File this under the “completely backfired” category.
Earlier this week Hannah Hawkes Photography posted a preview of one of her recent family Christmas photo shoots. The image feature a mom and her 2 daughters bound in Christmas lights with duct tape over their mouths. Behind them crouches dad and their son. Dad held a sign saying “Peace on Earth”.
It didn’t take long for the photo to spread like wildfire. Hannah Hawkes began receiving hateful comments and messages and people began reporting the photo in droves (a photo which Facebook has since removed). The chief complaint is that the photo is promoting violence and abuse against women. Perpetuating the old, and highly outdated, adage that women should be “seen and not heard”. Seeing as it is estimated that one in three American women will experience domestic violence during their lifetime, that every 20 seconds a woman is assaulted in the US and that an average day generates 20,000 phone calls to domestic violence hotlines it is more than understandable why this image is so upsetting.
It has spread so wide that Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Ruth M. Glenn released a statement.
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that still perpetrates violence against women as evidenced by this photo. What is equally as disturbing as the duct taping of the woman and girls’ mouths and the binding of their hands is the image of the young boy behind them giving a ‘thumbs up’. It is obvious, he is already influenced. Though we are glad the photo has been removed, that people responded so strongly against it, and the photographer asserted that the photo was taken in jest, it is no laughing matter. Violence against women is commonplace and perpetuated by apathy and ignorance, as exemplified by this photo. Once again, it gives us a glimpse into the ongoing struggle to change how our culture views and treats women and girls.
Hannah Hawkes tried to lay low and let things pass but she received so many messages and comments that she broke her own silence on her Facebook page.
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!
The identity of the family in the photo is still unknown, and I don’t see them coming forward to admit it’s them anytime soon.