Last Thursday evening, after a photo circulated on mainstream media of a group of off-campus Brock bros with a sign that read, “Honk If You’re Dropping Off Your Daughter”, a group of young women confronted motorists with signs of their own: One of signs said, “Show us your dicks (Chop! chop!)” with a large illustration of a pair of scissors. The image was then posted to Rose DV’s Facebook page, and was supported and defended by those close to the feminism community.
One wrote, “I wish they had invited me, and more women across Brock who feel the same threats when we walk around at night or participate in the drinking culture (that our school embraces so fondly) to join them. More voices need to start speaking up about what is going on here.. I think here is a lot of silencing going on when it comes to sexual assault on Canadian campuses. Drastic times call for drastic measures. Plus the threat of having your dick cut off is very much less real than the threat these men posed by proudly holding this sign.”
However, this “counter action” was viewed by some with derision and disdain because its message is blatantly violent. The image was posted to Overheard At Brock. Predictably, one comment said That escalated quickly, and another wrote, “Honk if you don’t want violence threatened against men at Brock.”
A commenter wrote, “I hope Brock reacted the same with these chicks as they did with those guys. Actually these girls are actually threatening violence so i hope they get an even stiffer punishment.”
That question — was there an intervention from security upon the women — was why I followed-up with Brock University.
When I asked via email, Brock University communications rep Jeff Sinibaldi told The BUG and BrockTV, “This second incident was brought to the attention of Brock’s Campus Security and they responded immediately a little after 7 p.m. last Thursday night (Sept. 4). The one sign you mention was offensive and, when asked by Campus Security to do so, the individuals immediately took it down and we’re co-operative. They then peacefully remained for about 40 minutes.”
I made the inquiry at the time of the incident, but decided then not proceed with publishing a story then. I saw no value in discussing nor critiquing the image, although I did prepare a few paragraphs for a wouldbe editorial which asked “What world exists between these two images?” I didn’t know how to answer the question, and I still don’t, so I shelved the piece.
The only reason I’m publishing anything about it now is because the image re-appeared again this week in The Brock Press, and in a very problematic way.
Where I prepared to publish the image — with permission of the photographer — and did research with the University to find out the rest of the story and then decided it was best for me not to publish it … The Brock Press published the image without permission, without research, and without providing any context as to what the image contains.
In fact, it was inserted into a Letter to the Editor which had nothing at all to do with the image itself. The letter talks about how men shouldn’t degrade sex by pursuing it as if it were a “win”. It’s about intimacy, respect and love, and did not even mention the image which is included with it.
Actually, the other story on the page which highlighted “ways Brock is keeping you safe”, did mention the reaction, in passing.
The author of the Letter to the Editor, Memin Boyajian posted to his Facebook
“I did not send that photo of the counter-protest with my article. I think it is very inappropriate of Brock Press to use that photo with my article without asking permission either from me or more importantly the women in the photo. I think it also defeats my purpose of being accessible and not freaking people out. I’m not happy with it.”
He told me, “I did not [contact Brock Press] but I talked to Rose. In fact she messaged me to ask if I submitted the photo myself. She said that she was going to complain so I didn’t contact them. It’s more offensive to her (and to the other two women on the photo) than it is to me. Their photo is being used without their permission after all.”
That Letter to the Editor would have been much better served by something like this.
So, what does it mean? At bare minimum, it’s shows a level of inexperience and — worse — thoughtlessness with the Layout Editor and management of the Brock Press. What in the world are they doing printing such a charged image without any thought for its significance? #BrockPressProblems
There’s nothing wrong with printing the image. There’s something wrong with not telling us the rest of the story. #ThatsWhyGadfly
Exhibit A: “Honk If You’re Droppin’ Off Your Daughter”
Exhibit B: “Show Us Your Dicks (Chop Chop!)”
* Image used by The BUG with permission of the photographer. It was shared to Facebook, but the post was subsequently deleted or removed from public privacy settings, but I grabbed a screen shot before that. The woman on the left shared the image with the following message: