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What's the big deal about a t-shirt?

What's the big deal about a t-shirt?

Posted by Nadia Kean and Axle R. on Dec 15th 2016

I watched the debate between Clinton and Trump on October 19. I gasped when Trump called Clinton "such a nasty woman".  I asked my friends if they had heard it, I talked to my mom about it, I was shocked. In my shock, I didn't realize that I had a platform in which I could voice my disgust and anger with the Republican Presidential Candidate, basically I didn't see Strong Athletic as a platform to discuss politics. But then my good friend Aja asked me if I could make a Strong Nasty Woman shirt, as a spin off on the Strong Athletic Woman shirt. "Yes!" was my immediate answer and that is exactly what I did and that is exactly the moment that Strong Athletic left the comfortable world of roller derby and sports and entered into a world that is a bit more complicated. 

Growing up I hated the word "nasty". When I would hear it I thought about things that were mushy and damp. Shameful things that shouldn't be discussed or touched. Nasty is such a specific word, and because I've always despised it, I was even more shocked when it was used to describe Clinton.

I'm not going to lie, I was a bit nervous about joining the world of politics when I made this shirt. I was nervous that the shirt would alienate Strong Athletic supporters who did not want Clinton to be president or who just wanted a haven away from the election and politics. Creating this shirt also fueled the ongoing debate I have had about what Strong Athletic is and where this business is going. Is this just a t-shirt company? Is Strong Athletic something bigger? Can it do more for women, girls and those who are underrepresented in sports, or will it only ever be a company that sells tanks and hats? 

To wrap my head around these questions I've turned to the people I adore and respect and I've asked them why they wear Strong Athletic and why wearing certain words across their chest is important. My friend Axle who I used to skate with told me why she wanted to wear the Strong Nasty Woman shirt. I got goosebumps and chills when she explained what the shirt is to her and so I asked her if she would write her story so that I could share it on my blog. 

This is what she wrote:

This May, as the American electorate decided that, out of a field of 17 possible Republican candidates ranging from undesirable but reasonable to unstable and unpredictable, the latter was preferable, I stopped running and started lifting weights.

When he labeled Mexicans criminals and rapists and promised to build a wall to prevent them from crossing into the U.S. illegally and make them pay for it, I did some squats.

When he called the overwhelmingly white, male, active-shooter brand of terrorist prevalent in U.S. attacks "geniuses… [who] are going to be able to break the system," and a month later proposed closing mosques, keeping a registry of American Muslims, and banning Muslims from entering the U.S. in response to terrorist attacks in Paris, I added ten pounds to my chest presses.

As he incited violence against protesters at rallies, refused to condemn David Duke and the KKK after they endorsed him, accused Black Lives Matter of "essentially calling death to the police," picked a fight with the parents of a dead soldier, and said that John McCain is not a war hero (I definitely didn't vote for the guy, but his POW story should earn your respect.), I worked my triceps, biceps, lats, traps, and delts.

His reactions when asked to comment on his own ignorant, hateful, or completely false speech were juvenile and infuriating. He stood in front of a rally and mocked a journalist who challenged his claim that Muslims in New Jersey celebrated 9/11 for his physical disability. When Megyn Kelly asked him to explain his long-documented verbal abuse of women, he made a thinly veiled reference to her menstrual cycle. He brought Bill Clinton's accusers to the second debate, and when asked about his predilection for sexually assaulting women, dismissed it as "locker room talk" and tried to change the subject, then called Hillary disgraceful and said she should be "ashamed of herself" for trying to circle back to it. I worked my abs. You need a real strong stomach to abide just one of those things, much less all of them.

And then, near the end of the final debate, after three debates full of interruptions, interjections, sniffling, pacing, and physical intimidation, he lifted his finger as Hillary made an aside about his deftness for not paying taxes and said the four words that set every single muscle in my body on fire like all the working out I'd been doing hadn't.

"Such a nasty woman."

Oh, I was WITH her. If calling you on your bullshit makes me nasty, sign me up. If standing against xenophobia, racism, violence, discrimination, and sexual assault makes me nasty, count me in. If you think that appointing justices to the supreme court who will overturn decisions relating to who we can love and what we can do with our bodies is going to happen easily, you've got another thing coming. Hope you're ready for a long, ugly fight with some strong nasty women, Mr. President-elect. We ARE stronger together, YOU made this nasty, and WE WILL NOT let four years set us back 40.

Axle Rosie, TXRD Lonestar Rollergirls, Holy Rollers (Retired) *

* Please do not tag Axle on social media regarding this blog post, her job could be at risk if you do so. 

If you have a Strong Athletic story that you would like to share, please send it to us via our Facebook page, we'd love to hear about it and share it with others! 

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