The visiting team locker room at the University of Iowa is painted pink. Hayden Fry, the oft-revered Hawkeye football coach, had the locker room painted pink as a “psychological strategy.” A former University of Iowa law professor plans on filing a complaint under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
“I don’t think this is about Hayden Fry or his intention in the 1980s; I think this is about how people understand the locker room in 2007,” said Gaulding, who has since left Iowa and now practices employment discrimination law in Minnesota. “This [is] understood as a funny version of the slur that goes on in athletics about playing like a girl, playing like a sissy” — and worse, she said, the university has perpetuated the insult in “a very official, permanent way.”
“It’s based on a concept of gender hierarchy that says not only are boys and girls different, but more important it’s better to be a boy than a girl; it’s shameful to be a girl,” said Gaulding, who is researching a book on cognitive bias and gender discrimination. “Anyone who’s not deeply in denial understands and acknowledges that the pink locker room taps into this very long tradition of using gender as a put-down.”
The sexism within the comments on this article at Inside Higher Education are nauseating. I hope Gaulding is successful with her complaint.