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No more Lady Vols: The U. of Tennessee decides it’s “demeaning” to call a woman a lady

November 17, 2014

Not an Onion parody: Isabelle Harrison, Michelle Nwokedi

No ladies allowed on our team!

For legions of loyal fans, the name “Lady Vol” is synonymous with success — an identity to be proud of, a legacy to carry on.

But the term, or at least its official logo as part of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s women’s sports teams, is being phased out in a university-wide rebranding.

Starting this summer, only the women’s basketball team will retain the “Lady” in the Tennessee Volunteers. The other nine women’s sports teams and all the men’s teams will use a “Power T” logo that will combine the university’s athletic and academic images under a single branding.

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[I]n today’s environment, it’s still problematic for Newhall because there’s a message in the words we use, she said.

Lady has historically signified being polite and proper. Nobody would ever consider calling the men’s basketball team the “gentleman Vols.” So, why, she asked, is there an expectation for women athletes to be “ladies?”

That limits women’s ability to negotiate their own identity as athletes and to decide how aggressive they want to be, for example.

“In this moment, I think that ‘lady’ is demeaning,” she said. “It has too many historical connotations that disadvantage female athletes.”

Because the Lady Vols have never won a single game with that demeaning name.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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One Comment
  1. Lastango permalink

    IMO, more important than the specific action is the message: Progressives are now all-powerful, and there is nothing — absolutely nothing — they are not able to deconstruct. “Get in our way at your peril!”

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