Let Mr. Liberty stay

Tatum Lindquist, Editor-in-chief

Projected lights twinkle in and out across the stage, haloing the name of each pageant contestant. With each walk onto stage, anticipation buzzes across the crowd before the eruption of laughter at the recitation of “Never Gonna Give You Up” in Norwegian or before the winces ripple across with each failed pick-up line.
I’d have to ask for permission: “I chose this sumo suit as my expression wear because it’s large and sassy, just like me,” senior Logan Johnson said as he strut across the stage.
This cringe-worthy mock beauty pageant brought laughs and winces, celebrating seniors’ graduation into adulthood. Yet, after the controversial renaming of Mr. Liberty to the Senior Showcase also came the ending of this much-loved tradition. For the next year’s seniors and those after them and so on, Mr. Liberty will be a tradition of the past, and it’s a shame that future seniors will not have the opportunity to enjoy Mr. Liberty and the values it promotes.
It’s a shame because within a culture full of gender roles, toxic masculinity draws little attention compared to the objectification of women. It’s a shame because Mr. Liberty encourages a bunch of senior boys to make fools of themselves where other subcultures frown upon men with no “pride”. It’s a shame because the low-level comedy of the event shows that masculinity doesn’t have to be toxic. It’s a shame because it encourages self-confidence but also unity, embodying a coming-of-age sentiment.
With the end of the Senior Showcase (formerly known as Mr. Liberty), Liberty has lost not simply a tradition of school pride but also another promotion of positive masculinity—a lesson not simply taught in Health class but rather empowered through an slapstick comedic experience.
Gender exclusivity does not necessarily warrant gender-based discrimination. Sports are separated between genders at Liberty as is Greek housing at universities. They don’t discriminate—implying unjust or detrimental treatment—against a specific gender.
Of course, in the interest of the Issaquah School District’s equal opportunity notice, a counterpart to Mr. Liberty can always be created (Miss Liberty, if you will), but I fear the implications of this because such a female counterpart would much more easily lose its satire than Mr. Liberty. Again, our cultural biases allow for boyish stupidity to come across as hilarious while an audience would tend to cringe if a girl were hit on boys or crack self-deprecating jokes. Instead, a “Miss Liberty” could transform into the very event Mr. Liberty satirizes. Awkward.
Amidst the controversy, the Senior Showcase (formerly known as Mr. Liberty), as a tribute to our high school experience and celebration of senior accomplishments, redefines masculinity and breaks gender roles within Liberty.