I’m sure this family’s idea for a Christmas card photo seemed a lot funnier in their heads.
The latest internet outrage is this viral photograph, now deleted by Facebook, taken by Louisiana-based photographer Hannah Hawkes. It shows a wholesome-looking family of five grouped between pine trees, the mom and two little girls with their arms bound by a string of Christmas lights and their mouths covered with green duct tape, while the dad holds up a “Peace on Earth” sign and the little boy gives a thumbs up behind them.
The photo was shared hundreds of times before it was taken down, as angry commenters said the picture promoted violence against women or at least the idea that girls should be seen and not heard. This was countered by a bunch of “why can’t you people take a harmless joke!” plus one comment I saw about how all these complaining liberals would be perfectly happy if the mom had ABORTED THOSE KIDS, WOULDN’T YOU (oh my god, calm down). Basically it was as loud and unproductive as viral Facebook discussions usually are.
My reaction to this picture is a weary “ehhhhhhh, whatever.” Girls never shut up, am I right? Not like little boys, they’re never noisy and annoying. (Also the way they’re posed just looks weird - like the War on Christmas has developed a very festive hostage situation.) But if I or any of my liberal-minded friends had received this picture in a Christmas card, we would probably just roll our eyes and chalk it up to having perfectly nice but sometimes weird relatives who we should probably have a quiet word with later. It’s only when it becomes an anonymous Facebook post on an official company page that it becomes a reason to get out the pitchforks.
Hawkes has since replied to the controversy on Facebook:
After being silent, now isn't that ironic, I would like to speak! I have been called every name in the book, and have received some very hateful and vulgar comments and messages. I would like to say that as a female I do NOT and have never promoted violence to women! I do not support abuse, or the degradation of women. My controversial photo was taken by request by the family, and was in no way meant to promote abuse. This photo was taken with humor in mind, and was meant as a comical Christmas photo. I personally know this family, and have known them for many years. They are not abusive to their children in any shape or form. Also, I would like to add that no one was harmed during the process! So everyone have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and MAY GOD BLESS you and yours!
Let’s hope that family’s holiday season hasn’t been too rattled by having their picture splashed everywhere, and that everyone has a second thought or two about the ideas we put in children’s heads about how girls and women should be treated.