In 1979, the University of Iowa painted the opposing football team’s locker room pepto-bismol pink during a stadium refurbishment. The head coach at the time, Hayden Fry, came up with the idea, and the room was given a fresh layer of pink paint in 2005.
Now, people are starting to call for a new coat of paint because they believe the color is a “manifestation” of “rape culture and institutional sexism.”
The editors at the student newspaper the Daily Iowan wrote in an editorial that the feminine decoration points to deeper problems with male and female relations at the university.
“The culture of hyper-masculinity, embodied by the locker rooms, is exactly what leads to the rape culture — the tolerance of widespread sexual assault through victim blaming and the enforcement of patriarchal norms — which results in the egregious sexual-assault problem the campus (and campuses across the country) grapple with,” the editorial reads.
Iowa’s Chief Diversity Officer Georgina Dodge says that sexism is not the reason behind the color, but rather basic color psychology. She said that pink is known to have a “calming effect” which will make opposing teams more relaxed, and therefore be less likely to perform on the field.
Not everyone on the university’s payroll agrees. Kembrew McLeod, a professor at Iowa, is planning on putting together a march that will “use humor, media, satire, and civil disobedience to shame the school into ending this stupid, outmoded football tradition.”