Friday, April 17, 2015

An eighth-grader can't wear an incendiary T-shirt like this in a class photo, can she?


Apparently she can't in Owensville, Ohio, where her school principal ordered the T-shirt Photoshopped out. (Sophie, the student in question, supplied this photo of herself holding the T-shirt to the website Women You Should Know.)

by Ken

Just this afternoon in my previous post I was reduced to spluttering in the face of the continued misunderstanding emanating from the Vatican, which doesn't quite get that female people are people just like male people are. Of course the Vatican isn't alone. The Vatican motto enshrined by Pope John Paul II and Pope Cardinal Ratguts, and apparently now tolerated by Pope Francis, is "Them Bitches Be Hos." They're okay to cook and clean, and of course to bear children, for which purpose it's even okay to have s*x with them. But otherwise, they're just accessories.

In case you were wondering why it matters that an organization as influential as the Catholic Church champions the mental deformity that produces this bullshit, we have a case in point this week coming out of Ohio. For once, thank goodness, it's not a case of rape or other violence perpetrated against a woman. But it's pretty appalling nonetheless, not least for being perpetrated by a school.

Since I was extremely un-confident about an embedded version of this clip loading, I'll suggest that you watch it onsite.

A picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words, but sometimes it's what's not in the picture that sends the words flying. As with the eighth-grade photo from Clermont Northeastern Middle School in Owensville, Ohio, in which the principal had a T-shirt with the word "FEMINIST" worn by a student in the front row Photoshopped out, apparently because it might cause controversy -- or even "upset" some people.

Here's Ian Millhiser reporting the story for ThinkProgress:
An eighth grade student at Clermont Northeastern Middle School in Batavia, Ohio wore a black T-shirt on class photo day which included the word “FEMINIST” written across the shirt in white letters. Yet, while the shirt does not violate any school rule and the student has worn it to classes before, the school chose to doctor her class photo to remove the word.

According to the site Women You Should Know, which identifies the student as “Sophie,” Sophie asked principal Kendra Young why the word “FEMINIST” was removed from her shirt in the class photo that was distributed to students, and was told that “the photographer called me and brought it to my attention and I made the decision to black it out because some people might find it offensive.”

Principal Young has reportedly apologized to Sophie for doctoring her shirt, and Young also offered to provide Sophie with an unaltered copy of the class picture. According to a local news report, however, the doctored photo is displayed within the school.

And here's a more detailed account provided by the student's mother, Christine, to the website Women You Should Know:
A couple of weeks ago Sophie wore a t-shirt to school that she had made that said “FEMINIST.” She wore the shirt all day without any issues. It also happened to be the day the 8th grade class pictures were taken.

On Monday, the pictures were handed out to the students and Sophie sees the photo and notices that the word FEMINIST had been blacked out on her shirt. Sophie went to the school principal, Mrs. Young, to find out why this happened. Mrs. Young said, “the photographer called me and brought it to my attention and I made the decision to black it out because some people might find it offensive.”

A friend of Sophie’s called me and I went to the school. Mrs. Young walked out and wouldn’t talk to me about what had happened. I have emailed her twice and she has yet to contact me at all.

Sophie was not violating dress code, she was not inappropriately dressed. Being a feminist is not a bad thing. She should be allowed to express herself.

She just wants everyone to be treated equally. That’s it. The end. She thinks everyone should be treated kindly and with love and that we should all have the same rights. Merriam Webster’s definition of feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal opportunities. Most people, especially in this area, seem to think feminism and misandry go hand and hand and that’s a common misconception. You can still love men and be a feminist. You can still be a homemaker and be a feminist. That’s where we are with this. We just want equality.

I am completely dumbfounded by the situation. I’m upset that the principal won’t speak to me or return my emails regarding the situation. I would think she would want our involvement. I’m just shocked by how the entire thing is being handled.
Wednesday afternoon, the same blogpost reports Christine provided this update:
I actually had a meeting with Mrs. Young (the one who blacked out the shirt) today. She apologized to me profusely, of course, after the local news station called her this morning! She asked me if we were good? I told her she needed to apologize to Sophie and ask her that question. She seemed dumbfounded by that. So she called Sophie down to the office. She apologized to Sophie and asked “What do you want from this?” Sophie replied, “I want everyone to realize that we NEED feminism. I want you to have someone come into the school and educate everyone about feminism. I want us to go to the news station together and show the people that we are working together the make this school and our community and better place for everyone. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.” I was so proud of her. She never once said I want a public apology or anything like that. She just wants to give to others. She is such a great kid.
Surely of all people a school principal, charged with educating the students under her oversight, should understand that if there are people who are violently upset by the mere word "feminism," then the one person whose problem it isn't is the student wearing the T-shirt. It's certainly the problem of any such people who would have made a stink about it, but the solution is for them to get over it -- or go the hell back where they came from, which can't possibly be the U.S.A. And I guess it's a problem for the school and for society insofar as we allow censorship merely to coddle their diseased sensibilities and deformed understanding of how our country is designed to work.

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