Juxtaposition

Dear The Auld Spot,

Tonight I visited your fine establishment and had a fantastic time. You are a pub with great food, and great drinks, and great decor. It was cozy, warm and beautiful in its own right. I’m quite happy with the service and location. Would recommend!

However, at the end of my stay there I visited the washrooms, and saw this:

Shining Heres Johnny Jack Nicholson
For the gents, to the left, Jack Nicholson in The Shining, the iconic “Here’s Johnny” face.
and beside it, to the right, the equally iconic shower scene from Psycho.
and beside it, to the right, the equally iconic shower scene from Psycho.

I instantly “got it”. I know it’s supposed to be funny, right? First you see Jack Nicholson, and then you see a woman screaming (different movie, but same idea). Jack Nicholson saying ‘here’s Johnny!’ is kinda awesome. But in the juxtaposition it told a story – I saw a perpetrator of violence against women, and the reaction of a woman who was experiencing the horror of violence against her. Jack Nicholson isn’t just Johnny now, he transcends the boundaries of his movie and becomes symbolic of the violator *because* he has been paired with an image of the violated, murdered woman in another film. Then there’s another thing – these are both bathroom scenes when a man crosses a boundary with intent to kill, and what you’ve done is made them the symbolic representatives identifying the two sexes and “welcoming” them at the entrances to the washrooms. These photos are labels, to their functional extent, and men-as-violators and women-as-victims simply cannot be acceptable, as good for a laugh or considered appropriate decor.

I don’t believe you intended to give the impression that you thought women should identify as victims, or that you should remind them as they walk into your washrooms that women are often murdered in this supposed sanctuary. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, I suspect it was likely an afterthought to pair the two photos, because the Here’s Johnny image is awesome, and it kinda makes sense to have a reaction shot to its right. I bear no ill will, but since complaints without solutions are annoying, here are some alternatives:

Criteria: Iconic female film stars, and humorous in juxtaposition with Jack.

1. Mila Jovovich, the Fifth Element. She's a badass, a strong woman, and this movie is a sci-fi cult classic.
1. Mila Jovovich, the Fifth Element. She’s a badass, a strong woman, and film is a sci-fi cult classic.
2. Princess Leia, serious business. She doesn't get to do much in this movie, but she doesn't look like she's gunna get murdered anytime soon, either.  Same era as The Shining, too.
2. Princess Leia, serious business. She doesn’t get to do much in this movie, but she doesn’t look like she’s gunna get murdered anytime soon, either. Same era as The Shining, too.
4. I don't think I have to explain why this photo is awesome. The movie is a cult classic, and it's Uma Thurman, who later kills bill (reversing gender stereotypes, yay!).
3. I don’t think I have to explain why this photo is awesome. The movie is a cult classic, and it’s Uma Thurman, who later kills bill (reversing gender stereotypes, yay!).
4. Wonder Woman. Nuff said.
4. Wonder Woman. Nuff said.
Nostalgia much? Sarah Connor in the Terminator. Or possible Terminator 2. Who can keep track? All I know is Arnold is reprising his role for another installment of the franchise soon and he's approximately 100 years old. This woman is a badass.
5. Nostalgia much? Sarah Connor in the Terminator. Or possible Terminator 2. Who can keep track? All I know is Arnold is reprising his role for another installment of the franchise soon and he’s approximately 100 years old. This woman is a badass.

Whatever you choose, please realize you tell a story by pairing those images together, and any sort of scared or vulnerable-looking woman is not a good idea.

That’s a long letter, but I thought it necessary to give an explanation because it’s no fun getting complaints especially if they seem unreasonable at first – I consider this something that is important to me, and likely to other women as well. I hope that you can see the situation from my perspective, and that things can change without any hard feelings.

I wish you all the best and look forward to the next time I get to dine at your fine establishment!

Sincerely,
-Christine Ivy

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