Another day, another high school snuffing out the voice of America's youth. Gracie Holtzclaw, a high school senior from South Carolina was given a spot at a county-wide school arts exhibition, but two days before the event, she was informed that the piece she submitted was deemed unsuitable.
The piece she submitted is entitled "Rape Culture," featuring a naked tattooed woman whose breasts have been 'censored' with a black bar. The exhibition did not lay out any guidelines for the students' artwork. A district spokesman gave the rationale behind the decision, writing:
"This piece, for both title and content, was determined to be inappropriate for the District Showcase because the artwork is on display during a community event and can be viewed by small children."
The interesting thing is that Holtzclaw's piece is entirely appropriate for an art showcase. It's a deeply personal piece that addresses a struggle that every woman deals with. Holtzclaw's explanation of the piece makes its exclusion even more painful. Via WYFF4:
"I started at an early age at a Christian school, locally, and we were always taught that it was our responsibility as women to cover up and be modest, and if a man was to ever get aroused or turned on or be interested in us, it was our fault," said Holtzclaw. "Eventually, I had gotten sexually assaulted. It was true when it happened. Everyone blamed me for it and told me it was my fault and that just led the way into this art piece."
"I know I'm not the only girl in high school that's been sexually assaulted and felt like it was my fault, so I wanted to get the word out there and tell people, 'It's not your fault. It's not your fault,'" said Holtzclaw. "Things that need to be talked about shouldn't be taboo, because people struggle and we need to talk about those kind of things that people struggle with."
If a school district isn't willing to let a young woman express a very real concern and experience on her terms because think of the CHILDREN, then it would be inaccurate to call it an art showcase to begin with. Listen, I love me some watercolor flowers and clay pots, but limiting student art to simply being visually pleasing and inoffensive really demonstrates a huge lack of support for those students interested in art, and in this case, the issues young women deal with like rape culture.
Lead image via WYFF4.com.