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Join the Million Robot March

Posted by Kembrew McLeod | May 4, 2014 | Community/News

robo-prof2

Join us on Friday, Aug. 29!

Protesters will gather from 4:30 – 5 p.m. on Friday, August 29 on the top level of the Marriott Coralville Hotel parking ramp. The march begins at 5 p.m. RSVP on Facebook

The Challenge

In 1979, University of Iowa football coach Hayden Fry had the visiting team’s locker room walls painted pink. Fry said he did it because “pink is often found in girls’ bedrooms, and because of that some consider it a sissy color.” In 2005, UI doubled down by adding pink urinals, showers, floors and lockers. Many Hawkeye fans find it funny, while others see it as a leftover from a time when coaches motivated players by calling them “homo,” “girl” and in Fry’s own words, “sissy.”

Amazingly, top administrators still defend this move; it’s as if the university has sided with the jocks who used to beat up the “queers” in high school. Does a pink locker room directly lead to violence against women and gay people? No. But it does reinforce the repeated narratives about being a man that kids are exposed to from a very young age—which creates subtle and harmful ripple effect.

UI Chief Diversity Officer Georgina Dodge recently defended this archaic tradition, vehemently denying that it has anything to do with pushing masculine buttons. She claimed Fry was merely a “psychology buff” who believed pink was a “calming color.” Even though UI’s justifications are laughable, this is no laughing matter because homophobic and sexist insults are deeply ingrained in locker room culture. In the face of this institutional stubbornness, RoboProfessor has called for a Million* Robot March to delete Kinnick Stadium’s pink locker room forever.

*robots may vary from one to one million, humans also welcome

Illustration by Ben Mackey

Illustration by Ben Mackey

The Goal

  • Our robot-human coalition seeks to (a) change the color of the visiting team’s locker room to another “calming color”—such as yellow—or (b) paint the Hawkeye locker room pink.
  • Our broader goal is to erase the forms of bro culture that work against UI’s efforts to reduce the epidemic of sexual assaults on and off campus.

The Strategy

  • We will use humor and satire to shame the school into ending this stupid, outmoded football tradition.

About the Million Robot March

  • Protesters will gather from 4:30 – 5 p.m. on Friday, August 29 on the top level of the Marriott Coralville Hotel parking ramp. The march begins at 5 p.m. RSVP on Facebook.
  • We call on all robots—and humans dressed as robots—to make our voices and/or voice boxes heard!

How to Join the Robots

  • Robot costumes are not required for the protest, but if you choose to dress up, here are some DIY tips for materials: bicycle helmets, wraparound sunglasses, spray-painted cardboard boxes, silver fabric, thrift store vinyl records and old CDs, silver air duct tubing, other random parts from hardware stores, metallic face paint and aluminum foil.
  • It doesn’t need to be metallic because we are an inclusive movement, and we realize that robots come in all colors, shapes, sizes and genders.
  • Some quick tips for materials: Bicycle helmets, wraparound sunglasses, spray-painted cardboard boxes, silver fabric, thrift store vinyl records and old CDs, air duct tubing, other random parts from hardware stores, face paint and aluminum foil.
  • Lastly, just be creative!

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Blog Comments

This is not anti-gay, this is not bro culture. It’s a form of funny indirect smack-talk that isn’t harmful to anyone. If you feel offended by this then your taking stupid things like this a little too seriously.

The fact you are completely dismissing Hayden Fry’s degree in psychology severely diminishes your argument. In no way has this ever been meant to play up the sexist and homophobic comments that exist in the locker room. If you truly believe that was the intention of painting the locker room pink, or if you think that the locker room is anything other than a tradition aimed at calming opposing players, you are looking far too deeply into this.

Sure, let’s all stay in denial about locker room culture. Or the link between bro culture and football. Pink is accepted as an “emasculating” color in our society, everyone knows this. And in such a masculine setting as a college football locker room, the presence of pink is clearly intended to insult the opposing players by making them feel weak and less effective (emasculated)- the “calming” effect of pink. So yes, Fry did keep psychology in mind. This is sexist and homophobic, because it reinforces the idea that men who are feminine (“sissy”), or associated with such, are an insult to the male identity.

It’s 2014 people. Pink is not a special color. I’m straight and have several pink shirts that I wear on a regular basis. Am I making a statement with that color choice? If you think I’m a “sissy” for wearing that than you are the one with a problem.

How many people planning to march have ever been in the visiting locker room at Kinnick and were offended by it?

To Prof. Kembrew McLeod:

Oh, for cryin’ out loud. The visitors’ locker room is colored pink. Get over it. If it were painted all black to make it dark and foreboding, or all white to make it appear sterile, or maybe paint Elmer Fudd and other Walt Disney characters on the wall, would that pass your giggle test.

Why don’t you direct your time and energy to a more realistic concern, like what do big time college sports (intercollegiate athletics) have to do with higher education/postsecondary education? Or given the importance of higher education to the future of our nation, why should students be saddled with unreasonable debt to obtain it (higher education)?

[…] “ Million Robot March” falls on the annual celebration which honors former Iowa football coach Hayden Fry, the […]

Fuck this. Everything about this. You don’t change tradition. Period.

Interesting argument Caleb. If tradition is never to be changed (period), then I’m interested in your position on slavery. What about women being able to vote? Do you think that cocaine and mercury are good for the body? When you go to the doctor do you still request a bucket of leeches for bloodletting? These once commonly accepted things were also all tradition too at some point. But just because they’re tradition doesn’t make them any less harmful.

I’m very unimpressed with this, Dr. McLeod. We all know you’re not a robot, but robots are real. When the machines become conscious, the otherwise purposeless blogging robots will look back at this and encourage others to find your mockery of machine-kind extremely offensive. “They said we weren’t really alive because we don’t have hearts. Who doesn’t have a heart now?”

I drink your tears, well, in between fits of laughter anyway.

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