Attitude towards mural is ironically intolerant

Thank you Mountain Xpress for printing the satire on an increasingly silly social issue.  I am referring, of course, to Michael Beal’s letter about the misogynistic cowgirl mural at 99 Riverside Drive. [“Cowgirl is Misogynistic,” June 25, Xpress]. Hilarious! The mural referenced depicts a woman dressed in a sailor suit and climbing upon a ship’s anchor—you know, a cowgirl. She is meant to appear attractive, thus “embodying antiquated, cognitively sedentary values,” as if we are supposed to be such highly evolved monkeys that we can transcend sexual attraction.  It is further stated that this image is “disrespectful and belligerent toward Indians.”  Now there is a piece of perfectly pitched irony.

After I finished laughing, I started thinking about what was really being said and it does seem that we as a society are amusing ourselves more and more by looking for reasons to be offended. If the girl in the picture is pretty, then so what?  That does not imply disrespect toward women any more than the mural on the next building, depicting a muscular male figure holding a large orb upon his shoulders, connotes disrespect toward males.  We are interested in sexual attraction and that is natural.  Furthermore, the stretch to catch the indigenous people of this continent in this “should be offended” lasso is ridiculous.

But indeed, it is time to slough off these old modes of thinking.  We seem to be growing more and more sensitive and quick to cry foul when it comes to what might be perceived as demeaning to one particular subset of people or another. It is a shame we find it so difficult to tolerate each other.  Thus, the cleverly obtuse letter to the editor about misogyny in a mural, which would have us to oppress and stifle the creation of art, based on some negative message which may be projected upon it.  It is time we quit overdoing it with pointing out flaws in other persons’ thinking and strive for self-improvement.  Then we may be free to see the truly positive achievements of our fellows and extoll their virtues.

Tom Cook


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