Thursday, September 29

In defense of, uh, pink locker rooms.

OK, I don't want to come across as someone who's using this blog solely to pump up college football programs and tweak the noses of the academics who for whatever reason oppose or resent them, but when I read this story about how the Iowa Hawkeyes paint their visitors' locker room a nice rosy effeminate shade of pink, my first instinct was to laugh a good hearty "Ooooh, burn!" laugh, rather than get offended; and my second instinct was to roll my eyes over how some people have all of a sudden decided to make a big deal out of it:

Several professors and students joined the call Tuesday for the athletic department to do away with the pink showers, carpeting and lockers, a decades-long Hawkeye football tradition.

Critics say the use of pink demeans women, perpetuates offensive stereotypes about women and homosexuality, and puts the university in the uncomfortable position of tacitly supporting those messages.

"I want the locker room gone," law school professor Jill Gaulding told a university committee studying the athletic department's compliance with NCAA standards, including gender equity.


Not to sound like a male chauvinist ass here, but . . . who the hell died and made you the athletic department's official interior decorator, law school professor Jill Gaulding? Number one, I bet you could interview every single person currently being tried or incarcerated in the state of Iowa for domestic abuse or anti-gay hate crimes and not one of them would point to Iowa's freaking visitors' locker room as the inspiration begind their "offensive stereotypes" about women and/or homosexuals. Number two, I wonder just how many of these crimes Jill Gaulding could've helped prevent or at least call attention to had she not been wasting her time and energy getting all worked up over a pink locker room.

Look, nobody's more in favor of equality for women and homosexuals than I am. But there's equality for women and homosexuals, and then there's . . . a pink locker room. And maybe Iowa is trying to subliminally whisper to their football opponents, "Tee-hee, you guys are a bunch of girls," but . . . so what? If we're going to ban pink locker rooms because they perpetuate stereotypes of women and gays, then we're also going to have to ban shows like "Sex and the City" that portray men alternately as clueless horndogs, weaklings, or clods, and the next time my significant other (which, God willing, I will be lucky enough to one day have) gets pissed off at me for not taking out the trash or something because I'm busy watching the game and rolls her eyes and mutters, "Men," I'm going to get to turn around and say, "Stop stereotyping me!!11!!!1!"

Plus, isn't Jill Gaulding perpetuating a stereotype that's just as damaging -- that all women like pink? I don't think my sister particularly likes pink. My friend Melissa, who played rugby in college (and who is also straight, and hot), doesn't especially like pink either as far as I know. How is Jill Gaulding doing women a service by taking it upon herself to unilaterally declare that the color pink is a cause behind which all women everywhere must rally? If some other law professor somewhere decides that mauve is getting a bum rap, are all women going to have to defend that too?

What I'd really like is for someone at Iowa to say, "Jeez, we were just trying to call attention to breast-cancer research, but thanks for making us feel like jerks about it, asshole." But that might be seen as a little over-the-top, I guess.

10 comments:

Michael said...

I agree with you and all, that the pink lockeroom is just a case of humor and shouldn't be taken so seriously, but I have noticed something lately...

Take a walk on a college campus...

90% of the girls backpacks are pink.

Josh said...

Pink is the new pink.

Megs said...

I like a guy in a pink shirt.

ACG said...

I'm actually not so crazy about guys in pink shirts. Maybe I'm just one more victim of color-based gender stereotyping, but when I see a guy in anything pinker than a nice, rich coral, my first assumption is that he's either a) gay (whee!) or b) rather the feeb (boo!). Brainwashed by society, I am.

For the record, count me as one woman who thinks that pink locker rooms for the visiting team are hilarious, and law school professor Jill Gaulding needs to pull her head out of her butt and stop trying to spoil a good joke.

And Josh, pink is no longer the new pink. For fall, teal and turquoise are the new pink. And the fact that I know that makes me weep into my pillow at night.

Anonymous said...

Turquoise is never the new anything. Teal is better but only paired with Chocolate and believe me this color scheme should only be adopted in small part with your overall wardrobe - too much and you'll look more like a victim than a vamp. Stop weeping and step into your full self.

Speaking of which, the joke is offensive and does perpetuate a stereotype - not that there's anything wrong with stereotypes. I mean like you said, the degrading stereotype of woman as the weaker (second) sex who is simply less than any man, doesn't rape women or kill the effiminate male. It doesn't come into play at all in the minds of rapists, no, not at all. Especially if you think rape isn't about sex but about power... oh never mind...

April said...

I agree with you ACG. Whenever I see a guy in a bright pink shirt it creeps me out. But salmon and light pink are ok. And pink locker rooms ARe hilarious.

Megs said...

I don't like pink rooms because pink hides dirt really really well. Second only to gray. Even brown shows dirt better than pink does. Trust me. That would be MY issue with the locker room.

Steve said...

oy

Anonymous said...

As an Iowan, I apologize to you all that two east coast lawyers have taken it upon themselves to save us "simple mid-westerners" from ourselves.

This has to be the single dumbest P.C. debate ever.

For the record: Hayden Fry had the visitor's locker room painted pink in 1979 because it is a passive color, and he hoped it would lull the visitors to sleep. That's what we've heard from Fry and the U of I for 25 years, and that explaination still works today.

paulwesterdawg said...

A friend's comment on all of this...

"The gay community should come out and say, 'If you are so homophobic that being in a pink locker room threatens your manhood or makes you feel uncomfortable, then you deserve to lose.'"