Rhea Puri, Queen’s University
Edited by: Tai Withers
On most college and university campuses in the United States and Canada, you’ll find bed sheets being spray painted and put up on houses. Non-college students might find this puzzling, but most students see this piece of the bedroom out on campuses during homecoming events, frosh week events and more.
In theory, the idea of sheet signs is pretty cool. It’s a cheap way to convey funny jokes about one’s school, and to convey school pride. Issues with these signs arise, however, when they turn from a harmful joke to sexist, misogynistic jokes that uphold years of discrimination.
These signs are talked about when they happen, but currently, a deep dive investigation is underway by Queen’s due to the most recent wave of signs that occurred over two weekends in October 2021, for Queen’s Homecoming. Traditionally, Queen’s Homecoming is a large event to celebrate our school’s pride and alumni, but it has been twisted into a large party weekend where everyone has an excuse to get drunk at 10 in the morning and make decisions they wouldn’t normally make.
The most prominent signs this year, reported on by national publications included the following: “Lockdown your daughters, not Kingston” and “Western guys wish they were Pfizer, so they can get inside her.” Not only are these terrible jokes, they uphold rape culture on university campuses, something that is unfortunately still rampant, even at Queen’s.
While the university condemns these signs and so does most of the public, it’s hard to look at the people who go here, and our illustrious list of famed alumni (hello Elon Musk!) and make sense of the entire occurrence. We want to be a good school, where people feel safe and feel proud to attend… but how can we, when our peers uphold these walls of a sexist culture?
This article joins the many publications written about signs, homecoming and rampant rape culture on campus, but it won’t be the last unless meaningful change is effected by Queen’s as a whole. Giving $300,000 to the city of Kingston is not a solution to combat this nor is it the start of meaningful change on campus. Rallies can be held, and statements can be made but I truly wonder if it’s the right move towards fighting gender based violence on campus.
Keats, R. (2013). Rocket Man. Queen’s Gazette Alumni Review. Retrieved from https://www.queensu.ca/gazette/alumnireview/stories/rocket-man
Khalid, Z. (October 21, 2021). Community Dismayed by Displays of Misogyny, Rape Culture During Queen’s Homecoming. Kingstonist. Retrieved from https://www.kingstonist.com/news/community-dismayed-by-displays-of-misogyny-rape-culture-during-queens-homecoming/
Mazur, A. (October 14, 2021). Queen’s to Pay City of Kingston $350,000 to Cover Costs for
Pandemic Enforcement. Global News. Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/8265314/queens-pay-city-of-kingston-pandemic-enforcement-costs/
Rohmiller, A. (April 14, 2020). Sheet Signs of the Times. University of Dayton: University Libraries. Retrieved from https://udayton.edu/blogs/libraries/2020-04-14-sheetsigns.php
Ziafati, N. (October 20, 2021). Queen’s University Student Association to Review History of
Misogynistic SIgns at Homecoming. Global News. Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/8284894/queens-student-association-to-review-history-misogynistic-signs/