Controversial Christmas card goes viral

- Funny joke, or violence against women?

That's the question prompted by a recent Christmas card photo snapped by Louisiana photographer Hannah Hawkes. 

The photo was posted to Hawkes' professional Facebook page on December 13 and quickly went viral-- with over 6,000 shares and thousands of comments. 

The image shows a the patriarch of the family of five holding a sign reading "Peace on Earth," his young son smiling with his thumb up and his wife and two daughters sitting on the ground with their mouths covered by green duct tape. 

Facebook users were quick to attack Hawkes, and the family, for the photo.

"So wrong in so many ways. Sending your daughters the message to not be heard. Letting your son think that he is better than women. What is wrong with people. Not funny! Demeaning," said user Dot Blair. 

"This is awful. In very poor taste, unacceptable anywhere but especially in a world full of so much violence and silencing of women. I hope the family and photographer realize the negative impact of messages like this - no matter what their intentions were," said Lisa Dockman. 

Others were supportive of the card, calling it funny and chastising posters of the negative comments for being offended too easily. 

 "I think it's hilarious. It's obviously a joke, so lighten up, everyone," commented Dave Parker. 

Hawkes also responded to the criticism in a lengthy Facebook post the following day. 

After being silent, now isn't that ironic, I would like to speak! I have been called every name in the book, and have...

Posted by Hannah Hawkes Photography on Monday, December 14, 2015

In a more recent post, Hawkes encouraged users to share their own funny Christmas photos. 

Several users shared their own versions of the controversial card. 

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