Gina Vaynshteyn
April 17, 2015 2:45 pm

The digital retouching of student photos has sparked plenty of debate in recent months, and, with today’s news, it seems that debate will rage on. A few weeks ago, the photo of an Ohio 8th-grader posing for her class picture was Photoshopped. Sophie Thomas was photographed sitting in the front row of her class in the photo, wearing a shirt that said “feminist” on it — but when she received her yearbook, she noticed that the word “feminist” had been digitally erased.

She told Today.com: “I was in class and they were passing out the photos to those who ordered them, and my friend got one so I looked at it so make sure I wasn’t making a dumb face or anything.”

According to MS News, “the word was doctored from the photo to prevent any unintended controversies.” However, wearing a shirt with the word “feminist” on it doesn’t technically break any rules or challenge the school’s dress code. Plus, the report states that the 8th grader has worn the shirt to class without any issues with teachers or classmates.

In a post to Instagram, the Thomas showed the Photoshopped image (and reinstated the shirt’s message) as a way of making her concerns public and rallying for support.

We’re not exactly sure why “feminist” would be considered controversial — in fact, we applaud this girl for brazenly displaying her beliefs. The word “feminist” should never be looked at as a “dirty” word. After all, by definition, “feminist” just means “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.”

Luckily, the school didn’t put up much of a fight. After Thomas confronted school officials, they made the original photograph available for her. And, according to MS News, “The school also will have an  open conversation with other students so they have a full understanding on what occurred.”

Above all, it’s super important to understand the implication of language and censorship. Sometimes, it can be valuable and necessary to set some boundaries, especially when you’re in school and your photos are meant to represent a learning facility. However, sometimes censorship goes too far, or infringes on personal expression in a way that sends the wrong message to teens. We’re just glad to see that the school is responding to the issue and listening to a girl who clearly has some rad opinions and isn’t afraid to share them.

(Images via MS News, Twitter, Instagram)

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