Say What? A Student’s Response to the Sexist Shirts Seen on Campus

Krysten Baitz, Contributing Writer

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the shirts I see on our campus. I’ve heard of shirts that read, “Get p*ssy, don’t be one,” as well as, “If you can’t come in her, come honor.” Read it aloud if you’re not quite understanding that one. I was at the dining hall one morning when I saw someone wearing a shirt that read, “Tighter than your little sister,” and was initially in too much shock to even register that I should say something. And when I did think about speaking up, I was worried, scared even, that I would be publicly embarrassed by the guy wearing it or maybe even face some form of retaliation when in town or at a party the following weekend.

But now, I’m not going to allow silence to be an option  because I’m tired of feeling threatened at my college, to which I pay a lot of money each year to attend. Because I’m tired of letting people perpetuate misogyny or prejudice against women. Because I’m really, really, really sick of feeling like I’m not worth as much as the guy sitting next to me in class.

I just want to say something to the fraternity members, unrecognized and recognized, wearing these shirts in public, on our campus, in our dining halls, in our classrooms: think about it. Would you be proud to go to a family party in that shirt? Would you be okay with your sister seeing you with that phrase on your back? You’re showing your letters and your pride in your organization alongside your brothers. But when you’re wearing a shirt that blatantly disrespects women, you’re giving the rest of us a really bad impression. And I, for one, feel unsafe when you’re around in shirts like that.

Do you believe in the basic principle that men and women should be equal? If yes, then please, I beg you, stop wearing those shirts. And better yet, encourage your organization to stop making them. I live for the day when I can walk around this campus and not feel like less of a person because of the shirt someone is wearing. I know Oneonta is better than this, so please prove me right.

15 Comments

  1. Its freedom of speech. Everyone is entitled to it. Other countries are far worse. Not to mention that greek life has been here longer than you have and have always had shirts like that. Its called humor. Seems everyone is running out of stuff to complain about nowadays or have lost their funny bone.

    • It’s no humor when other people feel uncomfortable or afraid walking on campus because of these shirts. It reinforces everything women have worked so hard to diminish in our culture. You’re missing the point. This is a HUGE issue in our society. Women are degraded and it’s “OK” because “it’s only a joke, don’t be a bitch!” No. I don’t see shirts about other minority groups being deemed “OK.” Just because we are women and have been sexualized since the beginning of time.. Doesn’t mean that it should continue to make us live in fear.

  2. To the previous comment: Supposed to be funny? That’s offensive, rude, and disrespectful. Far from funny. Get a new sense of humor.

  3. It’s beyond me how anyone could find these phrases funny. They’re disgusting, demeaning and moronic. Do you have sisters? Would you wear these shirts in front of the women in your family? Try stepping into the shoes of a woman sitting in class, starting at the back of one of these shirts. I’ve seen women brought to tears thanks to these idiotic shirts.

    Free speech should be celebrated, not abused. The college should step in here. This language is threatening.

    People who wear these shirts make me feel embarrassed to be graduating from this university. The author gives me hope that students can establish a dialogue and help others grow up a bit.

  4. I’m sure if you actually had fear from the students walking around campus you would do something about it. Most people who are threatened by someone or feel that harm would come to them by that particular person would go to the authorities to protect themselves. Let’s be honest. Yes, the shirts are inappropriate and can be disrespectful. BUT no shirt has any remarks of harming a women, speaking of a woman as being a lesser person or anything of the sort. Most of these shirts referring to females is to make other males feel that the Fraternity brothers are capable of being with more women or that if you join them you can come in contact with more women. You’re not afraid you’re offended, if you want to get the shirts removed at least be honest and don’t exaggerate your point just to get more attention.

  5. I have the right to wear whatever I want. The fact that it makes you feel uncomfortable or less of a person is beyond me. They aren’t directed at you or anyone other females personally. And before you criticize frat guys like myself, you should know that sororities, even recognized ones, were notorious back in the day for having shirts like “handling your package with care”. So before you go stereotyping the shit out of us, get facts straight. The shirts are meant to be funny, but if you don’t take them in a funny I understand. But when it comes down to it, I’m going to wear what I want and if that make you uncomfortable then so be it.

  6. Ya know, I understand theres a lot of dumb frat guys, especially in the unrec organizations, and theres a lot of inappropriate shirts some of them wear, especially in the unrec organizations (almost exclusively, even), but I dont think its fair to single out one group as the only ones who need to be told not to do it. Im in a recognized frat, and I would never wear a shirt like “GET PUSSY FUCK BITCHES” or something stupid like that because Im not a fucking douchebag. The people that wear those shirts are douchebags. Everybody knows it. Nobody thinks theyre cool for it. And they sure as hell wont listen to what you have to say about it, because they are, again, DOUCHEBAGS. But I am NOT one of those people, and I have never seen another member of my fraternity being one of those people. So please dont just place the blame on one group, when that group is just as diverse as any other one. Theres douchebags everywhere, but theres also a lot of regular people everywhere too.

  7. You may be “tired of letting people perpetuate misogyny or prejudice against women,” well I’m tired of you people stereotyping greek life as a whole as if everyone is wearing shirts like this. Not to mention people outside of greek life can wear offensive shirts too. But guess what, as offensive as they might be, they are allowed to wear them because they live in this beautiful free country where you can exercise free speech and not be publicly hanged for it. Maybe take a step back and listen to your own arguments and stop stereotyping and degrading an entire group of people and stop trying to impede on the rights that make us free.

  8. They may be offensive, rude, disgusting, etc, but they have every right to wear those shirts. If they don’t want to wear them in front of their female family members, so be it. You don’t have to agree with the message and you can openly tell them that they shouldn’t wear the shirts but what it comes down to is that they have every right to wear them and you have every right to protest them. I don’t like those shirts at all but as Voltaire has been misquoted as saying, “I don’t agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” That’s what living in a liberal democracy is about. Unfortunately, the P.C.American university system doesn’t seem to agree.

  9. Oneonta’s Greek Life, recognized and unrecognized isn’t exactly top tier and this is coming from someone who is in it, actually it’s kind of a joke, much like the shirts. Get a sense of humor people. It’s protected speech and there’s nothing you can do about it.

  10. People’s ignorance never ceases to amaze me. When our forefathers fought for our rights to freedom of speech, I doubt it was their intention to impede on the safety and the inclusiveness of others. We have a duty as constants of the college to make everyone of our brothers and sisters to feel at home because Oneonta is my second home. It’s stuff like this that tarnishes our degree which soon you will be leaving us and makes ius looks like a joke to our future employers. So those are trying to be funny or cute, who would be the last one laughing?

    • It doesn’t matter what our forefathers thought, Greek organizations will do as they wish. As far as tarnishing your degree. It’s a SUNY, SUNY isn’t exactly Ivy League (Go to grad school people, seriously). Oneonta has bigger issues to worry about than a couple of fraternity t-shirts. Cases in point being The Blacklist, the decades long tradition of being called “Stoneonta”, and the highest drug arrests on campus. A couple of unrecognized fraternities stopping making those shirts won’t change that.

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