Centennial High School athletes are fighting back against the idea that bragging about sexual assault is locker room talk.
A picture of basketball, football, soccer and cross country athletes in a locker room at the Gresham school, wearing shirts that say “Wild Feminist” has been shared over a thousand times already on Facebook. The caption to the picture reads: “Sexual Assault is not locker room banter. #wildfeminist #reptheC.”
The shirts are from Portland-based clothing company Wildfang. Emma McIlroy, CEO and founder of Wildfang, told us over the phone Friday that the Centennial picture is part of a larger movement.
“Some of us at Wildfang were pretty upset by Donald Trump’s comments,” she said, speaking about the now-infamous comments made by Donald Trump in 2005 about non consensual groping and kissing.
Trump has called those comments, “locker room talk.”
“I don’t think he gets to speak on behalf of all men,” said McIlroy. “What you’re talking about is sexual assault and not locker room banter at all.”
So McIlroy and Wildfang contacted a coach at Centennial, who helped them make the picture in the locker room happen.
“Young men are a big part of the feminist movement,” said McIlroy.
“These guys are all over the country in locker rooms right now,” she continued. “These young men are the ones who go ‘no, that’s not cool–that’s not okay” if talk of sexual assault comes up.
One of the students in the picture, 17-year-old senior and basketball player Majax Nduta, said over Facebook that he’s been playing sports since 7th grade. “Not once have I said or heard anything like what Donald Trump considered ‘locker room talk’ while in a locker room,” he told us.
“The shirt represent that sexual assault is not locker room banter,” he said, “and I truly take a stand for that.”
The young men from Centennial aren’t the only male athletes standing up for feminism and against sexual assault. Wildfang has also posted a picture of Olympic fencer Miles Chamley-Watson in a Wild Feminist shirt in front of some lockers, with the caption: “‘Sexual assault is not locker room banter’ #wildfeminist”
McIlroy said this is just the beginning. There are already more athletes lined up who will be posting pictures like these in the coming days, including a Timbers player.
“Young men are going to change the conversation,” McIlroy said.
“This wasn’t about celebrity,” she added, “this was about the future.”