What Happened to the Field Soccer Team Photo?

On Wednesday, May 24, an unexpected event shook Cásper Líbero University as a whole: some of the athletes from the men's field soccer, handball and basketball teams appeared showed up representing hand-drawn vaginas in photos taken and released by the Associação Atlética Acadêmica Jesse Owens (Academic Athletic Association Jesse Owens), with the aim of representing such teams in the University Games of Communication and Arts, known as JUCA.

The first public manifestation about the photos came in a repudiation note issued by the Frente LGBT + Casperiana. Then, the Frente Feminista Casperiana Lisandra also stood against the act and, from that on, the whole faculty college began to discuss on about the subject. Among the most frequent comments, what a large percentage expected was a positioning from the Athletic.

"When all this happened and gave all this repercussion, we internally sat with the collectives to understand and decide what we should do, because, although the guys who made the gesture, the photo was taken, reviewed and released by us. Then, only punishing them would take away our responsibility" says Priscila Cestarolli, from Athletic. In relation to the delay in having a position, she affirms that " everyone there are students, who are learning, with several personal responsibilities as well" and that there was also the concern not only to punish the athletes, but the attempt to educate who did the Gesture and to all Casper's men in order to show why it was wrong - "The punishment of taking the boys who made the gesture of the first game of each modality came due to the gravity and depth of the problem, but we met with the collectives and we are trying to put together a socio-educational calendar that can reach everyone who needs to be reached."

Juliana Ávila, from the Feminist Front, said that as individuals, the girls at the front had their individual impressions about what happened and that was a very uncomfortable moment, but said that, as a collective, the note released on Facebook expresses very well its position:

"For almost two years Lisandra has been meeting with the other entities formed by students together to think of ways to make college an environment less hostile and safer for all. As communicators, we believe that dialogue is one of the most powerful tools to reflect on and then build this more welcoming place. The recent positioning of the Athletics reflects this dialogue a little. The decision is consistent with issues raised by the Casperians, although they do not correspond in their entirety. It is to be recognized that Casperians managed to put pressure on Athletic to the point of analyzing and accepting, in part, what was desired, in this case the punishment of the athletes who in the photo of their teams made gestures that apology to the rape.”

The punishment imposed by the Athletics displeased a large part of the students, mainly the female ones, who expected that athletes who made the gesture would be prevented from participating in all JUCA matches. However, in this context also appeared the Bateria Cásper (Drum of Cásper) and Aguante Rojo: also in notes released on Facebook, stated that they would not attend any of the games of the modalities whose athletes made the gesture in their photos, except for the first one, in which they would be in silence, in protest, and that they would give preference to women's games.

The idea of boycotting the football, men's handball and men's basketball games came from the Feminist Front and pleased the Casperians in their almost totality - "As for JUCA, we reinforce support for the boycott of the men's games involved in the recent episode and we invite the Bateria Cásper and Aguante Rojo to do the same. We encourage women to go to games and that we cheer for women! "

The director of the modality of the Drums said that there was a meeting with all the rhythm artists, after the meetings with all the groups, where they discussed what they would do. Due to the fact that the battery is mostly composed of women, besides being the ones most affected by the gesture of the photos, they had more space to talk and, in the end, it was unanimously decided that there would be a boycott. Aguante Rojo followed a similar path, letting the women decide what would be done.

Although the Battery and Aguante decision was well accepted, the number of people who continued to complain to the Athletic about the punishment considered mild was high. After a long period of waiting, the Athletic decided to punish more severely two athletes who, with their personal profiles on Facebook, continued to mock the women who felt offended by the gesture of the photos. Priscila says that after longer internal meetings and conversations with groups from Casper and other colleges, it was decided that such athletes could no longer participate in JUCA 2017.

A gesture that began as a "joke among the team", as Guilherme Mirra, one of the people involved, is representing in the college a moment of intense reflection, showing that most Casperian men, reflecting the external reality, do not know the dimension of what their chauvinistic acts can cause, bringing to the surface the total objectification of a woman and thus making the culture of rape seem normal. Given that this is a faculty of future communicators, Guilherme also says that he realized how much a gesture can influence an entire society and how great is the importance and the need to listen to what women have to say, to deconstruct chauvinism, day by day. As Cestarolli says, "everything that happened served as learning for all of us."