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I am a senior at High School, a section leader in the marching band, involved in a 4-H service club, work two jobs, and pride myself in being a high achieving student. Recently, however, I got in trouble for designing a shirt that apparently had a “sexual innuendo”.
As clarinet section leader in the marching band, it is tradition to design a shirt for the section. With the largest section of 28 clarinets we decided to have our shirt show our numerous size, the shirt for this year read:
“If size matters…” <insert picture of clarinet and tuba> “Then SIZE matters.” <insert picture of clarinet, picture of an X, and picture of the number 28>
Before the shirt was printed over 35 individuals had seen or heard about the text and pictures in the front. However, once printed our band director called us into his office and said that our shirt made him feel uncomfortable and that it was “banned from school and all school related events” with the school administration supporting this.
Never have I been more shocked or offended in my life. Surely, one can see that our shirt was not intended to be sexual or as my band director said, that it “referred to the male anatomy”. Our intentions were pure and innocent, and coincidentally no parent or section member had noticed anything inappropriate until after the shirt was banned.
I am offended that any person would think that my section leaders or I would ever dream to put an innuendo on a shirt. We have pride in ourselves, our school, and our community. At first I was outraged at the administration and the band director, however, now I see that the true source of outrage should be directed towards the society in which we all live.
I ask what has become of our society that makes people sexualize everything from the pictures in our magazines to a simple band shirt. Where does one draw the line? Is our band shirt “inappropriate” because of the connation of the words “size” and “matters” regardless of the fact that it is in the wrong context?
Our society has become manipulated by the media in which we are all exposed to. No longer are “pure intentions” recognized but now everyone assumes that all things point to sex. With this thought and this type of exposure to sex, it is no wonder that teenage pregnancy is being glorified by my peers—through shows like “Sixteen and Pregnant” or that sex is a rite of passage into becoming an adult.
The world in which we live in has become more dangerous to my generation. How can we be expected to be on a path to success if we must be bombarded with over sexualized content 24/7? How can we be expected to remain pure if even our good intentions are looked down on?
I worry for the freshmen in my section, for my younger sister, for my generation. How do we rise and meet the expectations of our parents and our ethics if we must first rise about society’s sexualization? So even though our shirts are banned, I hope that the realization for change will not have just struck me but many others as well.
As Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.