Quite Thought Full: Tees spare more than controversy
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 23:10
For quite some time now, it’s been cool to sport T-shirts with witty, funny or even slightly rude sayings and pictures on them. It’s safe to say that all of us have seen or possibly own the “I’m with Stupid.” Being in the Pittsburgh area, you are more likely to see girls sporting “Mrs. Sidney Crosby” (when there’s action at the Consol, that is) or more commonly a “Proud Member of Stillers Country” T-shirt. For the most part these clothing items are harmless, humorous and can be enjoyed by everyone but the opposing team’s fans.
What happens when a harmless T-shirt crosses the line of a funny joke and becomes an inappropriate and demeaning insult? And it’s not just an opposing sports team you are insulting, but an entire sex.
Last April at Amherst College in Massachusetts, a non-affiliated fraternity found that line and blew past it with their fraternity’s T-shirts that commemorated the frat’s annual pig-roasting. At the top, the shirt reads; “Roasting Fat Ones Since 1847.” The shirt has a large pig smoking a cigar and looking over his shoulder at what one can only assume to be his dinner roasting over a fire pit. And what is this ugly pig’s dinner, you wonder? A rather plump woman, in a bra and a thong, with an apple in her mouth.
Dinner served, indeed.
This image is not funny. It is not a shirt that would be laughed at by many men. It most certainly would not be enjoyed by women.
This image is not only disturbing, sexist and without humor, but it has brought turmoil to Amherst students, the majority of them females. The Huffington Post reported last week with information about the offensive shirt spreading around the small college, a campus of only 1,700 students according to the school’s website. Even more disturbing news is coming forward about the administration’s policies on handling sexual assault accusations and worse.
According to the Huffington Post article, news of this sexist T-shirt and the Amherst administration’s lack of punishment for the students responsible for the shirt sparked unpleasant but telling trend for former and present Amherst students. And all of them are women. And all of them were raped while attending the New England college.
Last Wednesday, Angie Epifano, a former Amherst student, published her frightening story of surving a rape while attending the college in the independent newspaper of Amherst College, The Amherst Student. When she reported the rape to the school, allegedly, the college's administration tried to convince Epifano not to report it to the police and to leave the school among other unhelpful actions. Sharing her story in hopes that the school’s administration policies would change, Epifano is being recognized for her bravery in the school’s community. Unfortunately, the stories have not stopped.
In response to Epifano’s story, Huffington reported that on Thursday, the day after the story was published in the school’s newspaper, Amherst president Biddy Martin, wrote a statement for the school’s website that addressed the girl's story specifically as well as sexual violence on the campus overall.
With promises for change from the president, one can only hope these unfortunate stories will bring to light a serious need for change at this school. These changes are beyond the need for appropriate punishment for inappropriate and sexist clothing and attitudes.
Katie Walsh is a senior English and philosophy major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.