File this under Christmas card ideas that should probably be retired because it's 2018.
Edmonton realtor Dwight Streu has come under fire after sending a corporate holiday card to clients featuring a photo of his wife and three daughters with their mouths duct-taped shut.
Streu stands in the middle holding a "Peace on Earth" sign — presumably a joke that it's hard to get a word in edgewise with so many women around.
It's a joke that some people don't find very funny, however.
"When I first saw it I had to do a double take. I was shocked," said Paula Kirman, an organizer with March on Edmonton, a women's rights advocacy group.
"It's incredibly offensive. It plays into that sexist trope that women have to be quiet and women should be silent."
Kirman says what's equally problematic is the timing of the card and the fact it was sent in a professional capacity.
"As a society, we're having such public conversations about #MeToo and gender based violence and gender equality, and for a local businessperson to think that this would be a good idea to send it to his clients is just beyond me," she told HuffPost Canada.
In reality, we begin to internalize those messages and we start to think that it's normal."Paula Kirman
Kirman posted the photo on her Facebook page, where many agreed the image is in poor taste.
"I work with women and children who have been harmed by violence against women and this type of humour only reinforces that violence in my opinion — giving a message that it's ok and tolerated by society," wrote Layla Star-Anise in the post's comments section.
April Eve Medicinespiritdancer called the photo "triggering," saying it brought up painful memories of her own assault, where her assailant used duct tape.
A call to Streu for comment was not returned immediately, but his daughter Haley told CityNews that the card was her idea, based on an ongoing joke within the family that her dad "never gets a say."
"If that is indeed the case, that is was the daughter's idea, that's very concerning as well," said Kirman.
"It demonstrates the fact that we as women, when we're young girls we're bombarded with those kind of jokes and imagery, presented as something that's supposed to be funny but in reality we begin to internalize those messages and we start to think that it's normal."
Kirman said Streu would benefit from listening to the voices of people who find the card offensive.
"I like to hope that this is a situation where this person can be shown why this card is so problematic, and that he and his family can hear these comments and understand why it's so offensive."
More from HuffPost Canada:
It's not the first time a Christmas card featuring females with their mouths sealed shut has stirred up controversy.
In 2015, Louisiana-based photographer Hannah Hawkes was forced to take down her Facebook page after she shared a Christmas photoshoot image of a mother and her two young daughters with their mouths taped shut, while the father sat behind them with a "Peace on Earth" sign and their son gave the camera a thumbs up.
Her page was flooded with thousands of angry commenters and Facebook removed the photo, reported Parents.com.
Hawkes later clarified that it was not her idea to take the picture but rather a request from the family.
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