‘Cowboy’ slogan is sexist, University of Wyoming staff say. But many women love it

“The World Needs More Cowboys.”

This proposed new slogan for the University of Wyoming was meant to be “inclusive, by design,” according to the marketing campaign flier that was obtained by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

“This is not a campaign to reinforce regressive stereotypes of Cowboys from the pop-cultural past,” the flier states. “This is a campaign to rewrite them.”

The flier goes on to explain how this campaign is an opportunity to “celebrate people in every corner” because “Cowboys come in every sex, shape, color and creed” at the University of Wyoming.

But despite the attempt to use “Cowboy” — the school’s mascot — as an inclusive term, some people who work for the university found the proposed slogan and campaign to be sexist and racist, the Laramie Boomerang reported.

“This is a sexist slogan,” Faculty Senate president Donal O’Toole told The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Associate professor Christine Porter told the Boomerang that the word “cowboy” makes “almost everybody” picture a white, heterosexual male. The school’s sports mascot, “Pistol Pete,” is a white man in a cowboy hat. Other colleges, including Oklahoma State University and New Mexico State, also have cowboy mascots named Pistol Pete.

Porter also said the slogan is “unacceptable” because the word “boy” excludes anyone who identifies as a woman.

“In 2018 — and really for the past 20 years — it’s not been acceptable to use the generic male to pretend that includes female,” she told the newspaper.

Many women disagree.

After the proposed slogan drew criticism, women took to Twitter to express their frustrations with those who found the slogan sexist.

“Among all the reasons I can’t take extreme feminism seriously, the University of Wyoming is in hot water for the use of ‘cowboys’ in their new slogan but not ‘cowgirls,’ Twitter user Dalle Rutledge posted. “As the schools mascot ‘cowboy’ is all inclusive term. This is Wyoming folks, get tough or get gone.”

Rutledge’s Twitter bio says she’s a cattlewoman in Wyoming.

The people that get offended by The University of Wyoming’s new slogan ‘The World Needs More Cowboys’ are exactly the people we don’t want to come here,” Twitter user Kaylee Taylor posted. She says she lives in Laramie, where the college is located.

Other women found it ridiculous that some people find the campaign offensive.

And it wasn’t just women who defended the proposed slogan. Many men also thought the word “cowboy” doesn’t exclude the women at the university.

“Honestly though, the world needs more cowboys,” a fraternity member at the University of Wyoming tweeted. “Doesn’t matter who you are, in Wyoming you are a cowboy.”

“Pro tip. If cowboys offend you or you in ANY way, don’t work at or attend a school where the cowboy is LITERALLY the school mascot,” another man tweeted. “Other pro tip. Don’t feign outrage at a marketing campaign the utilizes, LITERALLY, the school mascot.”

In Fort Worth, Texas, people also debate about the cowboy, according to a column by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Billy Bob’s Texas country music nightclub executive Pam Minick told the newspaper that “cowboy” is almost gender-neutral because “women trail drivers were treated just like the men.”

The University of Wyoming paid about $500,000 for Boulder, Colorado-based marketing firm Victors & Spoils to develop a campaign that would advertise the university to people both from and outside of Wyoming, The Associated Press reported. The slogan is scheduled to be official in September.