone who chose to use their cock thusly, does not therefore turn all men's cocks into dangerous weapons or members of shame. Society doesn't have to conform to this one woman's experience or sense of right and wrong. She needs to overcome her self-imposed victimization and live in the real world. Cocks rule and she should worship them.
posted by PigAlien at 7:14 AM on February 24, 2003


btw, pussies rule too! I worship them from a non-sexual distance LOL.
posted by PigAlien at 7:16 AM on February 24, 2003


It could have religious meaning. Warning: "This fertility god is always easily recognizable by his monstrous erect penis."
posted by kirkaracha at 7:18 AM on February 24, 2003


I'm pretty sure the first article had a strong tongue-in-cheek thing going on for it. Amy Keel, and I say this as a proud feminist and taker of Harvard Women's Studies classes, needs to chill.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 7:19 AM on February 24, 2003


Being a fridged penis, you'd think she would have liked it.
posted by stbalbach at 7:19 AM on February 24, 2003


The bit that gets me:

The unwanted image of an erect penis is an implied threat.

Whoa! Hold on there. The image of a penis, regardless of whether it's wanted, is an image of a penis. Penises aren't by their nature, political, in the way that swastikas and Confederate battle flags are. If someone perceives a penis as an implied threat, it seems to me as though that is absolutely their problem and no one else's.

To say that a penile image is obscene is to say that I am forced to view obscenity every time I take a leak.

But then, aren't all knee jerk reactions pretty much like this? We see, read, or overhear something that pushes one of our emotional buttons and we react without thinking. That's all this boils down to. If Ms. Keel were the true liberal she no doubt claims to be, she'd be begging others not to destroy a constitutionally protected example of free speech. Instead, like all blind radicals, she only believes in free speech when it applies to her.
posted by vraxoin at 7:20 AM on February 24, 2003


On the thread about the Tumbling Woman some argued public art should be held to different standards.

This was written: "But putting art criticism aside for a moment, it is utterly uncalled for to put this work in an outside venue -with no spoilers-in an area where people who saw the real thing would see it. If it were in a museum or other area where people would consciously make the choice to view it, that would be another thing entirely. Is this public art any different?"

Is a snow penis any different? I think not, but I also believe the point of public art is to express a view and if some are offended...so be it.
posted by ?! at 7:31 AM on February 24, 2003


By the way, the Harvard Crew has taken credit for the snow penis.

And it wasn't only a student who was upset with the ice schlong: "Women’s Studies Lecturer Diane L. Rosenfeld, who teaches Women, Violence and the Law this semester, said that the implications of the snow phallus go beyond the legitimacy of the statue’s presence.

“The ice sculpture was erected in a public space, one that should be free from menacing reminders of women’s sexual vulnerability,” Rosenfeld wrote in an e-mail yesterday.

"She said the snow penis follows a long line of public phallic symbols, including the Washington Monument and missiles."

I'm waiting for the defense industry to even things up by creating the deadly 54DDD Flying Boobs. Can you imagine the wind-tunnel tests?
posted by ?! at 7:38 AM on February 24, 2003


public phallic symbols, including the Washington Monument and missiles

Calling Dr. Freud! Um, the Washington Monument . . . maybe. But missiles? I'm fairly certain that the people who design missiles do so from the position of "ease of blowing things up" rather than "how much the missile looks like a penis." But then, what do I know? I've got a "menacing reminder of women's sexual vulnerability" hanging between my legs.
posted by vraxoin at 7:52 AM on February 24, 2003 [1 favorite]


Everyone, both men and women (and both Amy and the sculptors), should get over penises. They're just a bit of strange, dangly flesh. They're not weapons, symbols of power or symbols of oppression. They're just flesh.
posted by Summer at 7:52 AM on February 24, 2003


“As a feminist, pornography is degrading to women and creates a violent atmosphere,” she said. Pornography is a feminist?
posted by kcmoryan at 7:55 AM on February 24, 2003


I'm fairly certain that the people who design missiles do so from the position of "ease of blowing things up" rather than "how much the missile looks like a penis."

vraxoin, I tested that theory on my own site a while ago [self-link] where I replaced all references on the word "missile" in a story with... umm... another word. The flow of the article, I feel, gives away the subconscious intent.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:00 AM on February 24, 2003


“The ice sculpture was erected in a public space, one that should be free from menacing reminders of women’s sexual vulnerability,” Rosenfeld wrote in an e-mail yesterday.

"She said the snow penis follows a long line of public phallic symbols, including the Washington Monument and missiles."


The fuh? And why wasn't it a glorious reminder of women's liberation? After all, the movement really got under way when we got the Pill and for the first time in history could enjoy penises without fear of pregnancy.

I thought we were supposed to be taking back our bodies, I thought we were supposed to be celebrating our sexuality, I thought we were supposed to be wresting back power over ourselves instead of leaving that to our fathers and our husbands.

All of this struggle for equal rights, and it can be undone by a couple of guys building a snow dick?? A snow dick is menacing and makes us cower because some bad men misuse their cocks? Sounds to me like the feminist establishment at Harvard needs to get the hell out of school and run back to their daddy's homes, because like hell is that kind of whimpering progress.

Now if you will excuse me, this woman's going to go write some empowering slash fiction. Amy and her friends had better cover their eyes because I'm guaranteed to artfully memorialize not one, but two cocks in text, and they're probably even going to be erect!
posted by headspace at 8:03 AM on February 24, 2003


"The ice sculpture was erected in a public space"

Heh, she said 'erected'
[/fark]

Can I just say something on the pronorgaphy="degrading to women and creates a violent atmosphere" bit? Bull shit. I work in the porn industry... there isn't one model in the place who gets paid less than I do when I am a skilled (!) professional and she is a brainless tart who takes her clothes off. There is nothing being exploited other than a man's willingness to pay money to see naked flesh.

Can someone tell me why it's okay to be a feminist but not to be a chauvinist?
posted by twine42 at 8:08 AM on February 24, 2003


Now if you will excuse me, this woman's going to go write some empowering slash fiction. Amy and her friends had better cover their eyes because I'm guaranteed to artfully memorialize not one, but two cocks in text, and they're probably even going to be erect!

And who will they belong to? Just out of curiosity.
posted by Summer at 8:39 AM on February 24, 2003


Can I just say something on the pronorgaphy="degrading to women and creates a violent atmosphere" bit? Bull shit. I work in the porn industry... there isn't one model in the place who gets paid less than I do when I am a skilled (!) professional and she is a brainless tart who takes her clothes off. There is nothing being exploited other than a man's willingness to pay money to see naked flesh.

Can someone tell me why it's okay to be a feminist but not to be a chauvinist?


Is this satire?
posted by Summer at 8:40 AM on February 24, 2003


No - it's a commentary on the inconsistent ways words are defined/used.
posted by Irontom at 8:50 AM on February 24, 2003


Summer: Probably Lex Luthor and Clark Kent, "Smallville" incarnations. Theirs is the greatest love story since Batman and Robin...
posted by headspace at 8:55 AM on February 24, 2003


"Sometimes a giant snow phallus is just a giant snow phallus." - Freud
posted by adrober at 9:04 AM on February 24, 2003


Irontom - I don't see how. A feminist is someone who believes in equal rights for women. A chauvinist is someone who believes in the superiority of their gender or country.

Headspace - yum.
posted by Summer at 9:06 AM on February 24, 2003


sorry... in my experience feminism may have meant equality, but it now tends to mean the promotion of females over males.

A prime case of recent 'feminism' being employing a woman as father christmas when "best (hu)man for the job" should make just about every male in the country more eligable than even the most talented female.

I guess it's the same as the "hacker" problem... I consider myself a hacker - I hack my way through code to modify it's purpose or it's uasability - but I've never attacked a system in my life.
posted by twine42 at 9:12 AM on February 24, 2003


But Skey said he thinks that at a school like Harvard, jokes can be blown out of proportion.

“Smart kids overanalyze things,” he said.


What exactly does his statement have to do with Harvard undergrad students anyway?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:18 AM on February 24, 2003


“The ice sculpture was erected in a public space, one that should be free from menacing reminders of women’s sexual vulnerability,” Rosenfeld wrote in an e-mail yesterday.

if i might, i would say that the sexual vulnerability is, in this situation, interpreted. if one agrees to that, then one can agree that numerous interpretations may exist and may be equally valid, insofar as one's interpretation goes beyond the fact that there had been standing a large, erect penis.

ms. keel seems rather obtuse, on first blush. she wrote that esensten's claim of cowardly vandalism was absurd; wasn't esensten's very point absurdity? (it seemed to me.)

summer:

Everyone, both men and women (and both Amy and the sculptors), should get over penises. They're just a bit of strange, dangly flesh. They're not weapons, symbols of power or symbols of oppression. They're just flesh.

agreed. the power of the penis is bestowed by the beholder.
posted by moz at 9:19 AM on February 24, 2003


"She said the snow penis follows a long line of public phallic symbols, including the Washington Monument and missiles."

Ummm... Missiles are shaped as they are because it's easier to propel an object to extremely high speeds when it's shaped like a pointy cylinder.

Somehow I don't think subconcious phallic imagery figures into the equations used to design the things.
posted by Cerebus at 9:21 AM on February 24, 2003


twine42 - feminism means what I said it does. Some people who call themselves feminists do stupid, counter-productive things which get press disproportionate to their importance. That doesn't change the meaning of the word feminist.

My hero, Germaine Greer, is very good on the topic of the penis.

Greer stated that she herself had been raped at the age of nineteen. In a move that provoked anger from anti-rape protesters she commented that she "was more afraid of the rapist's fists and his vicious mind" than his penis. "In a sense the penis came to my rescue. Does a man begging for mercy as he is being kicked, feel any less terror and humiliation than I did ? To insist that outrage by penis is worse than outrage by any other means is to glorify and magnify the tag of flesh beyond reason."
posted by Summer at 9:34 AM on February 24, 2003 [1 favorite]


I think that we need to consider context. There is a huge difference between an erect penis in the comfort of you own home on someone you care about, and a giant image of an erect penis in a public location.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:38 AM on February 24, 2003


What next? Hah-vid minority groups complaining because it was a *white* penis?

I am once again reminded of how old I evidently am. I can remember a time and a place where the *administration* of an institution would have said, "Giant snow penis? Sorry, no." Said administration would then have ordered a maintenance crew to knock the thing over when they were out shoveling snow for all the spoiled college kids.

And everyone here who's defending the giant snow penis would have no problem walking past one, or better yet, many, many (the more the merrier) giant snow penises on your way from parking lot to office, or driveway to home. Yarite.
posted by NorthernLite at 9:40 AM on February 24, 2003


Summer - you're correct on the dictionary definitions.

However, in common usage, a certain portion of the "feminist movement" seems to me (and others) about trumpeting the superiority of the female over the male.

please note the qualifiers in that sentence - i am not some raving freeper anti-femi-nazi crusader - these are my impressions of parts of a larger social movement that give me pause

In coarser terms, it seems obvious to me that women in this country, have historically gotten the short end of the stick. Feminism, by the definition quoted above, would seem to be about making sure that nobody gets the short end of the stick. However, it seems that for some feminists, that's not enough - they wish to reverse the situation, either out of a desire for revenge or an ingrained sense of superiority.

Thus, they are in fact chauvinists who cloak themselves in rhetoric that is difficult to challenge without being immediately labelled as a chauvinist (with all the negative, pro-male connotations that it has acquired over the years).

With regards to Ms. Keel, my impression is not that she thinks that men and women are equal in any sense of the word. I do not believe that she would have neither been offended by a giant snow vulva, nor made such strong comments about one.

To quote soulhuntre:
"So if the female students had done a huge sculpture of a body part it would be a protest right?

And if some males had destroyed it, that would have been their fear over a womans body... right?"


The difference in interpretation of identical acts with the words swapped out gets to the root of the irony that twine42 was illustrating. I disagree with much of what he says, but I think he has a point about that specific bit.
posted by Irontom at 9:56 AM on February 24, 2003


There is a huge difference between an erect penis in the comfort of you own home on someone you care about, and a giant image of an erect penis in a public location.

On average, an eight-foot, six-inch difference.
posted by Cyrano at 9:57 AM on February 24, 2003


NorthernLite -

Some of us dont have any problems with human anatomy. I'd be startled, but not offended. Ditto with the hypothetical snow vulva.

Honestly, I'd be a lot less worried about the mental health of the population at large if people could walk past snow sculptures of genitalia without freaking out.
posted by Irontom at 10:00 AM on February 24, 2003


Sure, they're willing to destroy, but are they willing to create? A truly feminist response to a giant snow penis would be to build a giant snow vulva. Those who felt threatened by the giant snow penis could make their snow sex organs even bigger as a refutation to the power of the c0ck.
posted by kindall at 10:11 AM on February 24, 2003


Shit like this is why I went to Arizona State.
posted by padraigin at 10:14 AM on February 24, 2003 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I'd be a lot less worried about the mental health of the population at large if people could walk past snow sculptures of genitalia without freaking out.

I don't see anybody "freaking out" here. No more than when that guy in Cincinnati vandalized a Klan cross installation a few Christmases ago.

Sure, they're willing to destroy, but are they willing to create? A truly feminist response to a giant snow penis would be to build a giant snow vulva. Those who felt threatened by the giant snow penis could make their snow sex organs even bigger as a refutation to the power of the c0ck.

There are some problems with this. The first being that they don't symbolize the same things.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:25 AM on February 24, 2003


I think they should have painted snarling shark's teeth on it.

Something tells me that the students and professors at Harvard do not have enough to do.
posted by moonbiter at 10:28 AM on February 24, 2003


"Shit like this is why I went to Arizona State."

I see your point. No snow.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:28 AM on February 24, 2003


A message to Amy Keel:

I am sorry you were hurt. However, when do you choose to stop living as a victim? I made that choice about 10 years ago and am much happier for it.

A man can make a fist; so can you. If you see his fist does that mean he's threatening you? What if it's raised in affirmation? What if it's merely a closed hand holding in something tight? Or does body language and context mean nothing?

So a man has a penis. You have breasts and a vagina. Celebrate all three! They can all be symbols of power, life or beauty. Yes, Amy, the penis is a beautiful part of the body. It's as natural as your vagina which is as powerful as the penis.

Most of all. Allow yourself to heal. Stop looking for ways to issue more pain to yourself.
posted by onhazier at 10:29 AM on February 24, 2003


Trying to include a phallic ice sculpture under the heading "violence against women," as Keel does, is trifling, unserious, and pretty damn disrespectful towards women who have experienced and survived actual violence.

Also, and others in the thread have touched upon this, if someone had built a huge ice-vagina on Harvard's campus, not only wouldn't anyone have taken it down, you probably wouldn't have had anyone writing angry letters to the editor about it, and you'd likely have guys and gals lining up to have their pictures taken with their tongues stuck to the thing. What's more, if someone had smashed this great frosty twat, you'd probably see a huge uproar over "violence against womyn" or some such, with demonstrations, marches, speeches, bad poetry, etc.
posted by Ty Webb at 10:54 AM on February 24, 2003


snow phallus
ice dick
snow penis
frigid penis


ALL WRONG!

It is an ice wang, people. An ice wang. Calling it anything else is insulting, incorrect and blasphemous.

And not quite as amusing.
posted by chiheisen at 10:56 AM on February 24, 2003


I don't really understand this at all. How is it "art?" It's just snow. The creators had to expect it would be destroyed the next day, if not by students than by administration. How long would it have really lasted out there anyway? Nothing to get bent out of shape about. Snow and ice are temporary mediums.
posted by agregoli at 10:59 AM on February 24, 2003


I think if you categorize both the initial sculpture and the reaction as "Performance Art" and treat the articles as "Manifestos" it becomes clearer, agregoli.

This reminds me of the 1985 movement by the NYC group of women artists and writers called the Guerilla Girls who likened to rant incessantly about the injustices of sexual discrimination at art schools back then, said "When we attack something, we want hat we're saying to be heard, not who's saying it."

How about that Contemporary Art education folks? Comes in handy after all.
posted by Stan Chin at 11:14 AM on February 24, 2003


But do you really think the creators of this went about it with those lofty performance art ideas? I seriously doubt it. This was brought up in the article as a means of making their act seem more important, too important to be destroyed. It brought a whole political component to the situation that wasn't originally intended, methinks. Silly.
posted by agregoli at 11:18 AM on February 24, 2003


But do you really think the creators of this went about it with those lofty performance art ideas?

No, they thought they were making a stupid Ice Wang as a dumb joke and of course expected somebody to knock it down, because it was dumb. Keel didn't get the joke, she knocked it down because she saw it as a symbol of male domination and of female victimization. Esenstein wrote a mocking article to make light of the whole situation, which didn't help, but was meant to satirize the whole scene. Again Keel didn't get the joke, she felt like she needed to defend her stance, a noble position sure, but being as how she missed the point of the frosty phallus in the first place, a little misguided. Does that clear anything up?
posted by Pollomacho at 11:35 AM on February 24, 2003


Oh, and you're right, silly indeed.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:37 AM on February 24, 2003


Obviously, Keel had these political feelings about it from the start, but her only "political act" was to knock it down. After the written piece by one of the creators, she responded with her views. I find this whole thing very much blown out of proportion, but I did take issue with Esenstein's article - if I hadn't knocked down the sculpture, I would still have felt it necessary to write some sort of response to the paper. And I can't blame Keel for wanting to explain her side of the whole business.


I guess the moral is, be careful when snow/ice sculpting, children! And get back to studying, already!
posted by agregoli at 11:42 AM on February 24, 2003


Again, much as I support the right to Big Ass Coffee, I also support the introduction of a giant penis sculpture at every corner, preferably lining the sidewalks of Disneyland's Main Street.

Guess what, kids? We men have penises. And women have vulvas. Get used to it.

The more I hear about this kind of prudishness (and, even more so, the wholly serious deconstruction behind it), the less proud I am to be an American.
posted by ed at 11:43 AM on February 24, 2003


Respect the Ice Wang!
posted by owillis at 11:52 AM on February 24, 2003


owillis: Sure, here I thought you were giving us an actual link to the actual phallus of frozen fluid. *sigh*
posted by Plunge at 12:01 PM on February 24, 2003


Well again, arn't we missing a bit of cultural context here? Everyone has a middle finger as well but a middle finger with the other fingers turned down is more than just a finger in American culture.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:09 PM on February 24, 2003


Great, so we can't have sculpture of fingers either now? A cross in the church is OK, a cross in a school is frowned upon, a cross on fire in someone's front yard definitely a symbol of mal intent. Does that automatically make all crosses bad ones? A penis can be used to rape, a penis can be used to create life, a penis can be used to urinate, and penis can be used for pleasure (yes, even for feminists), a penis can even be used in religious context or in a work of art. A slush schlong, on a college campus was probably not meant to evoke deep emotions, it was probably not meant to victimize women or to show the dominance of males in society, it was probably just an ice wang, ein gefrorene wurst, a frosty phallus, a juvenile joke. Making this out to be a burning cross in Mississippi is silly, it was an snow penis sculpture and somebody thought it was rude, shake your head, say, "you dumb asses, didn't you know better," take it down, go home, the end.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:46 PM on February 24, 2003


A truly feminist response to a giant snow penis would be to build a giant snow vulva. Those who felt threatened by the giant snow penis could make their snow sex organs even bigger as a refutation to the power of the c0ck.

Even better, they build the giant snow vulva and recruit plenty of sister-friend wymyn who are in the midst of mentruation, keeper-cups full of Antietam-red blood, and have them decorate it, splashing about thusly.

And then the men can savagely circle-jerk around the ice-wang, allowing both genders to unleash the fury of their existences, short-comings, and victim badges. Or something.
posted by keli at 12:52 PM on February 24, 2003


Big deal. People at my college built a gigantic snow penis (named Lenny) years ago, right by the honors dorm, and many of the people involved were female, btw. It was destroyed by the next day (which happened to be a family visitation type day), but not until after we got lots of pictures.
posted by dagnyscott at 2:01 PM on February 24, 2003


pictures? Dagny, you tease!
posted by Pollomacho at 2:05 PM on February 24, 2003


I think a better thing for Keel to do would have been to lop the top off the top of the sculpture and remove about 6 feet of wang, then reattach the top. Nothing will defuse the symbolic power of a raging ice wang like making it look like it's a flaccid ice wang.

Six Feet of Wang is Russel Crow's band, isn't it?
posted by Hildago at 3:14 PM on February 24, 2003


---please note: not safe for viewing at your local library ---

pollomacho, et. al: You want pictures of the great frozen scholong, the snow penis, the ice wang, the frozen rope, the mighty, mighty muscle of slush? Well, I had no idea they were so common.

Evidently people don't post pictures of their snow vulvas. I found some snow breasts though.
posted by ?! at 3:43 PM on February 24, 2003


(applause)
posted by swerve at 4:26 PM on February 24, 2003


Wow, I was reading this thread, chuckling too myself until Keli's comment made me shudder... some images I just don't need in my head...
posted by Plunge at 4:54 PM on February 24, 2003


The shoe on other foot.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:58 PM on February 24, 2003


The woman in the pic eustace provides to us isn't busty, is she? Boy, standards have dropped since I last looked at boobies.
posted by WolfDaddy at 5:07 PM on February 24, 2003


Just for the record, I modeled for several of the above linked snow penis pictures. Thank you.
posted by adrober at 5:16 PM on February 24, 2003


I wanted to model for all of the above ice wang pictures but there just wasn't enough snow...
posted by cup at 5:45 PM on February 24, 2003


adrober: Sorry, in my haste to post I accidently cut off the "Model: adrober" lines.

Oh, and the 10' sculpture = 1" actual scales.


Please forgive me. I couldn't resist.
posted by ?! at 6:18 PM on February 24, 2003


Meanwhile, at Rochester Institute of Technology...
posted by emmling at 6:34 PM on February 24, 2003


thanks emmling. i'll be sending that pic to my fellow alumni.
posted by goddam at 7:18 PM on February 24, 2003


adrober, you may want to have all those loose twigs poking out of your nuts looked at by a doctor. Or at least a gardener.
posted by Hildago at 9:42 PM on February 24, 2003


Haha... I would, Hildago, but then where would the crabs...I mean birds live?
posted by adrober at 10:30 PM on February 24, 2003


Maybe they should have built it with wood . . .
posted by bwg at 11:30 PM on February 24, 2003


Keel didn't get the joke, she knocked it down because she saw it as a symbol of male domination and of female victimization. Esenstein wrote a mocking article to make light of the whole situation, which didn't help, but was meant to satirize the whole scene. Again Keel didn't get the joke, she felt like she needed to defend her stance, a noble position sure, but being as how she missed the point of the frosty phallus in the first place, a little misguided. Does that clear anything up?

This is a problem feminists have been facing for some time. As soon as you get angry, you've lost. It may well be that if she was sexually abused, this sculpture was unnecessarily painful for her. Unfortunately once you've shown yourself to be offended you're on the side of the humourless and the prudish. The only option really is to refuse to be offended.
posted by Summer at 2:58 AM on February 25, 2003


There is always the option to knock it down and move on. It was juvenile, it was stupid and I'm sure that the builders knew full well that someone was going to knock it down. The option not to overreact is always available to anyone on any side of any debate. She has every right to be angry, offended, saddened, whatever, her opinion and feelings are valid, referring to a snow sculpture as a symbol of male dominance and female subjugation is over reacting. Saying "it was an eye sore and I knocked it down because it bothered me" is a much more rational argument, if for no other reason, it sounds less paranoid and strikes a less knee jerk reaction from the other side, remember, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Calmly debating that the sculpture bothered you is going to elicit a much calmer reaction from the opposition, saying it is an obvious attempt by the "oppressor class" to subjugate women through symbolic imagery of forced sex, is only going to get you called a paranoid femi-nazi by those who don't agree. Its not anger that loses a debate its irrational arguments.

One could say that radical feminism has a tendency to view those who do not agree whole heartedly as the enemy, of course this is true with any radical movement (if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem). This seems to turn people off quite a bit and elicits a larger negative reaction. Perhaps radicals feel that polarization is what defines the battle lines, but perhaps they are only alienating a majority of people, and at least for now we are a semblance of a democracy so a majority is needed to make any progress towards any goal. I would have to believe that a large majority of Americans are in favor of absolute equal rights for women and men in this country, yet something as simple as an ERA can't get through because of the negative reaction elicited by radical feminists.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:13 AM on February 25, 2003


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