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Does this school have double standards or is it just confused?

(7 Posts)
kooshbin Fri 12-Jan-18 20:24:50

It’s from the Daily Mail, but I’ve copied the relevant image and text here, so no-one has to click on the link unless they want to.

Note the last line.

A school has been blasted by a former student after placing 'censored' stickers over her GCSE artwork which showed two women kissing.

Megan Angus accused Laurence Jackson school in Guisborough, North Yorkshire, of being 'homophobic', but education chiefs defended their actions saying it was done because they were 'mindful of the impact the sexually explicit drawing may have on younger students'.

However, the school has apologised, admitting it may have been 'overzealous'.

Miss Angus, 16, said: 'I think it is homophobic. I can't see why they censored it. When you go to an art gallery, they don't censor them there. I wanted my work to be shown how I left it.'

School bosses had glued seven 'censored' stickers around the piece, which showed women kissing and holding hands in their underwear in front of the LGBT rainbow flag.

Miss Angus said that the painting had been 'ruined' as removing the stickers would also remove paint behind them.

Explaining the drawing, Miss Angus, who now works as a lifeguard, said: 'We had to do an outsider piece and had five options.

‘I did same sex relationships as they seem to be out of place in society. I wanted to get across that it shouldn’t be frowned and it shows girls can be together. It is something I feel passionate about.'
She said she was 'proud' of the work, which took her 40 hours to create and landed her a B grade last summer.

Officials have denied that the decision not to display it in one of the Church Lane school's art rooms during marking was homophobic.

Due to the sexually explicit nature of some of the drawings in the student's work, a censored strip of paper was Blu-tacked over these areas,' a spokesperson said.

'As a secondary school, we needed to be mindful of the impact this may have on younger students.

'This piece of art work contributed positively to the student achieving a good grade at GCSE.

'In no way was she discouraged from producing work of this nature and her artistic talents were celebrated by our art department.

'Laurence Jackson School is in no way homophobic; sexually explicit images of any nature would have been censored if displayed.

'In retrospect, we may have been overzealous in censoring some images within the piece, and for that we apologise for any offence caused.'

Last year, the school commended a male pupil who wore a skirt to class.

Putting the stickers over the genital areas of the figures leads the imagination. However, putting stickers over the figures of two women kissing indicates that even kissing is unacceptable. And I don’t buy the school’s statement that they “need to be mindful of the impact this may have on younger students”.

As for the last line, I have managed to find a non-DM link for that story:

So, boy wears skirt = gold star. Girl portrays lesbian love = can’t have that.

AssassinatedBeauty Fri 12-Jan-18 20:33:08

I very much doubt that the images are actually sexually explicit. Would they have covered it all like that if it had been a woman and a man? I wonder.

tomatoandcheese2009 Fri 12-Jan-18 20:41:39

Definitely a censored sticker over the kissing image is silly. I highly doubt it would have been put over an image of a heterosexual couple kissing. I'm not sure it is a double standard though, since a boy wearing a skirt shouldn't really have any sexual connotation whereas kissing can. The censorship of the kiss is wrong on its own, regardless of their position on who can wear skirts (which... Yeah, whoever wants to?!?)

As a lighthearted aside though, the censorship stickers make it much more powerful as a piece of protest art smile

BlindYeo Fri 12-Jan-18 21:22:31

My first thought looking at it is that the poses are sexually suggestive, regardless of the sex of the people pictured. The censor stickers do nothing to mitigate that so they are somewhat ridiculous.The poster itself should either have been displayed or not displayed. In the image bottom right, I did wonder where the hand of one woman was placed under the censor sticker, which I suppose means the sticker actually made that image more suggestive!

I'm not sure I do like the idea of that poster being displayed where eg Year 7s would see it. I did not let my children at that age watch TV in which people were scantily clad to that extent and touching each other in what could be interpreted as a sexual way, I don't care what sex the people are. Children can be disturbed by even mildly sexual content if they are exposed to it before they are ready. I know others' mileage will vary on this but a school population is mostly of minors so I would rather a school erred on the side of caution.

I am just wondering how people would feel if a boy had put up pictures of provocatively posed women in his school locker and argued that it was 'art'. Would he be allowed to keep the pictures up?

So no I don't think it's homophobic at all. The "phobe" card has been thrown at the school to try and get them intro trouble on a more controversial issue than just prudery or censorship.

kooshbin Fri 12-Jan-18 23:33:58

I learn a lot from Mumsnet. And one of the most important is the different analyses.

I think, for me, it was about “bucking the trend” for transgender, but “toeing the line” on lesbianism. Certainly the girl’s painting was sexually explicit in a way, but made more sexually explicit by the placement of the censor tags. Probably neither the original nor the censored version would have been suitable to be displayed by the school to younger pupils. But I would have thought that by the early years in secondary, the notion of same-sex relationships would have been addressed. I think that schools are in that very difficult situation of trying to explain all the variations, and I guess I’m reacting against the notion that boys appropriating girls’ school uniform is to be celebrated, but a girl portraying lesbian love is held to a different set of criteria.

FWIW, I’m old, in my late 60s. It’s Mumsnet that has enlightened me that all that stuff that went on when I was young isn’t actually acceptable. I guess I’m probably triggered now by a sense of unfairness that’s just become released.

I do like tomatoandcheese2009’s comment that the censorship stickers make it much more powerful as a piece of protest art.

BatShite Sat 13-Jan-18 05:27:12

From what we can see on there it does look like some of the pictures are sexually explicit. However, the kissing ones are ridiculous and no way would a straight couple have a censored sticker over their fucking mouths. So I can see why the school did some of it, but some of it does seem a bit..lesbophobic. But lesbophobia is widely acceted it seems.

Not sure what the boy wearing a skit has to do with anything. The more people breaking sex stereotypes the better tbh. My only issue would be if the boy decided that as he is wearing a skirt he is actually a girl and starts demanding access to the female changing rooms and such

RemainOptimistic Sat 13-Jan-18 05:45:03

Why are they in underwear/naked?

It's sexually provocative. Didn't need to be. Could have had clothes on!

The school didn't think their response through but it is pathetic to cry homophobe. I doubt the student would have been encouraged to produce an art work of a hetero couple or male couple semi naked in sexually suggestive poses.

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