It only took a day before a Kentucky high school’s new mascot was scrubbed for being too “sexist.” It was a stallion.
Fayette County school district leaders revealed the new mascot and colors of the new Frederick Douglass High School on Monday. But on Tuesday, school leaders announced that, due to pushback about the choice of the stallion, they would allow the incoming students to pick their own horse-themed mascot, WKYT-TV reported.
“Since the public announcement of the mascot Monday, we have received feedback from some community members who have concerns about the mascot and we want to assure our constituents that there was absolutely no intent to offend or upset anyone,” said Layette County Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk.
A local resident created a Change.org petition decrying the stallion mascot and demanding it be changed to something more “gender-neutral.” Some town residents even argued that the mascot violates Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.
The petition states:
[The stallion] is inappropriate and sexist when you consider the definition from ‘YourDictionary’ …’The definition of a stallion is a male horse that has not been castrated, used for breeding or is slang for a powerful and virile man who has a lot of lovers’ and from Wikipedia…’because of their instincts as herd animals, they may be prone to aggressive behavior, particularly toward other stallions, and thus require careful management by knowledgeable handlers. However, with proper training and management, stallions are effective equine athletes at the highest levels of many disciplines.’
What message does this send to our daughters and granddaughters? Our sons and grandsons?
“How did they come up with this? The connotation of stallions pertaining to a girls’ softball team or basketball team just seemed really, really strange to me — a male breeding horse,” Diane Cahill, who created the online petition, told the Lexington Herald.
The newspaper reported that the mascot paid homage to the property where the new school will be when it officially opens in the fall — the Hamburg Place farm which was the home of prized racehorses, including six Kentucky Derby winners.
But Anita Courtney, a Lexington resident, told the Herald that the use of a stallion as a mascot was “wrong on so many levels.”
“It leaves out 50 percent of the student population — girls — and it is not in keeping with the spirit of Title IX that promotes gender equity in sports,” Courtney said. “Calling the female athletes Lady Stallions doesn’t make any sense. We should get our horse terms right in the Bluegrass. And even if it were an all-male high school, would we want to promote an image that has to do with breeding?”
Caulk said in a statement Tuesday that he has heard suggestions of using a thoroughbred or racers in place of a stallion.
The petition garnered 214 signatures by press time.