Applaud Student for Promoting Gender Equality

Target: Tyler Olkowski, High School student at Phillips Academy Andover

Goal: Recognize high school student for calling attention to male athlete culture’s lack of feminism

A high school student recently wrote a Letter to the Editor for his school’s newspaper calling attention to the lack of male athletes supporting feminism at the school. His decision to speak out is an important step for gender equality at this school, and a catalyst for more change at other schools in the United States.

Tyler Olkowski, a senior at Phillips Academy Andover in Andover, Massachusetts, wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Phillipian, the school’s publication. This letter, written in conjunction with 21 other male seniors at the private school, condemns some aspects of sports culture at Phillips Academy while calling for gender equality and open discussions about gender at the school. Olkowski’s letter highlights the ways in which hierarchies within athletic teams have allowed for sexism by objectifying women through various traditions and the perpetuation of masculinity. The letter is a call to action, asking athletes to act as role models and leaders for gender equality and the advancement of feminism on campus.

Sports culture and masculinity often play a major role in the marginalization of women, through destructive hierarchies and traditions that portray women as “prizes” to be won. Additionally, in a  culture in which men seek to prove their masculinity to gain status, this is often done through the “conquest” for and objectification of women. Olkowski’s decision to work with other male athletes at his high school to recognize and condemn this type of culture and advocate for a new culture that supports gender equity and mutual respect is one that should be highly praised. His letter may encourage other athletic communities and organizations in other schools to begin their own critical examinations of gender relationships.

By signing the petition below you will be praising Olkowski and his classmates for their commitment to gender justice and respectful treatment of women.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Tyler Olkowski,

Sports culture has often played a negative role in the treatment of women. However, your recent stand against the traditional athletic culture has proven that men have the capacity to further the feminist agenda and improve currently destructive cultures.

I am writing you to praise you for your decision to speak out against injustice. I ask you to continue promoting social awareness and gender equality even after your graduation, and I thank you for your commitment to changing the status quo in order to improve gender relations and garner respect between students at your school. Your letter is inspirational and will hopefully act as a catalyst for other schools to start having the same important discussions.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Daderot via Wikimedia Commons

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