Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bye bye, lady!

So the elimination of "lady" from the nickname of the University of Arkansas is being presented as a smart and logical marketing choice. Who cares what the reason is (okay, I care and I will talk about that in a second)? It's gone.

The Lady Razorbacks (ridiculous sounding of course, though I have heard worse) are no more. The University of Arkansas is merging its men's and women's athletic departments (not surprisingly the woman who was athletic director of the women's athletic department has been demoted and is now answering to the former men's athletic director--a subject for another post. Of course this woman also thought the lady prefix "made sense" when the departments were separate). And to create a stronger brand they decided to just all be one happy athletic department full of Razorbacks. And no one seems to mind. Yeah!

Though no one is really presenting this as the right thing to do for equity. The praise they will get from feminists and women's sports advocates is bonus for them because equity was not their primary concern. In fact many didn't even find it offensive though they were not trying especially hard to hang on to it for dear life the way other people (ahem, that's you Pat Summitt) seem to. Said a woman who is a former Arkansas b-ball player and still involved in the program: I never felt like it was demeaning to have 'Lady' in front of 'Razorbacks,' but I don't think I'll miss it, either. I haven't really even thought about it."
In short, I am glad it is gone. Perhaps other schools will follow suit. (According to the article linked above Arkansas is particularly egregious in its inferiorizing treatment of female athletes.) But I think that the idea for doing so was to improve branding and thus increase revenues, capitulating even further to the DI athletics corporate mentality is kind of lousy.

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