Regarding Petula Dvorak’s July 5 Metro column, “Better to enlighten minds than to turn heads”:

Ms. Dvorak discounts how powerfully visual images affect how we view and treat other people and ourselves. Women — as well as African Americans, Hispanics and other groups who face discrimination — continue to work to overcome stereotypes that pictures efficiently reinforce. More members of these groups began to succeed when the public began to fight advertisers’ visual disrespect.

What’s more, Ms. Dvorak amusingly yet incorrectly links classical art with advertising and popular-culture images, when the latter has far more influence over our behavior. She also contends that our children counter negative images with positive ones — as if every negative image has an equal and opposite positive image. It doesn’t work that way; visual influences occur inconsistently.

Censorship? Nah. The public demands and sometimes enforces corporate responsibility. The protesters are free to protest and to not patronize a business (and urge other people not to as well). The advertiser is free to respond to or ignore the protest. Meanwhile, such protests get people to think, write and talk about human rights. This “system” works.

Ronnie Lipton, Potomac