Why do adults do this to teens over and over again? As I have written before the rules of expression seem to stop at the schoolhouse door, which is a horrible truth. Just at the time when teens are spreading their wings and starting to explore and express their beliefs, we silence them and tell them that their opinions not only don’t matter, but as in this case, we tell them that they don’t even exist!
Here are the basics. An Ohio Middle School student named Sophie wore a shirt to school on which she had hand written the word Feminist. She had worn the shirt to school several times before and did not think twice about wearing it again. When she wore it on the day that pictures were taken, she didn’t think much of it. When the pictures came back, she checked, like many of us do, to see if she had her eyes closed or was making a silly face. What she found was that the word ‘Feminist’ had been blurred out of her shirt in the picture. She was furious and has taken to the media.
The decision to blur out the word was made by the female principal, which makes my head spin. Apparently, the principal was concerned that people would find the word ‘feminist’ offensive.
Now, I am a feminist. That anyone would think that other people would find a t-shirt with the word “Feminist” offensive, boggles my mind. That a principal would take her time to alter a photograph to deny a student her right to express her thoughts makes me furious. I wish I had enough money to send her many t-shirts to write more of her thoughts on and to wear proudly around town and in her school’s hallways.
You can support Sophie by posting a photo Instagram with the tag #IDESERVEFREEDOMOFEXPRESSION
Sophie, you have my full support! I will be posting a photo and tagging it appropriately. Please keep speaking your mind!
Here’s an MSNBC story about this incident and Sophie. http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/school-erases-feminist-t-shirt-class-photo
Please let me know what you think in the comments.