Principal Blacks Out 13-Year-Old’s “Feminist” T-shirt In School Photo For Being “Offensive”

EducationFeminismGirls 196 Comments

UPDATE: as this story continues to evolve, we will share the updates. See below for the latest…

Sophie, an 8th grade student at Clermont Northeastern Middle School in Owensville, Ohio, wore her FEMINIST t-shirt to school a few weeks ago. It also happened to be class photo day. Unbeknownst to the 13-year-old, her school principal (a woman) made a decision that is beyond belief and comprehension. Sophie’s mom Christine shares her story with 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.

This Friday, April 17, 2015, Sophie is planning a protest and is asking students and adults to show their support by wearing your favorite FEMINIST T-shirt. Take a pic post the photo on social media using the hashtag #‎ideservefreedomofexpression, if on Instagam you can tag Sophie.

**About the lead image: Sophie created the photo on the left to illustrate what her shirt originally looked like. Since the principal had the original photo altered it is not available to show. However, she sent us a this photo holding up the shirt she was wearing that day.


UPDATE: This just in from Christine (2:00pm – 4/15)

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.

UPDATE 2: (4:00pm – 4/21) Last night, Sophie gave us the latest on the situation at school, her campaign, and who has emerged as the real “offensive” one… full update here

  • karolina

    this is an outrage

  • Jill

    So ridiculous. And on that note:

    • GloryGLory

      I could see if the school had a rule about wearing shirt with logos or words, but the girl next to her as well as the person behind her has something written on her shirt, so what’s the big deal? Does the photographer even know what the word means? This is ridiculous.

    • I love how some anti-feminists are exactly like “women get stoned for wanting to go to school, and you fight for having your boobs fly free.” Like, oh, right, it’s impossible to care about both. It’s not like being a feminist actually means you want equality for EVERYONE. Just because there are bigger problems doesn’t mean you can’t fight the small ones, too.

  • Lori Day

    My blood is boiling!!

  • Chris

    How about a link to express directly to the school how this is an affront to women everywhere?

  • Tara

    Reading this made me think that this principal is really off the mark. I am sure there are other more important issues going on in that school that this principal is probably ignoring. What right did she have to black out what she thinks might be “offensive” to some people? I am certainly NOT offended by it. AND, where does this photographer get off even calling this to her attention? That was not his job. If she had any guts as a principal, she would have shut him/her up immediately, and told him/her that the purpose of his/her visit to the school was not to scrutinize what the students were wearing, but to just take some photos.

    • Having worked as a high school photographer, I can tell you that we are instructed to care about grooming and appropriate attire. Anything drug-related, hateful, profane, or otherwise against school policies (including, frequently, the ridiculous outfits seniors* try to wear for their photos) were things we had to check with the administration about before taking the photo.

      That said, ‘feminist’ was definitely not on our list of offensive words.

      *My understanding is that the reason largely had to do with aforementioned photos going on transcripts to colleges, not because the school cared about photos that weren’t even going in yearbooks. (Most seniors were getting senior photos taken.)

  • Thinker

    And with this attitude expressed by a school, we wonder why women are still treated as lesser in society. This is exactly the time when young people are developing the attitudes they will hold for the rest of their lives. It’s far more difficult to change attitudes later than to steer them into the right direction in the first place. To give a message to a young girl (and her male and female peers) that equality for women is “offensive”! This is nothing short of sexism and misogyny on an institutional level

    • verum aequalitatem

      If you want equality you are an equalitiarian, not a feminist. Yes, I find offensive this word, because this is men-hating that why men are discrimiated in our society (women can retire earlier, there is a complusory miliatary service only for men there are tons of female-only programs etc.) Women are in privilegized positions.

      • Iamthekitty

        That’s why women make up the majority of political leaders… And the majority of fortune 500 CEOs…

        • verum aequalitatem

          That’s why men do the most dangerous jobs, that why women live longer, that’s why women can retire earlier, that’s you can legally mulitete your son etc.

          • Jessie Lacey

            Wait, you believe that women living two years longer than men in average lifespans is a feminist conspiracy?

          • Milly Scott

            The problems you point out can be fixed by dismantling the patriarchal society we live in, which is what feminism aims to do. Feminism benefits women AND men. The reasons men are pressured more than women to sign up for war is because of patriarchal ideas of women being the weaker sex. Same with men doing the dangerous jobs. The reason women are often favoured in custody battles is because women have historically been seen by the patriarchy as the nurturing childcarers.
            As for circumcision, i don’t know of any feminist who thinks it’s a good idea. And it’s usually the MEN who insist on their sons having it done.
            Men’s Rights Activists should be working WITH feminism, not sitting around attacking it, which is all they seem to do. Both sides just want equality, so sitting around fighting over who has it worse achieves nothing. Men who truly want gender equality should be feminists. I would never identify as an MRA, because despite the fact that I agree some aspects of life can be improved for men, I see feminism doing more for that cause. Mens Rights Activism seems to be all about whining that men are worse off, and hating on women.

          • Mason

            Women live longer than men because of cardiovascular biology.

            In case you were unaware, in a very large number of countries, female circumcision is a common practice, and unlike in first-world countries, it takes place at the age of 13 without painkillers, rather than hours to days after birth under sedatives.

          • keva

            thats why people hate feminist. men problems : its natural we dont care about it. women problems: its discimanation. it isn’t problem for them that there a lot of country in the world where the difference is only 3 years for example in the Netherlands and there are places where more than 12 years (like Russia) they want to explain that its biology muhaha it’s feminist biology muhaha…

          • Mason

            I don’t think you have any idea what you’re talking about.

            Women’s cardiovascular systems are evolved to support two human beings at once, meaning that they live longer simply my virtue of having a stronger circulatory system. That’s not “feminist” biology, that’s just biology. I’m sorry that science upsets you, but that’s not a fault of feminism.

          • keva

            You clearly don’t understand what I am talking about. In Hungary (where I live) the diffetence beetween men and women life expectany is 8 years, in the US (where you live) 5 years. Men could live longet if anyone do for it. We know it because there are countries where the difference is only 3 year and men’s life expectency above 80 years. Instead of that do nothing for them like a typical feminist.

          • Mason

            Let me try to make this a little more clear. Imagine you’re setting up pipes for a house. In a normal house, pipes eventually crack or fall apart for whatever reason just due to use. Logically, if you use stronger pipes, they will last longer.

            Men have average-strength pipes that last a typical 80 or so years. Women have pipes that are slightly stronger, and will last longer.

            We can only do so much to change the outcome of our biology. If our pipes are not as strong as someone else’s, that not some kind of poor treatment, that’s just genetics.

          • MeggySue

            The reason why people don’t understand what you are talking about, is that (a) you have failed to articulate your argument and (b) you make baseless claims and offer no empirical evidence to support them.

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            You’re still not making sense. It’s strictly biological that women live longer than men. Doesn’t mean we work any less, that we don’t strain under the weight of keeping our homes AND child birth. How is it that men have created SO many advantages for themselves, yet still cannot out-live women, on the average? Women give birth. That strain alone would collapse men’s hearts. It’s simple biology & evolution. You try carrying a growing fetus in your belly for up to 9 months, then giving birth to it.
            So, having constructed a world where you run things, what is your beef with feminism? Or the average lifespan of women vs men?

          • keva

            if is it possible that in the uk why not other places in the world?

          • Mason

            If you actually read the study thoroughly, you’d understand that it is not already possible, that’s just a projection over 15-20 years assuming no factors change, which they almost certainly will because medical science is constantly moving forward.

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            Moreover, what is your point, exactly, as it pertains to feminism?

          • keva

            you don’t understand: in the uk and in the netherlands the difference is only 3 years now and decreasing. here where i live there isn’t any positive changes. in hungary men’s life expectancy 71 years, in the Netherlands 80 years. Women’s life expectency here 79 years, in the Netherlands 83 years. Men health are terrible, not only here, in every post-soviet states. And nobody think that its important. Not so much but the situation is similiar in the US. the gender gap is 5 years (men: 76, women: 81). Why you don’t care about the fact that American men’s life expectency 5 year shorter than women’s and 4 year shorter than Dutch men’s?

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            You’re not making sense, keva, but I will agree that if YOU are not the intended target being denied certain rights that others enjoy, then you would most likely NOT care about it -unless it matters to someone you love. Who is being denied rights which they should be entitled to, but are being told, “Well, you’re just a woman, what do you know about it?”

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            And female circumcision is performed for WHAT end result? WHY is it done? Not for cleanliness’ sake. No. It’s to prevent women from enjoying the sex act, period. Is this the aim of male circumcision? No.

          • Elaine

            If by legally mutilate your son, you’re referring to circumcision, then do you realize that circumcision started as a religious practice in early Judaism/Christianity in the setting of a patriarchal society?

          • Drew

            Actually, circumcision started because a doctor recommended to parents to stop their kids from masturbating, it’s not nearly old enough to be “early” Judaism/Christianity. But regardless the point he made is only laughable. I’m a feminist, and a guy. I do believe there are women who hide behind the label of feminism while also being sexist, however this is a very small percentage of proclaimed feminists. I fully support the issue of gender equality.

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            You might want to reconsider the veracity of your first statement there:

          • MeggySue

            Just as you ‘mulitete’ the language.

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            Ah, and the circumcision argument comes up. You’re showing your true colors. WOMEN aren’t mutilating their sons. Those are religious or tribal beliefs. You cannot put the foreskin back on the penis once it’s been cut off. You need to speak to THE MEN who run the villages, nay -most of the religious sects about circumcision. Women don’t dictate that. What a lame point to make. As for your other points, they’ve been negated by others’ rebuttals here. You’re parsing & it doesn’t look good for your cause. Feminism is activism. IF you & your men friends don’t like some situations which, to you all, represent inequities between the sexes, then it’s YOUR duty to work to right them.
            I suspect “the issues” as you perceive them are really non-issues. Just opportunities to get together & bemoan how your male worlds are being dismantled to allow women just as many rights as you men already enjoy.

      • SophieCT

        To be clear, because you mis-defined the word and confessed your fear of women, we are to bow to your neurosis. Ok. Got it.

        • verum aequalitatem

          I don’t fear of women. Actually in my men’s right groups the 40% of the members are women. I’m against feminists and (national and EU) politicans. Women who know what equality mean support me.

          • Milly Scott

            Men who know what equality means support feminism. There are many compassionate, educated men who support feminism, but no intelligent person would support MRAs, as all they do is sit around hating women and feminism. I think men should have a movement if they want it, but it should work WITH feminism, not against it. After all, we all simply want gender equality.

          • Elaine

            It’s ok to have men’s rights groups, but not women’s rights groups, or gender equality groups?

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            Only when you’re making sense. And right now, you’re not making sense. Why? Because you clearly don’t understand feminism. You clearly don’t get that society, the court system (THE HAGUE especially) and “just how things are done” favor men over women.

      • Booyah!

        You really believe what you posted? Women have been in a subordinate position since Adam and Eve. The idea that woman was made from man means that she owes her life to him. This mysogynist idea of human creation established the system of second class status for women from the beginning. This kind of thinking continues today and is the reason why women make less money and hold fewer positions of authority than men.

        • verum aequalitatem

          Who cares about the religion? Are you religious? It’s your proplem, if you want you don’t need to be. On the other hand men are discriminted by laws almost in every EU country.

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            Patently untrue. And I can prove it.

      • ResistJerks

        Are you high or just dumb? There is NO compulsory military service for males in this country. Women and men sign up for military service voluntarily. Women have fought hard to be able to participate in combat just like men. Men bitch and whine when women want to participate equally, then turn around and bitch about why women don’t participate in battle equally. There is no winning for women in a misogynistic patriarchy. But thankfully woman haters like you are dwindling and because of that they are screaming louder and louder.

        • verum aequalitatem

          I’m not dumb, but I think you are. Here in Europe there are a lot of country (not one) where there is a complusory military service only for men. Feminists hasn’t got any problem with this.

          “Men bitch and whine when women want to participate equally”
          It’s a sexist statement, men not bitch and whine. Actually it’s my opinion not men’s opinon (I’m a fathers’s rights and men right’s activist). No, I haven’t got any problem when women want equality but feminist (at least most of them) want even more privileges women then they already have.

          Actually you are misandrist: only because I don’t like feminist and man-haters you think that I’m a women-hater. This is why most people hate feminist (even in your country).

          • Liza Mack

            Most people hate feminists? How often have you visited America. The women I know would eat you for breakfast and then spit you out.

          • Kenny

            Most men have been brainwashed since birth to fear and hate females. At home, in churches, in schools, at work in sports, in the military and especially by right-wing conservative talking heads (Fox News, Beck, Limbaugh, Courter, etc..)

          • elpinche

            Please just STFU. You’re an ass.

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            While it’s easy to call someone names, it tends make the name-caller look like more of an ass.
            Engage. Inform. Demystify. We have a cadre of very insecure men out there (and their downtrodden, controlled women) who typically want to direct the conversation about feminism. A trait of the “entitled who believe themselves to be superior & the rest of us should just shut up” which I detest. I’m sure you’d agree with this on some level. They are blinded by their perception that something is being taken away from them. Well, in a sense, this is true -if they’ve been hogging all the positive attention for themselves, granting themselves favors, writing laws, pandering to accepted societal norms which give them special treatment -at the expense of others. In the case of feminism, women whose life work is relabeled as some man’s. Laws which favor men &/or abrogate women’s human/civil rights.

          • J

            Not true. It is optional and women go to war too. I know my mother and father both served our country. Make sure you get it right when you decide to talk about how it is in Europe before you start telling everybody how it is in ALL of the countries this includes.

          • Mason

            Actually you are uninformed: not only are almost all modern feminists opposed to male-only aspect of the draft, they are opposed to drafting people against their will altogether because that’s a violation of a person’s autonomy.

            And just so we’re clear, feminists do not hate men, but they’re not too fond of men who try to misrepresent their messages by making up bullshit and saying, “this is what feminists think!”

          • Elaine

            Exactly, what I was thinking!

            Feminazi is a word people throw around to discourage feminism. When I was a little kid, I use to think “Well, I’m a feminist, but I’m not a feminazi, because I’m not extreme, angry, or hateful towards men” but the thing is, it’s not about being angry or hateful towards men; it’s about being angry and hateful about things like inequality, injustice, abuse, etc which are things you should hate and be angry about. Misandry is a different matter. Feminists don’t like misogyny, nor do we like misandry.

            I was surprised to find out that in the US men had to fill out a military draft census when they turn 18, but women aren’t required to fill one out, and that it was only recently that women were allowed in the front lines of battle. Both of these are unfair. Either everyone should be required to fill out a draft census, or no one should and who is excluded from fighting on the front lines should not be determined by sex/gender.

          • Derpie Isabella

            Technically Red Cross women have provided medical support on the front lines since d-day.

          • FaintCryofFreedom


          • LowingDuck

            I believe hes referring to Feminazis and not Feminists. They are two completely different groups of people. Feminazis label themselves as Feminists but would rather the world bow under all that is woman. I think he’s just got the two confused.

          • Mason

            The word you’re looking for is “Misandrist,” not “feminazi.”

            The word feminazi ends the conversation altogether because feminists do not like misandrists any more than men do, and the word feminazi is used often as a derogatory term to refer to any kind of feminist activity.

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            WRONG again. The word “feminazi” was coined by a very insecure talk show radio host because he’s either too stupid to consider there is a whole world out here of females whose experiences are vastly different from his perspectives, or he’s promoting some male-based conversation about reality. It’s skewed, one-sided. I don’t know that I’ve ever met these “feminazis” this man speaks of incessantly, whenever he perceives his male privilege & superiority are threatened by women. I do know of women who hate men because they’ve been horribly abused by them. I also know some men who hate women for the same reasons. Everyone’s perceptions are colored by their life experiences & we need to remember to come back to some middle-ground, where everyone’s perspectives are heard & respected.

          • Elaine

            In some parts of the world, men have many more privileges than women have, so it is fair for feminists to want women in certain countries to have more privileges than they already have because they still don’t have as many privileges as men have.

            Feminists do have a problem with unfair treatment of men. Have you heard Emma Watson’s UN speech? I am a feminist and I DO think it is unfair to have compulsory military service only for men. I even think it’s unfair that, in the US men aren’t forced into military service but are required to fill out a military draft card (as a census) but women aren’t required. As a woman, I think they SHOULD require women to fill out the draft census as well.

            Btw feminists don’t hate all men. We hate men who are misogynist, or sexist in general, but we also hate women who willingly and knowingly contribute to their own oppression.

          • Morgan O’Brien-Bledsoe

            “I’m a fathers’s rights and men right’s activist” Oh so you as a human being are worthless. That’s cool.

          • Whothehell Cares

            And you are not worthy of being considered human.

          • Luke Purse

            You don’t understand Feminist theory, that is all. Why should women talk for men? Feminism exists to correct the issues that see women subjugated by men, not men subjugated by women. It does not call for men to be treated as inferior, it does not ask to send them to war, and it doesn’t really have much to say about men’s perspective at all because the whole point is that it is a women’s perspective of society – you know the perspective that has been oppressed in law, religious dogma and social norms for millennia.

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            Very well said. Bravo!

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            WRONG. We want the same “privileges” men enjoy. I am a woman, therefore I automatically advocate for my gender. I have always thought it is unfair that men go off to war, but women don’t. I don’t agree with it, and I’ve let my elected representatives know this every chance I get.
            And if “most people” (a fallacy in your wording there) hate feminism, it’s because they misunderstand it and/or are threatened by it. Which really is the same as misunderstanding it. It becomes a non-issue when women are treated the same as men, across the board, where they should be.

        • nrjk

          Males must sign up for Selective Service.

          • Tyrell_Corp

            Boo hoo hoo.

          • nrjk

            Not complaining, just pointing out that the person I was responding to was wrong, nothing more. So get you your nose back in your own business, guy.

          • hsartteach

            That is not compulsory military service. If it bothers you that only males must sign up, do something about it, just as women must make change in issues that affect them. You can bet, however, that if there were ever a draft, women and men would both be drafted, and this sign up system would change in a hurry. I venture to say that in the interest of equality women would advocate for it, as it would be the only way women and men would be considered equally for jobs in the military.

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            If YOU don’t like it, then work to change it. That’s what feminism is about on some levels. Stop bitching about it & DO SOMETHING about it.

        • KiraKrumpet

          Selective Service.

          You aren’t allowed to vote, get a drivers license or do a variety of things if you don’t sign up for it.

          Are you really raging that men can’t be drafted when Vietnam was only a short while ago generation-wise?

          Men don’t have universal suffrage. Women do.

          So perhaps you should take a few history lessons before you start ranting about the “patriarchy” and how women lack rights compared to men.

          • ResistJerks

            Perhaps you should stop falsifying history. Men had the right to vote by default on account of their sex. They didn’t need suffrage because by default were allowed to vote. Restrictions to vote were based on property ownership which qualifies under class discrimination. As the property ownership roadbloack was eliminated, men gained the vote automatically. Black men got the right to vote 50 years before women. Selective Service is a patriarchal construct. If you have a problem with it take it up with other men who made up the system. Women have been fighting long and hard to be able to equally participate in all military, navy, air force positions. It is men who try to prevent women from being equal participants, only to turn around to bitch and whine about why women don’t go to war. There is no winning for women in the current misogynistic patriarchy. As exemplified by you, patriarchy is willing to falsify and rewrite history anything it takes to prevent women from gaining the same rights and privileges men enjoy by default on account of their sex.
            The hierachy goes like this. Racism and sexism allows white men to dominate and oppress all women and men of color. Racism allows white women to dominate people of color. Sexism allows men of color to dominate and oppress women of color.

          • Whothehell Cares

            Men had universal suffrage ? Someones been reading Feminists herstory instead of human history.

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            And if -from your perspective- things are unequal, then fight, work to make them more equal. I agree that this is a subject ripe for debate, a situation which should be corrected. We can’t fight all the battles. So fight the battles which you perceive are inequities thrust at men, but women skate from. That’s what feminism is about, but we have our battles. I believe you would find allies in the female population for your efforts. Petition your govt for redress of your grievances. It is your right, under our Constitution.

      • Chris

        Women are discriminated on every level, from property to decision-making, over institutional, to religious and cultural rights. The “discrimination” of men you perceive is the side effect of leadership and gendered superiority men have enjoyed in (not only) Christian-coined cultures for centuries. If men are in charge and women are to keep the house and family together, of course males provide and go to war. If women are expected to juggle over 90% of unpaid work in the home and in care for children and the elderly, of course they retire earlier. Women have up to one and a half times the weekly working hours men put in in industrial societies because they do all the unpaid labour. Men like you want women to preemptively take on all responsibilities whilst being far from achieving all privileges men have been able to keep to this day in patriarchal societies.
        And yes, if you want equality and equal rights between women and men, you are a feminist. People can dislike the word, but this is the label it’s historically been given. A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet, so who cares whether the name was aptly chosen. In reality only misogynists, who try to persuade women and men feminism were allegedly about superiority of women over men, or about hate for men. How far of the truth that is can thankfully be seen through a short look into every major encyclopedia and dictionary entry.

        • verum aequalitatem

          As I said before almost in every European country there are laws which discrimate men. There isn’t any law which discrimiate women. This is the feminist fault. That’s why we have to fight against them. Women hava always privileges but nowadays they have got even more than before. Yes, the word is sexist: if you like this world you are a sexist, misandrist.

          • MeggySue

            Absolute popycock!

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            Patently untrue. Your lens of the world, and especially the world of women, is colored by the fact that you are a man. I’m pretty sure I’m not going out on a limb with that divination of your gender. Until you are a woman, you may not understand what girls & women go thru each & everyday, what we have gone thru, what we will continue to experience in our world because of men who write the rules & tell us, “tough, live by them or else”.
            And what you perceive as laws which discriminate against men in those European countries you speak of -these may simply be an attempt to balance the scales which have been so far skewed in men’s favor, you don’t even understand that it’s a rebalancing. You only see it as an encroachment upon your male privilege, taking something away from the patriarchy which they, themselves, have withheld from women since the beginning of time.

        • mapruter

          guys guys guys, let’s just agree to agree that verum is an idiot with ideas not based in reality.

          • MeggySue

            Let’s not use ‘guys’ as the default, when women hold up half the sky.

          • Nathan Arce

            “Guys” is the closest to a single-syllable gender-neutral general-purpose group encapsulator as we have in the english language.


            No one I know has expressed a problem when I use it even when approaching a group of all women with “hey guys!”. In fact, most of my female friends would feel skeeved out if I replaced that with “hey girls!” So I’m not going to. Try to make a true originally gender-neutral one catch on and then get back to me. But for now, “guys” has changed definitions over time and is now accepted as gender-neutral.

          • MeggySue

            What a shame that, with such a rich array of words from which to choose, so many choose an inherently sexist word (wiktionary notwithstanding). Whether it’s subconscious, or simply lazy, it’s much easier – as you have illustrated – to speak as though the male is the norm, rather than thinking it through. Perhaps you might consider widening your circle of friends, or trying not to be such an Arce.

          • Whothehell Cares

            Perhaps you might consider that Feminists were the a-holes who declared the word ‘guy’ to be gender neutral.

      • Liza Mack

        the definition of feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men” and I think you mean egalitarian not equalitarian, because the latter is not a word. An egalitarian is more like a socialist, Marxist or communist, by definition. I’m laughing that you think that women are privileged in some way as worldwide they are being raped, sold as slaves, have less opportunity and earn less money. I find offensive anyone that would find the word feminism or feminist offensive.

        • KiraKrumpet

          No, an egalitarian is someone who supports equality.

          All feminists are egalitarians if we go by the definition of feminism. Feminism, if we go by the definition, is a sub group of egalitarianism. Just like mens rights, LGBT rights and civil rights.

          The issue is how many feminists decry egalitarianism as “misogyny” and think feminism is equal rights for everyone ever rather than just for equality for women.

          Seems the vast majority of feminists oppose egalitarianism and say feminism does all of that already. Which shows feminists are the ones not for equality.

      • juliatbwa

        If that’s what you believe, great. What are you doing about it? Are you fighting to get the laws changed so that women can be drafted too? Are you supporting lawyers that help men get their children in custody battles? Are you helping run and organize shelters for abused or sexually assaulted men? Are you writing letters to politician, organizing political action or doing anything else to help change what you see as inequalities?

        Bc, if not, you aren’t helping anything. If not, you are just bitching about how evil women are, which, to me, outs you as someone who is ok with the status quo and likes the inequality.

      • keva


      • Kenny

        Men are not being hated or discriminated against. Men dominate and control federal, state and city governments. Men dominate and control the courts. Men dominate and control Fortune 500 companies and most businesses in the nation. Men dominate and control churches, synagogue’s and Mosques. Regressive knuckle dragging men like yourself fear women and hate women because you don’t understand them.

        Fact – Women outnumber men in the U.S.A. and the world
        Fact – Women live longer than men
        Fact – Over 30 million women, age 25 and older held a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 29 million men. Women had a larger share of high school diplomas (including equivalents), as well as associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
        Fact – Women account for $7 trillion in spending in the U.S.
        Fact – Women are the main caregivers and educators of our children.
        Fact – Women earn less than men in 99% of occupations. Over a career the gap amounts to $700,000 for high school graduates, $1.2 million for college grads, and $2 million for professional school grads – a staggering amount.

      • Luke Purse

        It isn’t man hating. It just isn’t. There is a fraternity of extremists that band about under the heading of Feminism, but they do not represent the academic definition of Feminism. Feminism is a methodology of analysis, and it is all about equality.

      • Ariane Mitchell

        The only people who say feminism is man-hating are anti-feminists like you.

      • hsartteach

        What country do you live in? There is no compulsory military service in the US, and there are women’s programs BECAUSE they are discriminated against, and coming from behind, same as minorities. I had many words for you in mind, but I will remain civil and just say you are very uneducated.

      • Christopher Warren

        Great, more MRA tripe. Aside from the fact the movement is classified as a hate movement by the SPLC, 99% of the stuff MRAs complain sbout is a DIRECT result of patriarchal values imposed on men. To top it off, literally ZERO solutions to any of these problems are being proposed by the MRA movement; they just spend sll their time complaining about feminism when they could be spending that energy finding solutions.

      • FaintCryofFreedom

        Um, NO, it’s not “men-hating”, though that’s how SO many insecure men perceive feminism. The situations you cite as being discriminatory towards men? THEN YOU PICK UP THE BATTLE AXE and fight to make what you perceive to unequal treatment -equal. See how that works? Don’t deride feminism as some man-hating institution. It shows just how little you understand of the movement behind the word, and how much you want to invalidate the experiences of millions of women just because YOUR perceptions are skewed.

      • DixieNightmares

        Hahaha! I am privilegized!

        If you want to make a compelling argument, you might want to get your grammar, spelling, and facts right.

    • nrjk

      >And with this attitude expressed by a school

      Wrong. This attitude was expressed by a school employee: A female principal.

      For some reason, I suspect had the principal been male, you would have called him a sexist and singled him out. Since it was a female, you just went with “expressed by a school”, completely alleviating any responsibility the principal holds in this situation (which is all of it). Just typical.

      Also, if you’ve never worked in a school, you will never understand the highly PC nature and egg shell walking that goes on. Considering the school system is ~87% female, well, draw your own conclusions-but the school system is highly matriarchal.

      Maybe consider the fact that a “matriarchy” when left unrestrained in it’s own system (in this case public schools) looks just as bad and poisonous as anything completely male dominated.

      • Sadie Legrande

        Women can be sexist towards other women too. Just like men can be sexist towards other men. Your comment makes no sense. Being sexist isn’t only a female vs male thing.

        • Ariane Mitchell

          Not true.

          • Sadie Legrande

            How exactly is it not true? That’s an ignorant statement.

          • Ariane Mitchell

            It isn’t an ignorant statement at all, quite the opposite. There is no such thing as sexism from women to men just as there is no such thing as racism from black to white. Sexism/racism = prejudice + power. Since women do not have the power in our patriarchal society, they cannot be guilty of sexism towards men.

          • Sadie Legrande

            Wow you’re misinformed. Sexism is typically against women not only against women. You might want to check the definitions of both words.

          • Ariane Mitchell

            Well, that’s a great way to keep thinking you know what you’re talking about. Have a nice day in your bubble!

          • Sadie Legrande

            I have to say that you do not know what sexism is. You should get out from under that rock that you’ve been living under. Stop liking your own comments that’s sad.

          • Whothehell Cares

            So they aren’t sexist, because they lack power, instead, they are just good old fashioned bigoted a-holes. Got it.

          • Mocksoup

            on which planet?

          • Ariane Mitchell

            On the exact same planet it’s impossible for a black man to be racist to a white man.

          • Bobby

            You’re stupid. Of course a black man can be racist against whites, just like a woman can be sexist against men. Pull your head out of your ass.

          • Sadie Legrande

            She doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She is either a troll or really just this dumb. Don’t put any stock into what she says.

      • Morgan O’Brien-Bledsoe

        A principal is THE representative of a school. She’s kind of like the president to the US government. The buck stops with her or him if the principal is male. Yes women can be sexist and blacks can be racist and gays can be homophobic. “Matriarchy” is not feminism. Feminism is about lifting women to the same heights as men have enjoyed since the beginning of time. You know, giving equal right to women. Hell some feminists, myself being one, believe that feminism involves making sure men have the same rights as women in areas where they don’t now like abortion. And i don’t know what schools you’ve been in but the schools i went to were mostly male lead.

        • Kenny

          Men can be feminist too. I’m a proud unabashed feminist!

        • Whothehell Cares

          ” Feminism is about lifting women to the same heights as men ”
          So Feminism is about dropping women into the gutter. Got it.

      • amandahuginkiss

        Your comment is so ignorant it’s incomprehensible. The fact is that the HEAD of a school, who is thereby the SPOKESPERSON for that school had the message on Sophie’s shirt censored. Whether a man or a woman did it is beside the point. There are plenty of sexist women. Women who not only pander to a patriarchy that renders her voice liminal but also go as far as to sabotage other women. Some women are extremely sexist against their own gender, thinking themselves “special.” For instance, women of particular religions, including fundamental christians truly believe that God created woman to be subservient to man. I will never understand how such women can support a structure that seeks to marginalize and oppress them, but the can and they DO. The fact that you defend this tells me though, that you are obviously extremely sexist and deem this appropriate. In order that you may one day learn empathy, I hope that the nature of your very existence and physical manifestation is at some point called into question to the degree that you are also silenced, marginalized, defiled or abused. Maybe then you will get it. But in truth, maybe you will be exactly like one of those women rallying against their own best interests. It’s called Stockholm Syndrome.

        • Ariane Mitchell

          To be sexist you have wield the power in society – just as you have to be on top in order to be racist. Sexism and racism both involve having more power than the other party. But thank you for calling me ignorant.

          • Bobby

            That’s bullshit. You feminazis need to quit making up new definitions.

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            No, it’s not bullshit. Read what she’s saying. I get what Ariane is saying. I don’t necessarily agree with her 100%, but I get what she’s laying down. Stretch your mind. It’s a philosophical argument, and throwing around “it’s bullshit. You feminazis…” ANYTHING isn’t going to score you any points here. Anyone who uses the word “feminazi” listens to too much Limbaugh.

          • Whothehell Cares

            That’s right, when you don’t wield power, like yourself, then you aren’t a sexist or racist, just an ignorant a-hole, like yourself.

          • amandahuginkiss

            Uh..when did I reply to you? I replied nrjk. But yeah “internalized mysogyny” = sexism. And your comment about needing to have power to “internalize” a bigoted stance (racism/sexism) is not true. I know plenty of very poor, very powerless white folks who spew hatred for other races and act on it. i.e. most Klu Klux Klan members for instance. You don’t need to be powerful to act out. You can still burn a cross on someone’s lawn if you are broke and powerless. Some of the most racist and sexist people I have ever met in fact are also some of the most powerless. There again, simple psychology. If you do not have power you will try to act out in ways to make yourself feel powerful.

        • Ariane Mitchell

          Oh BTW – the women you call “sexist” to other women aren’t being sexist. They are displaying internalised misogyny.

    • KiraKrumpet

      “You oppose feminism?! THAT MEANS YOU OPPOSE EQUALITY FOR WOMEN”

      It’s strange that the only people who don’t see the problem with that logic are feminists.

  • kelly thompson

    You go girl. I looked down and realized I had my feminist t-shirt on too! Thank you from all women Sophie.

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  • Larry Conley

    Good for Sophie and her mother. The Principal needs to wake up and smell the 21st Century.

  • thefrdeal

    I mean, plenty of places don’t need feminism. The WORLD needs feminism, but lots of places already have virtual equality.

    That being said, the principal is being silly. Sure, there are offensive femenazis and stuff out there, but the shirt didn’t say “kill all men” or anything that’s actually offensive.

    • one angry girl

      feminists have never invaded a country or committed genocide. there is no such thing as a feminazi. stop using this word.

    • ResistJerks

      When you use words like feminazi you betray yourself as being a disgusting woman hater. The only nazis are people who dismiss women for wanting the same rights and privileges males enjoy by default, by using words like “feminazi”. When women start rounding up men, raping them in the arse, cut off their testicle, and lock them up in labor camps, then you can call women “feminazi”. Until then stfu.17% of US legislators are women. That does not qualify as “virtual” equality, whatever da fuq dat is. When we’ll pass the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) then, and only then, we can say we achieved “virtual” equality. Until then sit down and listen instead of talking crap. The only ones being offensive are those who use words like feminazi to further oppress women and maintain the status quo.

      • verum aequalitatem

        You are feminazi because you only care about equality when women’s positions worse than men’s so you are a misandrist you want to opress men. Those people who want true equality care about women’s and men’s too.

        • Liza Mack

          as if men could be oppressed. if you are a man and you feel oppressed then you must not be much of a man! Grow a penis!

          • Desh

            “as if wo-men could be oppressed. if you are a wo-man and you feel oppressed then you must not be much of a wo-man! Grow a uterus!” I took the liberty of interchanging the names since you only see things in terms of women.

            Wow you are a bigot. People of color like myself would strongly disagree with a white woman defining who is “allowed” to be oppressed. Oppression is not a gendered term. And your statement is so god damn sexist….

        • Milly Scott

          Grow up. By making all people equal, women AND men benefit. And if not, then by all means have your men’s movement. But this should be working WITH feminism, not against it.

        • Mason

          “I am uncomfortable when we are not about me”

          • keva

            feminist are that. its amazing too see how they are shocked when someone use gender neutral language insted of feminísm and patriaci muhaha

          • Guest

            Are you blind or illiterate? I was referring to the jackass above me trying to say that feminism is irrelevant because it doesn’t address gender inequality for men, which it does.

          • Mason

            I’m not really sure how to respond to this because it’s rather incoherent. Can you try to rephrase what you said?

    • onetinkerbell

      As someone who knows people who escaped being rounded up by the nazis in WWII and as someone whose grandfather fought in the resistance and was captured by the nazis, I resent the use of that term to describe anyone who wasn’t part of that regime. Stop using that word – it lessens the impact of what those people truly did. Women who subscribe to a militant feminist view are a far cry from being nazis.

  • one angry girl

    I’ll be wearing this tomorrow to support Sophie.
    love from

    • Liza Mack

      that’s awesome that you make fun of women. Good luck with that. Hope it works out for you.

      • Mason

        I’m not really sure how this is making fun of women?

  • Wordwizard

    Why did the photographer think it was necessary to call the principal?
    Is the photo going to be changed back?

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  • Keep in mind, Ohio is also the state where parents can legally beat or starve or withhold medical care to the point their children dies, so long as it is done in the name of religion. The state Legislature also created student TB test religious exemptions and allows parents to use “a recognized method of religious healing” instead of medical care for a child sick with tuberculosis. They’ve also got religious exemptions for learning about disease (aka “germ theory”) in school and religious defenses to felony crimes (including the above mentioned child manslaughter).

  • Petit Nole

    Uhhhh…. People. The shirt is photoshopped. Text on a shirt doesn’t just sit that straight on cloth, especially when it’s on a moving thing. An I the only one that sees this… OMG media today sucks a big one.

    • Sanjay Merchant

      Well, if you read the article, you’d see the part where they note they don’t have the unaltered image, and the girl in quesiton holding up her shirt.

      Y’know, in case the swirly colors weren’t a clue that the image on the left wasn’t unaltered.

    • Alex

      You know who really “sucks a big one today” Petit Nole? People who jump on their holier-than-thou soap boxes and spew uniformed knee-jerk reactions without actually reading an article. Are you “the only one that sees this?” YES… because the rest of don’t just look at pretty pictures and then make unintelligent assumptions.

    • Liza Mack

      I noticed the bad photoshop, it’s cute. It’s a jest, as in…we’re putting it back on the shirt! I would like to send “Feminist” shirts to the school, one for every student.

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  • Will

    Hahahaha Some people might find equal rights offensive? What a fool

    • Milly Scott

      Ironically, this is why we need feminism hahaha

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  • So, how does it feel to be on the wrong end of the stick?

  • Vicky l

    What a fantastic young woman. She gives me hope

  • metshel

    …go, Sophie!

    • This is FANTASTIC!!! Thanks to both of you. We’ll make sure Sophie sees your picture and we’re sharing it on our FB page and Twitter.

      • metshel

        Super, we do want her to see it. We’re all talking about Sophie and we’re so proud of her for speaking up. The future will be shaped by young people like her.
        Sending love and support from Chicago!

    • jimbo

      poor guy.

    • jimbo

      pretty clear that was photo shopped on his shirt… nice try…

  • Tedi Trindle
  • Tyrell_Corp

    Sophie is an amazing young woman!

  • gio33

    What the principal did was offensive. Scrubbing out her free expression of a noble idea (and only anti-women fascists find that offensive) not only suppresses her free expression, but also is akin to vandalizing this young woman’s picture, as she is left with just a black shirt and that changes the overall appearance. By his logic, the principal could say her uncovered long hair was offensive, and photo-shop a cover over it. That would be an equivalent type of horrendously reactionary practice that should be condemned. That principal should be fired, and replaced by a feminist principal (man or women).

    This is my favorite part that was inspiring: ” This just in from Christine (2:00pm – 4/15)

    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.” With oppression brings resistance! It’s right to rebel against reactionaries!

  • joe

    I wonder what would happen if a boy wore a “CHAUVINIST” shirt to school. I Guarantee that all the FEMINISTS would have a SISSY FIT!

    • Northerner3

      By definition, feminist is not the equivalent of chauvinist. Some people misunderstand “feminist” because it is such a misused word, but it you look up its definition, it is not the same thing as chauvinist.

  • jimbo

    I wonder what would happen if a boy wore a “CHAUVINIST” shirt? hmmmmm..

    • Milly Scott

      She wore a FEMINIST shirt, not a MISANDRIST shirt.

      Feminism = equality, misandry = superiority. Comepletely different.

  • jimbo

    I pity the guy she marries some day. Oh wait.. she’ll probably marry a woman.

  • DarthJader

    Why was she allowed to wear it at all? KKK, Nazi, and other hate movements and fundamentalist religion shirts are banned, why would Feminism get a pass?

    • Milly Scott

      Feminism is not a hate movement, and not comparable to Nazis, KKK, etc. Grow up

  • Curious

    Christine, did Sophie’s principal agree to stand with her?

  • “Fear of feminism is also fear of complexity, fear of thinking, fear of ideas–we live, after all, in a profoundly anti-intellectual culture. Feminism is one of the few movements in the U.S. that produce nonacademic intellectuals–readers, writers, thinkers, and theorists outside the academy.” Lisa Maria Hogeland

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  • Sadie Legrande

    I don’t see anything offensive about this.

  • JaySFO

    1. The photo on the left, with the word “FEMINIST,” is obviously photoshopped.

    2. Wow! A woman would block out the word “feminist”?

    3. “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.”

    • Northerner3

      At the end of the article they explain why it was photoshopped – the student did not have access to the original image and they recreated what is would have looked like. They have a picture of the T-shirt near the bottom of the artice.

  • Kenny

    I’m betting the principal would have approved of an ‘NRA” T-shirt.

  • Ariane Mitchell

    Why are so many men and their female hangers-on so petrified of feminism? We’re witnessing the death throes of the patriarchal gravy train is why. Some of them are literally fighting to the death.

  • hsartteach

    Sophie is awesome!!! I want the principal to right the wrong and reissue the intact photograph to all students.

  • Northerner3

    The girl should have asked that principal should be forced to pay the photographer to reprint all the images using the original image before it was altered. There is absolutely no excuse for this.

  • Michelle

    I need an update,Did the principal agree to Sophie’s terms?Cuz if not I would pull my kid right out of that school.this is Bullshit.

  • Pippin

    I feel a good firing would be appropriate, but less severe actions could do well, too. I’m honestly pretty disappointed that this girl is letting the system off so easy, with some nice cheap words. Bare minimum should have been a pledge to change photographers for the school system (the photographer that pointed it out as a potential issue deserves some blame). Also, I think this would be a great opportunity to address that school system’s budget and try to get funding for girls’ sports increased, reducing the inequality in male vs female athletics (girls need sports scholarships, too).

  • Mocksoup

    So impressed by that kid. Sad it took public humiliation for the principal to get it.

  • Flannigan

    Hmm. See, I would be quite offended by that T-shirt, and the slogan, but that doesn’t mean I condone any blocking out of the word. That would just be ridiculous.

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  • Susan Soto

    There should be no political t shirts worn at school I wonder if you would be condemning the principal if she’d worn a t shirt with the word Racist on it?

  • Headache

    yep, its offensive to me. good job principal.

  • daboys1215 .

    Excellent. Anti-feminism continues to attack feminists everywhere. Love it.

  • Fraga123

    Feminism is offensive and bigoted. The school would edit out “KKK”, so this equivalent makes perfect sense.

  • David Henderson

    Your photo on the left has been amateurishly altered to add the word, Feminist.

    • Alex

      Your comment above has been amateurishly posted… you sir, like several others in this thread, should consider reading an article before commenting. If you had, you would have understood what’s happening (intentionally) in the photo on the left.

  • Scot Conway

    I’m not surprised. When the American Flag and symbols of the flag can be deemed offensive in America, why should we be surprised that a Feminist shirt worn by a girl would also be deemed inappropriate?

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  • gary gross

    What’s the problem? No political statements in yearbook photos.

  • Dana Stone

    A lot of people misunderstand the First Ammendment. The Supreme Court ruled years ago that public schools may prohibit any expressive conduct they wish as long as it is rationally related to the goals or mission of the school. This standard is very loose, and allows almost any type of regulation by a school to stand. While I am a feminist, and I would definitely be angry if this happened to my daughter, citing a First Amendment freedom of expression violation is a bit of a stretch.

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