Oregon H.S. athletes fight for feminism

Gresham, Ore. (KATU) — A picture may be worth a thousand words, and one particular photo of Portland student athletes is worth thousands and thousands of likes. “A lot of the freshmen are like, ‘Whoa, I can’t believe you guys are doing this!’” said student athlete Alex Zepeda. Alex along with Rhys Atkinson and four of their teammates all found in this picture that’s going viral — sporting a ‘wild feminist’ shirt in their locker room.

Alex said, “I don’t know what would be so wrong for us trying to tell others that women deserve the same rights as men and they shouldn’t be treated differently.”After Donald Trump’s controversial remarks about sexual assault circulated in the media, the boys wanted to show what really goes on in a locker room. “Usually we talk about sports and grades like our teacher and coaches really get in our heads about that. They want us to succeed and go to colleges,” said Alex.

Professional athletes are also taking a stand for feminism. Timbers defender Zarek Valentine and Olympic fencer Miles Chamley Watson shared Instagram posts of them in the same shirts, saying ‘sexual assault is not locker room banter’.

The creator of the shirt says she never expected it to take off so quickly. “The way they talk about women and the way they treat women is really cool,” said designer Emma McIlroy.

The idea behind Emma McIlroy’s shirts is to start conversations. She said, “I think when you have young men that can say to other men, ‘that’s not ok, you shouldn’t say that,’ that’s a huge part of changing the conversation.”

And with one photo, the conversation has just begun. “It just goes to show how a group of kids can change a school and a student body,” added Alex.

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