Spirit Week Controversy: Gender Bender Day

Emily Adams, Newspaper Editor

Battle High School’s first day of spirit week started off with a bang, as hundreds of Battle students sported their stars and stripes. On day two of spirit week, tension surrounded the enthusiasm. For Wednesday’s “Gender Bender Day” students dressed in their version of the opposite sex. Guys and girls came to school with over the top outfits, including ball gowns and fake beards. The crazy outfits brought attention and also many skeptics. Many students were excited for the day, but others were concerned that the theme would increase gender stereotypes and make a joke out of transgender lifestyles.

Battle High student Cassy Hernandez questions Gender Bender day, stating, “Why do we have to give clothing a gender? I dress masculine every day and it doesn’t mean I identify as a guy.” Hernandez says another unintentional outcome she fears is that the theme enforces gender stereotypes. Many of the outfits involved males or females wearing stereotypical clothes to represent the other sex. Sarah Grant, a junior at Battle, agrees with Hernandez stating that “using a spirit day to enforce a concept of two set gender types is wrong and inappropriate.” This is a relevant issue to those who are transgender. Alexander Singleton, a transitioning man, has mixed feelings about the theme: “I’m very conflicted on whether this day was good or bad, it was offensive to me, but seeing so many people being comfortable enough to wear entirely different attire is kind of amazing.”

While some students found Gender Bender Day offensive, many others thought the theme was a unique way to show pride. Battle High’s seniors are experiencing their last chance for school spirit, and senior Ariel Walker chose to participate in her last spirit week by wearing a black wig and an over sized shirt. Walker believes that other students shouldn’t be offended, because “it doesn’t necessarily concern them, it’s just to have fun and school pride.” Walker’s view is shared by many of her peers, including Leslie Ramirez who advocated for the theme in student council. Ramirez considers Gender Bender Day a way to show school spirit: “We’re not against anyone, it’s just a fun day: we are accepting of everyone in whatever shape or form they come in. I dressed up because I felt like I need to show I am proud of Battle and have pride in this school.” Ramirez also argues that the theme embraces that “any clothing can be worn by anyone.”

Regardless of opinion, Battle High School students share an optimistic outlook on future spirit weeks. Alexander Singleton shared his positivism stating, “I think Battle is an amazing and supportive school… we have an amazing staff at this school and I don’t think they meant any harm by Gender Bender Day.” Singleton hopes that Battle High School will move forward to next year’s spirit week with a greater understanding of diversity among it’s students.