EMU grad explains message behind her feminist graduation cap

An Eastern Michigan University graduate is getting a lot of attention for the artwork on her graduation cap.

DeAnn posted a picture of her cap on Twitter. It shows a woman twerking and holding a diploma with the caption, "educated hoe". (Warning, the image below from DeAnn's tweet contains offensive language.)

Also on her cap is a quote that reads, "I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own." Thousands have shared DeAnn's photo, and the reactions have been mixed.

DeAnn says her cap is about liberation, and about how women can be sexual and intelligent at the same time. She says the bottom line of her message is to just let women exist how they want to exist.

"The reality of it is, women - especially black women - get called [hoe] regardless of what we do, even if we're not sexually active," DeAnn told The Nine via phone on Wednesday.

She says those who have a negative response to the cap just helps prove her point.

"This is a picture of a cartoon woman twerking on a graduation cap and people are making all kinds of assumptions that I don't have a father; I must not have good parents -- and [the picture] is on top of a graduation cap -- and they don't even care about that part. They just care that it's a semi-naked woman on the front so now "I don't have good parents" even though I've graduated from a university," she says.

DeAnn's graduating with two degrees -- one in Psychology and the other in Women and Gender Studies with a minor in Crimonology.

"I hope that people see that [the picture] is really not that serious. Just allow women to exist. We can dance; we can show skin and still be intelligent and still have something to offer and contribute to society in positive ways," she says. "Many of us do, but we're not given the chance to express ourselves, so, a lot of us kind of [think], 'Okay, how should I present myself in order to be respected?' When, really, any decisions that we make about our life that we're comfortable with and aren't hurting anyone should be respected regardless."

You can hear more from DeAnn by watching her full interview in the video player above.