Joanne Hughes, Kansas City Mother, Petitions To Get 'Sexting' Statue Removed From Park

'Sexting Sculpture' Stirs Controversy

It seems only natural that in trying to ban a statue promoting the sharing of one's nude photos online, a Kansas City area mother would use the Internet to gather signatures from strangers to do so.

That's exactly what Joanne Hughes of Stilwell, Kan. did after she saw a sculpture in the Overland Park Arboretum depicting a headless, bare-breasted women photographing herself (shown below).

joanne hughes sexting statue

Hughes, who started her petition on, was visiting the park with her young children when they came across the statue.

"They [her kids] were busy looking for snails on the ground," Hughes told the Kansas City Star in June. "We ushered them past. But as a mom of two girls, especially, I don’t want them to have to see something like that." Hughes believes that such a statue shouldn't be shown in a public place.

We're not exactly sure how children would find the female breast of the statue, called "Accept or Reject," offensive, or even know that "sexting" -- the act of taking and sending nude pics, usually via cellphone -- was being shown. Likewise, city officials shrugged off the mother's concerns, since they saw nothing "inappropriate about having that in front of children."

Fox 4 News in Kansas City reports that, after teaming with the American Family Association, Hughes' online petition has garnered 4,700 signatures. That's above the 3,000-name threshold to put the arboretum up on obscenity charges before a grand jury.

After the petitions were filed with the county this week, officials will have to listen. The country has the next two months to convene the grand jury.

"The message this piece sends to the children and young adults in our community has the potential to be destructive," the petition reads. "With all the problems we are having with sexting in our youth culture, do we really want to be encouraging children and teenagers to take nude photos of themselves?"

For what it's worth (and this should be worth something), the sculptor, Yu Chang, intended the exact opposite message. "The artist told us that the point of the piece is that the virtual world removes control over one's image," Julie Bilyea, Overland Park arts coordinator, told KCUR. "He is depicting a woman who's making the conscious choice to ignore her mind, soul, and identity."

Even Hughes acknowledged to the Star that artists have been depicting the nude human form for centuries.

“I have seen the statue of David in person,” Hughes said of Michelangelo's statue in Florence, noting that the depicted David isn't taking a picture of his penis.

What do you think of the controversy? Is Hughes and the American Family Association going too far in calling the statue obscene? Or do you think they have a point?

Before You Go

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