A Boulder gay and lesbian advocacy group is demanding that the Bolder Boulder — one of the country’s most popular 10K foot races — stop using the slogan “Sea level is for sissies,” which is deemed to be offensive to women.
“People say ‘you’re a sissy’ to put them down,” reads an online petition at Change.org, which, as of Thursday afternoon, had 77 signatures. “The word is used to [demean] traits that are problematically and stereotypically associated with women.”
The petition was posted by the LGBT group Out Boulder and was apparently prompted by a letter to the editor of the Daily Camera written by Debbie Ramirez.
“I am a women who runs, rock climbs and performs well athletically,” Ramirez wrote in the letter, published on April 21. ”I also have the traits associated with someone who is called a sissy. I cry, I get hurt and I express my emotions. If this is what a sissy is, I am proud to be a sissy and would never wear a T-shirt that does not value these traits in all genders.”
Race organizers told the Camera that they have no plans to change the slogan, which has been in use on T-shirts and other advertisements for the past six years. Race director Cliff Bosley added that the T-shirt was one of the race’s most popular items and supporters have called to encourage him to keep it.
He also told the Camera that he met with Out Boulder three years ago to discuss the slogan and ensure the organization that “sissies” isn’t meant to offend or denigrate anyone.
“While it was not their preference we continue to use it, they understood that it wasn’t singling out their organization,” Bosley told the paper.
Bolder Boulder, held annually on Memorial Day, markets itself as a fun and unique race. Participants often dress up in colorful costumes and follow a route that takes them through residential neighborhoods with cheering spectators and live music. Waves for professional runners go first, with the races broadcast on major sports networks.
Although Bosley doesn’t appear ready to budge on the slogan, Out Boulder director Mardi Moore told the Camera she hopes he’ll reconsider — with the help of her petition campaign.
“It’s a great race, and we’re glad it’s successful, but there have to be other ways to promote it,” she said.
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