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Mar 28 2017
by Daphine Henderson

'Battle of the Sexes' Posters Around High School Spark Controversy

By Daphine Henderson - Mar 28 2017

Snow Canyon High School's traditional "Battle of the Sexes" week is usually filled with negative gendered language, but this year students and administrators have apparently had enough. 

The high school was covered with posters attacking the both sexes, which some students found to be inappropriate and disrespectful. School administrators ordered they be taken down by the end of the school day.

The attack was on males, too. 

Faith Henke, senior at SCHS, has participated in BOTS week for three years now. She said: 

“I love being a student at Snow Canyon High School, and I love the students I go to school with. Every year posters are put up targeting the opposite sex, and every year there's heat surrounding them because many of them are sexist and derogatory. One gender is not to blame more than the other, because both say some pretty nasty things about the other. Because BOTS week pits sexes against each other casual conversation can get heated, because people are more willing to voice their opinions on the other gender because they feel sexist speech is tolerated this week even though it's not, at least not by administration. I found the posters offensive because although they were meant as a joke there truly are students I've spoken to who hold these opinions about both men and women, and it allows their opinions to become more vocalized and even normalized. BOTS week appropriates sexism, and although this is only high school it begs the question as to if these values are being taught in homes, and if it really is tolerated in families. I was raised to respect men and women and expect that same respect back, and I know that many I attend school with were taught the same things, so seeing that such derogatory remarks are still allowed to have a place in school is hard to understand. I believe men and women each have important roles in society, and making a mockery of the others' roles doesn't teach acceptance and equality. I'm glad the posters were taken down, but students still need to understand and recognize why they were taken down in the first place instead of assuming it's because a few people were offended.” 

Her sister, Kerra Henke, graduated from the high school in 2015. She said this language was far from unusual. 

“It's ALWAYS this extreme. Neither side is respectful to the other, and the administration hasn't taken any steps to improve things, despite frustration from some students. The week is supposed to be a series of events where girls and guys compete in little competitions and earn points. The derogatory posters are just the side show. I knew of multiple people (some close friends) who approached teachers or administration about the posters. But they were always told not to take the posters down--it was just part of the week.”

Sophomore Luca Nordquist, who first tweeted pictures of the posters said:

“Student council put up posters on Monday morning, and I read them at lunch and they pissed me off. I was kind of worried about posting anything at first because of backlash, but when other people started mentioning they were upset, I decided to.” 

Many students responded to the tweet; one with pictures of their own:

Thankfully, after hearing enough student's protests and disagreements, the administration ordered the posters to be taken down from around the school.

Faith Henke said,

“I think once administration saw that students really were upset and offended by it they decided to do something about it, but it's sad that anyone even had to stand up and say that it wasn't right before anything got fixed.”

Lead Image Credit: Twitter via Luca Nordquist

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Daphine Henderson - University of Maryland, College Park

Daphine Henderson is a sophomore at the University of Maryland College Park majoring in Music Performance on Bass. She enjoys reading, writing, and anything involved with music and art. Follow her on Twitter @Guinea231 !

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