Texas Teenager Calls Out Her High School’s Rape Joke Shirts

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Anyone who has attended a public Texas high school knows how much influence the football team has on the community.

At my high school, our mascot was the Rebels. On game days, “Dixie” played over the intercom during passing periods. Varsity players wore ties plastered with Confederate flags. Hardly anyone batted an eyelash, because football was king.

That’s why I’m so impressed with Sherilyn Morales, the Texas teenager who called out her school football program’s decision to print t-shirts reading “We take what we want” and “Shhhhhhh just let it happen.”

According to Morales, who wrote an editorial about the shirts for her school paper, the team’s seniors decided to use those slogans for the team’s shirts, allegedly because “there is no need for the opponent to put up a fight in letting our team take the ball away from them.”

But, as Morales points out, the slogan “connotes rape culture.” She called for “more oversight and consideration before [clubs and teams] allow questionable slogans to represent our school.”

Seems reasonable. “We take what we want” is, at best, a dicey message to send to high schoolers, but there’s no question that “just let it happen” is a rape joke. Ban the shirts, have a long sit-down with the football coach, and throw in a sex-positive school assembly about consent for good measure—we’re done here, right?

Well, no, not exactly. According to Raw Story, the men at the school are, you know, being men.

“I’ve seen the shirts several times since July, and not once did it cross my mind that it was inappropriate,” the head football coach, Bob “¯\_(ツ)_/¯” Wager, said. The president of the booster club, Ken White, agreed: “It’s sickening to me that it was misconstrued.”

I mean, I suppose it’s entirely possible that these guys have never heard “shhhh, just let it happen” used as the punch line to a rape joke, but now that they know, why are they so adamantly defending the shirts? Why not make a less offensive shirt, one that says “GO TEAM” or just has a picture of the mascot? Actually, strike that last idea because their mascot is actually a Native American standing in front of a pirate flag. (Please raise your hand if you just got a BINGO.)

Anyway, thanks to Morales’ editorial, the shirts have been banned by school administrators. Someone get this girl a scholarship.

Natalie tweets from @nsanluis.


About Author

Natalie San Luis

Natalie is a native Texan, a feminist, and a writer, focusing on reproductive justice, race, and pop culture. When she's not writing (and sometimes when she is), she's brewing beer, drinking beer, and reading stuff on the Internet. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, xoJane, The Billfold, Culturemap, and E3W Review of Books. She tweets from @nsanluis.

1 Comment

  1. Ann Richards would be proud. That coach and head booster need to Google the name “Clayton Williams”… Then they’ll remember why nobody remembers that guy’s name.

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