Six student athletes at Centennial High School have gone on the record. They don’t support Donald Trump’s vulgar comments about groping women, then saying it was locker room talk.
“I didn’t agree with what he said about how touching women was okay and he just shooed it off as locker room talk. It’s not really how we talk in the locker room,” said Adam Voigt, a junior at Centennial High School.
“That’s not the way boys or athletes talk in the locker room,” agreed Junel Jeannis-Ostin, a senior at Centennial High School.
That’s why the high school juniors and seniors decided they wanted to speak out by wearing shirts with the words “Wild Feminist” printed on them inside their locker room. The shirts are made by Portland company Wildfang.
“I think everyone heard the comments in the news about non-consensual grabbing of women particularly certain body parts of a woman and that was considered locker room banter and I think at Wildfang we strongly disagreed with that,” said Emma McIlroy, the CEO and Cofounder of Wildfang.
She said she reached out to a number of friends, coaches and athletes to ask if that kind of talk happens in locker rooms. They said no. So McIlroy decided to make the shirts.
“The boys at Centennial and their coach, Jeremy, said we want to wear your shirts, we want to pose in our locker room and we want to make a stand for women’s rights and say that’s not how we talk about women in our locker room. So we were just psyched to be a part of it,” said McIlroy.
She said at its heart, the message behind the shirt is simple.
“We still don’t have gender equality in this country and it’s about time we did,” she said.
At Centennial High School, the athletes who were in the photo said they’re all about the idea.
“I’ve never heard anyone talk about women that way before. I thought it was very disgusting,” said Nick Lyngheim, a senior.
“We are very respectful here towards women,” he continued.
The photo has been shared more than 12,000 times on Facebook and has received a lot of attention. But for some of the teens, it’s not necessarily about who wins the race for president.
“What we’re trying to do is not political. What we’re trying to do is promote women’s rights,” said Majax Nudta, a senior at Centennial High.
“We need to make it known that there needs to be gender equality in the world,” added Rhyse Atkinson, a Centennial High School senior.
Trump has apologized for the comments he made in a 2005 video that surfaced a little over a week ago.
The students say they hope they’ve made a difference.
“I hope it encourages people to speak out and say what they believe in,” said Alex Zepeda, a senior at Centennial.
“If we can respect women, then more generations will also,” added Voigt.
“These men are 16, 17, 18 years old to see them stand up and say something on such an important issue. It’s really really cool,” said McIlroy.