An 8th grade student at Clermont Northeastern Middle School in Owensville, Ohio had her “FEMINIST” t-shirt censored out of a class photo.
13-year-old Sophie Thomas wore a black t-shirt that she had written “FEMINIST” on in white paint. This happened to be the day that a group photo was taken of her entire class. According to the principal Kendra Young, the photographer called her and asked her what should be done and she replied that it should be censored. In the final print, she was shown in a plain black shirt, as relayed by Jason LaVeris of MSNBC.
Michael McIntire of Glutz-McIntire Photography in Cincinnati took the photo, writes Rheana Murray of Today. He said that it’s common practice to edit school photos like taking out inappropriate hand gestures.
Sophie said that she had worn it after an older student had made a sexist comment to her, writes Jennifer O’Neill of Yahoo Parenting.
Her mother, Christine, shared the story with Women You Should Know:
She wore the shirt all day without any issues. … 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 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…
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.
An update from Christine came later:
I actually had a meeting with Mrs. Young … today. She apologized to me profusely, of course, after the local news station called her this morning! …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 to make this school and our community a better place for everyone. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”
Sophie held a protest in which she asked students and adults to show support by wearing their favorite FEMINIST t-shirt.
Another update came on 4/21, this time from Sophie herself. She was addressing Women You Should Know, the site that originally wrote about the incident.
Friday went amazing! I can’t believe how many people wore shirts! People all over the world have supported me.
My principal and I are on good terms. In fact, we are working on educating everyone on feminism!
Everything has been great, except one thing… my superintendent, Ralph Shell, has been lying to anyone who calls him about this. He says that it was a ‘joke’ and that we (the students) were ‘in on it.’ He has said that both of my parents came in and agreed to have the word taken off because I looked ‘unflattering.’
Two things: 1. My father lives in Tennessee, so he didn’t agree to anything. 2. Mr. Shell actually told many news sources that I lookedd unflattering. A grown man, over the age of 60, told people it was an awful picture of me.