I agree that nobody has the “right” to have their public snow sculpture treated as though it were private property, although I also agree it’s silly to claim that knocking it down is striking a blow for feminist liberation. Whether anatomically explicit erect phalluses are appropriate subjects for snow sculpture on a college campus is not something I have strong opinions on one way or the other.
As it happens, though, the issue of visual obscenity on campus property is a fairly tense one on many campuses right now. At the Ivy League university where I’m a faculty resident in one of the dorms, there is an official policy that students should not be putting explicitly obscene drawings and objects, etc., in public spaces. When (as frequently happens*) an anonymous student goes around the dorm drawing stiffies and boobies and snatchies at random on the dry-erase message boards on people’s doors), it’s considered inappropriate behavior and the undergraduate counselors have meetings with their residential units to discuss it and the graduate resident supervisor reports it to the deans, etc. etc.
In this context, I think it’s very possible that the Harvard snow artists were just trying to be pricks, so to speak, and annoy a lot of people who they knew perfectly well would consider such a sculpture genuinely offensive. I still think the iconoclasts’ claims of defending themselves against evil male-supremacist intimidation are silly, however. At most, they might have said “Some of the boys were trying to annoy us with an obscene sculpture, so we emasculated it.”
- Until I moved back onto a college campus seventeen years after I graduated from college, I had absolutely no notion how common it is for late-adolescent males** just to go around drawing pictures of stiffies and boobies and snatchies on any available surface. I mean, there have been times when such doodles seem to be appearing every other day or so in my dorm. I’ll tell you, it’s really changed my perspective on paleoanthropology: now, every time I read something about a figurine or cave drawing excavated at an archaeological site showing an erect phallus or a female figure with massive breasts and talking about how these must represent some ancient fertility cult, I think to myself “yeah right, it was probably just some horny boy drawing stiffies and boobies and snatchies.”
** Of course, I have no way of knowing that all such doodlers are male, but all the ones who’ve been identified are; it seems to be, at least predominantly, a guy thing.