Some Wellesley students upset at near nude statue of sleepwalking Vladimir Putin

The Globe reports the director of the campus museum considers it a good thing the statue has provoked discussion, even if some of that discussion consists of just how "troubling" sleepwalking man is.



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      Tighty Whitey's

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      I don't get it. I walk through there in my underwear all the time.

      Usually I get a standing ovation. NO one ever complains.

      Maybe it's because of the choice of underwear.

      I rarely WEAR underwear but when I do it's usually something unusual.

      I don't see what the problem is?

      Other than perhaps motorists thinking there's a guy in his undies staggering around Wellesley, causing them to drive their BMW while clutching pearls AND texting causing a car accident.

      Who doesn't expect this sort of image on a college campus?

      it's okay for flash-mobs of live people riding the T in their underwear but a statue of a guy in his tightie whiteys? Oh the horror!!!


      I don't know Wellesley's campus at all

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      and the article does say it is in a high traffic area, but it could be a bit unnerving to come across it you are walking alone late at night. Even if you do know the statue exists.

      The petition has about 350 signatures. The college has about 2,400 students, plus alumnae, faculty, staff, etc. It's hardly like the entire school is outraged. I would have been more surprised if no one complained about it.

      Any art that causes fear to

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      Any art that causes fear to some observers should be removed?
      Welcome to a world of pabulum (and free of clowns).


      Is this like someone making

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      Is this like someone making fun of all the "like" used in modern chat, especially by the under 30 set, or is this from a genuine like young lady OR SOMETHING?

      Creepy would be a ski mask

      Dress the guy in a black balaclava or a flasher's raincoat for actual troubling. He could also be a walking advertisement for Ambien. The outstretched arms scream for zombification makeup and disheveled attire. How about a Bill Clinton or other Halloween mask? Some woman at Wellseley should be able to sew an outfit on him, no?

      The only creative response by students of an elite college is a petition? This is a tragedy, the need for remedial creativity and fun classes.


      What? Is the statue erect or something?

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      I think the administrators of Wellesley College need to have an intervention to explain to the ladies who feel threated, harassed and/or assaulted by the statue that first and foremost, it is only a statue (one can debate the artistic merits of such at another time) and second, it is only a statue and third, yes, you guessed it, it is only a statue.

      I mean what is going to happen if, when they are released from Wellesley, they actually run into a living man who may or may not be wearing white briefs? I shudder at the thought.


      This is an odd case

      I like to consider edge cases.

      Consider a statue depicting a triumphant Rwandan soldier with his boot on the neck of a starving and beaten villager, displayed prominently at a campus where a number of survivors of the Rwandan genocide are enrolled as students.

      But this is not like that, unless you believe some combination of the following:

      1. Images of males are inherently threatening (this statue portrays a male as physically unimposing and in somewhat of a weak posture rather than an aggressive or threatening one.
      2. That the ranks of women are replete with psychologically fragile creatures who need to be protected from the world (The use of the word "triggering" refers to this line of argument, which has gained traction in some feminist circles)
      3. Anybody has an inherent right to a world free of images he or she finds disturbing or offensive

      I believe that, on balance, in this case, standing in opposition to "let's rid the world of things somebody might find offensive" trumps making life a little easier for a few people with psychological damage. In the hypothetical Rwandan statue case, I would probably argue the other side.



      This is the most reasonable comment I have seen so far.

      The gist? Yeah, we should be concerned about offensive and/or triggering stuff sometimes, and context does matter, but in this case the concern seems pretty absurd and unfounded. Seems like the most reasonable position to take on this issue.

      Wellesley Alum

      are still upset that no statue was erected in memory of Fawn Liebowitz who tragically perished in a kiln explosion in 1962. This stunt merely opens old wounds.


      Related how?

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      Get a kickstarter page or similar for fundraising for a memorial.
      It seems a noble idea.

      How is this temporary installation to promote an exhibit related to a 50-year-old tragedy?

      Fawns brother in law

      Kent Dorfman raised hundreds for her memorial years ago only to be shunned by the school due to some shenanigans he was involved with during his college days.



      He married Fawn's sister Hillary also a Wellesley grad in 1969. They divorced and she married again. Think his name was Bill.

      From the archives

      WOUNDED DEER, Massachusetts – Emily Dickinson College sophomore Fawn Liebowitz died suddenly last week in a kiln explosion on campus. Liebowitz, 20, a sociology major from Fort Wayne, Indiana, was tragically killed while firing a pot in the new kiln in Sylvia Plath Hall. “Messy” was how Wounded Deer Fire Chief Michael Redman described the scene of the accident. “It was hard to tell the pot shards from the body parts,” said the pyrodefense professional. “She just blew like a frog sucking on a cherry bomb,” Redman added.



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      You just need to stick with the original joke and not try to keep it going.

      That sounds pretty painful.

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      That sounds pretty painful. so I can see why you might not want to try again.
      But gain contacts with the ceramics department and try again or fund a scholarship in ceramics.
      Water has been flowing under that bridge for a long time.


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      anybody home?

      Straight men

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      ... are needed for not-so-funny jokes as well as for heterosexual women.

      Snow Walker

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      Looks like a good armature for a snowman.

      C'mon students!


      not to be insensitive but

      If we accept this excuse:

      “This could be a trigger for students who have experienced sexual assault,”

      How many other things would we have to remove from our general environment?

      Sorry it is art, it is not going to be what everyone wanted or please everyone. It is creepy looking, but impressive. These people need to lighten up.


      I do, as well

      And I can't really figure out why it bothers me so much, other than it usually comes packaged with the arguments that everyone is a victim in one way or another, and that people have a right to not be offended.


      Doubly baffling

      Because nakedness of this level in our culture is conflated with vulnerability, not aggression.

      This is most certainly not an aggressive stance, facial expression, or state of dress for our culture. I think the concern is "nude male" here, but even that is rendered somewhat inert by the posture.


      Do women's colleges recruit rape survivors?

      How many of those objecting to the art are simply imagining that it might trigger a response, vs. how many getting assaulted at an all-women's college or previously in private schools or by their well-off parents? Does Wellseley promote the college to women afraid of men? Is that their market?


      but the other point

      is that there is some perceived attitude that "there are very vulnerable people who might be scared by an unimposing non-threatening statue and we must protect these fragile and weak people in our college as our college fosters the weak and provides them shelter from the dark scary world rather than give them skills to deal with it".

      In short, the idea that this may be triggering and traumatic is overblown and really makes it seem like they feel their students are weak


      Having one's PTSD triggered

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      Having one's PTSD triggered isn't about being "scared", so much as reliving a traumatic experience because brains can be weird and make connections between things. I doubt that the college provides coping strategies either - that's what therapists are for. PTSD symptoms can be rather stressful, so it's reasonable to make some accommodation to avoid them. I don't know if anyone's actually found it to be triggering, or if it just makes them uncomfortable. If the former I'd be all for moving it somewhere less obtrusive; if the latter, meh.


      Out of sight, out of mind.

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      Out of sight, out of mind.
      And thus no promotion of the exhibit.
      So eff it, and just put it inside with a warning placard outside the exhibit.

      The wording of the placard would have to meet with student approval.

      Or replace it with one of the artist's female versions?

      Get some awareness

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      Do you have any awareness about the horrifyingly high rates of rape in America? 1in 6 women in America have been the victims of rape or attempted rape. One in six! That is so many! And that number doesn't even include other forms of assault and molestation.

      I am totally with you that it's ridiculous that students think this statue is triggering to assault victims. I myself went to a women's college and am a survivor of sexual abuse and I would have found this statue on my campus hilarious. Ugly, but hilarious. But the next time you think about how ridiculous it is that there could possibly be such a high percent of sexual assault victims in one group of people, remember that statistic. And in the case of a place like Wellesley, sexual assault doesn't just happen to poor underprivileged women; it happens to just as many wealthy women from prominent well off families.

      The lack of awareness of how huge a problem sexual assault is in America is absolutely mind boggling! If you'd like some more information, you can visit or a number of other very helpful websites.


      Where is the data that one in six women have had someone try to rape them or actually rape them?

      Would that be in their entire lifetime, or by the time they are college aged? How about a relevant stat like how many Wellesley students have been victims of rape?

      If you are horrified by alleged assault rates in the US, don't join the Peace Corps, which will send you to far worse places. South Africa is such a place.

      Keep digging, Troll

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      You'll go from under the bridge to China in no time.

      Data from the 90's

      No data on how many women are victims by age 18, just in their lifetime. Its somewhat like breast cancer. How many breast cancer survivors are there aged 21 and under compared to women of all ages?

      Your link goes to a factoid page with no hyperlinks to the real data.

      There's no excuse for sexual

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      There's no excuse for sexual assault, I think we can all agree on that. I have noticed in my lifetime what constitues as assault in 2014 isn't exactly what we called assault a few decades ago. Not saying it's right or wrong, but I clearly have been assaulted and/or harrassed by today's standards but it isn't what we called it back then. Back then if a guy got "fresh" you had older brothers or guy friends straighten the offender out, end of story. And you know what, after a visit from my older brother I was never bothered again and I basically went on with my life without a second thought. In Allston back in the late 70's (79 I think), I was physically refrained and in a very frightening situation (Anyone remember Gladstones?) that I managed to escape from. I didn't feel the victim, I felt pissed that I got into that situation and learned a valuable lesson. The next day I got up and continued with my life. My friends at the time and I never felt such victimhood. I just think it's a generational difference.

      We live in a victim culture

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      "My friends at the time and I never felt such victimhood. I just think it's a generational difference.".

      You raise an interesting point. We live in a victim culture now. Victims are the new celebrities. One is hard pressed to come across anyone now who doesn't feel they are a victim of something in one way or another. It's a very disturbing trend. As a gay man coming of age in the 1970s, I most certainly experienced homophobia, even bullying, but never did I feel a "victim". I felt empowered to rise above.

      Oh, and yes, I do remember Gladstones in Allston.

      Ah yes

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      Good girls shut up about it and don't ruin reputations. Sluts know when they've been attacked and wreck precious male careers.

      I think it has a legitimate

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      I think it has a legitimate use. I don't think anybody would object to it being used in the context of, say, a war veteran suffering from PTSD.

      I don't think it is

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      I don't think it is reasonable to say it suggests sexual or other violence, assault, harassment, or threats from men to women.

      I would consider it more likely that it does suggest that a likely context of encountering a male on the Wellesley campus is that of a near-naked "guest" crawled out of his girlfriend's bed in the middle of the night and stumbled out of the res hall in an alcohol-fueled episode of somnambulism. Such a suggestion should offend both men and women.

      Privilege Check

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      There are a few things at play here, and we must be deeply concerned:

      Womyn of Wellesley are apparently oblivious of their white cis heterosexual privilege. On what grounds can they assume that the statue depicts a cis heterosexual male? Why is the depiction of this hypothetical individual being slut-shamed, apparently for _insert preferred pronoun here_ choice of apparel? Even if the offended student body are certain that the statue depicts a non-demisexual, non-trans*, or genderqueer person, just because _insert preferred pronoun here_ is dressed that way, does not mean that _insert preferred pronoun here_ is asking for it. Are they certain that this individual's headmates do not prefer to take underwear-clad walks in the snow? What right do they have to judge unless they are members of the depicted individual's group within the social power structure?

      For shame, Wellesley! I would have never expected to hear such blatant kyriarchal oppression from members of your community.



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      When you don't know the appropriate pronoun to use, please use the gender-neutral pronoun "THON". Thon agrees with thon that thon's clothing doesn't make any statement about thonself and if thon makes assumptions from thon's apparel, then thon should reevaluate the way thon judged thon in this situation (in thon's humble opinion).

      THANK YOU.

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      THANK YOU.

      I just want to re-iterate how perverse, self-serving, and kyriarchical the outrage from these chosen few at Wellesley truly is.

      Imagine if this were the headline: Citing Extreme Discomfort, Wellesley Students Ask To Purge Openly Gay Artist's Work From Campus: Piece entitled 'Recently Sexually-Assaulted Rent-Boy Seeks Comfort In Wellesley Womb of Safety."

      I'm simply fuming at the myopia and the privilege oozing from these "concerned student activists" who must be feverishly patting each other on the back at how socially conscious they perceive themselves to be.

      Tony Talks

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      Tony Matelli responds:

      Nobody cares about the lost dog. Poor thing.

      Time to U-lock a bike against Sleepwalker's leg?