The icy grip of political correctness was met with waves of mockery on social media this week as a Weather Channel personality used the term “snowperson” to describe a New Hampshire snowman.
On Tuesday, Mike Seidel posted a tweet summing up the winter-like weather pummeling the Northeast. It included a submitted photo of a snowman and an ominous forecast for Thanksgiving Day.
“1st snowperson of the season and the 2nd snowfall in less than a week in Nashua, NH,” he wrote.
He then went to thank a Weather Channel reporter Matt Saffer for his help building the creation.
“Thanks to @TheMattSaffer for the eyes, nose, etc. Thanksgiving forecast to be the coldest on record in nearby Boston with a high of 21° and wind chills in the single numbers,” he tweeted.
1st snowperson of the season and the 2nd snowfall in less than a week in Nashua, NH. Thanks to @TheMattSaffer for the eyes, nose, etc.
Thanksgiving forecast to be the coldest on record in nearby Boston with a high of 21° and wind chills in the single numbers. pic.twitter.com/1xpFts6ORL
— Mike Seidel (@mikeseidel) November 20, 2018
Twitter got hot under the collar at that.
Snowperson??? You’re really being PC about a freaking SNOWMAN?? What’s wrong? Think you may offend a snowwoman watching the weather channel somewhere?
— Leo Daniels Ent.? (@LeoRules1) November 21, 2018
Someone Just Called A Snowman A ‘Snowperson,’ And I Am So Done https://t.co/qAMYFsznME
— Chicks On The Right (@chicksonright) November 20, 2018
Debating the gender of snowmen has been a pastime in recent years, going back to 2000 when Jenny McCartney examined recent literature on the subject in an Op-Ed in Britain’s The Telegraph.
In the Op-Ed, she shared a snippet from a paper by Tricia Cusack of Birmingham University, who suggested snowmen, by being white and male, promoted sexism and racism.
“The snowman’s masculinity, and its ritual location in the semi-public space of garden or field, help to substantiate an ideology upholding a gendered spatial/social system, marking women’s proper sphere as the domestic/private and men’s as the commercial/public,” Cusack wrote.
There is, McCartney noted, a more prosaic explanation.
“The snowman stands in the garden only because if he stood indoors he would melt, and if he stood in the road he would be knocked down,” she wrote.
She then took the gender issue head-on.
“The traditional snowman, in fact, is free of sexual characteristics: he doesn’t have snow-breasts, but nor does he have a snow-codpiece. You could change him into a snow-woman just by sticking a different hat on him,” she wrote.
She also said that two can play at the game of fanciful theories. She offered hers — that the snowman was a symbol of men being oppressed.
“There he stands, permanently exiled from domestic cheer, a disintegrating male guardian-figure condemned to melt into a futile pool of water,” she wrote, adding that her theory was “baloney.”
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