The students of West Chester University have never been known as a quiet, timid bunch.The latest example of this attribute is the controversy over the shorts and pants for women that have “RAM THIS” emblazoned across the seat.
Thanks to the efforts of Sally Cramer, a sophomore majoring in graphic design, and Meg Panichelli, a third-year Kinesiology/women’s studies major, the apparel, which is considered offensive and insulting by some, was pulled from the floor of the SSI bookstore. Cramer, and many of their supporters, agreed that the placement of the slogans contributed to the objectification of women and further promoted violence towards women.
Fueled by concern and outrage by some of their fellow students, Cramer and Panichelli devised a petition to boycott the SSI bookstore if the clothing was not removed. Fortunately, the petitions were never used, since the reaction from SSI was swift and deliberate.
After the initial story was published in The Quad, SSI Director Mell Josephs contacted both Cramer and Panichelli. Each met with Josephs separately to discuss the matter, and “a resolution was reached that there will be no more reorders, and the current merchandise is pulled from the sales floor,” said Cramer.
Although the issue had been brought up in the past, very little had been done about it. “I think that having an article in The Quad and starting the petitions had the impact that we needed to really motivate a change for SSI,” Cramer added.
Cramer said that as per their agreement, the apparel has been pulled from the sales floor at SSI, but it will still be available on request, due to a large reorder of the clothing over the summer. She added that no more reorders would be made.
Dynamic, which is SSI’s main competitor, still offers the apparel and there has been no word yet on whether or not the store plans on pulling the clothing from its shelves.
“We just want people to be aware of the issue,” Cramer said. “We hope that we inspired some careful thought about what we wear and how we choose to.