William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice


Erin E. Buzuvis


This article examines the public controversy that erupted after local media reported on a comment I made about the University of Iowa's decision to renovate the football stadium's visiting team locker room entirely in pink. I submitted my statement in response to the University Steering Committee on NCAA Certification's request for feedback on a draft report and suggested that the "joke" behind the pink d6cor traded in sexist and homophobic values. As such, I concluded that it belonged in the comprehensive analysis of gender equity that the committee was preparing. I immediately received hundreds of hateful e-mails and was the subject of thousands of invidious online postings. The content of these messages intrigued the national media, whose reporting fueled the controversy for several months.

The controversy serves as a barometer of cultural values at the intersection of feminism and football that are both disappointing and useful to scholars and advocates of Title IX. The reaction to my statement from both within and beyond the "Hawkeye Nation" proves how deeply hegemonic patriarchal ideology is entrenched in football culture. Compromises involving football are often necessary to resolve gender disparities in college athletics, so this evidence suggests that cultural values must change before the guarantees of Title IX can ever be fully realized.

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