The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Staff Editorial: Why we didn’t buy Disco T-shirts

Last week, our school appropriately responded to a bias-motivated incident with a campus wide e-mail and workshop to follow. In that same week another offensive term was printed, only it was on hundreds of tee-shirts, each being sold for $10.

The Disco XXI theme, “Saturday Night Beaver,” is a distasteful phrase anywhere, but to see it get promoted at a place that values social justice as much as Grinnell College is especially bothersome. “Hustle & Blow,” the theme from 2007, is similar to this year’s only in that it is a play on a movie title. That title exemplified what we expect, with a clever play on words, a nod to the decade culture and a truly funkadelic shirt, none of which this year’s Disco can claim without it being at the expense of women.

In addition, the posters for this year’s event have been equality offensive. Most notably one featuring a man with his pants around his ankles who is standing behind another man in a sexual manner with the phrase “Anything goes,” is objectionable for multiple reasons. First, it sends the false message that homosexuality is such a debaucherous practice that it is only appropriate for a night when “anything goes.” Second, there is a certain element of sexual violence that could imply unwanted sexual aggression is acceptable on this oh so crazy of a night.

We at the S&B understand one of the main reasons for the prevalence of theme parties at Grinnell is to transport us from our rural isolated setting and transport to another world—the 1970s, say. But during this process we should never lose our 21st century values of equality and respect.

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