People who touch the breasts of the Molly Malone statue on Dublin’s Suffolk Street are acting in a way that is “degrading” and “humiliating” for women.
That’s according to barrister Charlotte Proudman who feels the way people treat the famous statue is symptomatic of an unequal society.
For years, tourists and locals alike have had pictures taken of themselves with their hands on Molly’s breasts.
While some may say this is just good fun, Dr Proudman feels it is in fact quite sinister.
“I don’t think it’s relatively harmless at all,” she told The Hard Shoulder.
“I think it sends out a strong message in society, not only that sexual harassment is prevalent but groping a statue - particularly Molly Malone’s breasts in this way - is perfectly acceptable.
“It’s the objectification of women, it’s degrading, it’s humiliating and these types of traditions need to be done away with in 2023.”
Although she never existed, many Dubliners would consider Molly an icon of the city and can recite the song about her at the drop of a hat.
Despite this, Dr Proudman feels there are more worthy women the city could honour.
“I think it’s time in fact to get rid of the Molly Malone statue altogether,” she said.
“Why is there a statue of a fictional character who was a part-time prostitute and people rub her breasts, not her brain?
“Why instead don’t you have a statue of the suffragettes who fought in Ireland for women to have the right to vote?
“Why don’t you have instead a statue of women, some of whom risked their lives to ensure levels of equality and access to civil rights and political freedoms?”
Former Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Rings disagrees and thinks people who touch the statue’s breasts are doing no harm.
“In my opinion it is [harmless fun],” he said.
“To take the leap from… harmless fun to sexualising and objectifying women is, to me, a leap, maybe a little too far.
“I think we have to have a bit of maturity about it.
“There’s a lot more things going on where women are being objectified and sexualised in the media and social media.
“A bronzed statue of Molly Malone in the city centre, I don’t think is probably up there with the worst example of where women are being objectified and sexualised.”
The Molly Malone statue was unveiled in 1988 to celebrate Dublin’s millennium.
Main image: Molly Malone.