Letter from the Editor

Formerly titled: A letter to the people who keep calling me a horrible person on Twitter.

Recently, I’ve been taking part in an anti-Trump photo series entitled “Are we great yet?” and found that the project so far has been achieving a lot of success. That is until the other day, when one of the photos was chosen to be on the cover of the Watch’s November issue.

Since its publication, numerous people on Twitter have taken it upon themselves to attempt to fight my “insensitive” and “poorly thought out” piece of art. A piece that was created as a way to empower victims, and fight a system that is fundamentally broken to its core.

These comments were directed both at the Watch in general, and in more personal ways to the rest of the executive team and I. Being the one who took the photo, I thought it would be appropriate to be the one replying to these concerns, and giving my side of the story.

From what I can understand, a large portion of the backlash we have received has been due to the photo itself, rather than the meaning behind it.

The purpose of this photo, and the entirety of my project is to showcase the way in which women are forced to carry the weight of the words of powerful men and to have to walk throughout the world not knowing who will agree with these men, and who will not. This is a terrifying reality for not just women who have been affected by sexual violence but to women all over the world.

The purpose of this photo was not to objectify women, to be insensitive to victims or to silence victims within our community, but instead to empower women to take back their bodies, their sexuality and their freedoms and showcase it in a way that allowed others to be inspired.

Before I started this project, and before I brought the photo forward as a possibility for the cover photo, I consulted with numerous women in my life who have faced sexual violence in one way or another. The consensus in these conversations was that this would be empowering, thought provoking and meaningful, but clearly I some how missed that line with some of the readers.

Upon reading some of the tweets regarding the cover, I was taken aback with a feeling of guilt and sadness. I thought to myself, “How could I do this? How could I be the one to make women feel this badly?” I took these replies very personally, as they were written as criticisms to me, rather than my art.

One of the tweets that ended up being the most hurtful for me proceeded to ask, “How does the Watch succeed at consistently being the fucking worst? Do they sit down and decide to be awful and insensitive?”

Though a letter like this is not how the Watch has commonly responded to these sorts of things, I felt that this would be best for me personally, and an effective way to reach out to those of you whom my art has offended.

While the Watch encourages comments and concerns to be brought forward, comments like these (if you can even call this a comment) in no way adds value to the conversation, but instead is an attack on us and those who contribute to our magazine.

As we highlighted in our editors note of the most recent issue, I would again like to request that criticisms about these issues to brought forward to the editors, and not be an attack on us.

I, like you, am a 20-something student who is still trying to figure out my place in this world, and what I want the impact I have on people to be. I am not a professional journalist, or a world-class photographer, and I am not a highly respected editor of a major publication. I’m still learning.

For those of you who feel that this photo was an insensitive way of portraying your pain and suffering, I am sorry. As I mentioned before, it was never an intention of mine to hurt people, but rather to empower them to fight those in power who do not acknowledge that pain, and take back that which belongs to you, your freedom.

Yours,

Kristen Thompson

Co-Editor in Chief

 

For any further concerns, please feel free to email the editors at [email protected] or visit us during our office hours:

John Sandham – Publisher

Monday 12pm-1pm

Kristen Thompson – Co-Editor in Chief

Thursday 1pm-3pm

Avi Jacobs – Co-Editor in Chief

Friday 3:30pm-5pm

Hannah Daley – Online Editor

Tuesday 2pm-3pm