University of Wyoming's new slogan, 'The World Needs More Cowboys,' is under fire for being 'sexist and racist'

The University of Wyoming Cowboys’ mascot, Pistol Pete, points to Blane Ritter, 5, during the National Western Stock Show parade in Denver on Jan. 4, 2018. (Photo: Jason Connolly/AFP/Getty Images)

When you hear the word “cowboy,” what pops up in your head? The Marlboro Man, Woody from Toy Story, maybe John Wayne? More likely than not, when you imagine a cowboy, you imagine a white heterosexual male (not to give Woody a sexual orientation, but he did shack up with Bo Peep.)

This is precisely why the University of Wyoming’s new slogan, “The World Needs More Cowboys,” is drawing a lot of attention from critics. They claim that the slogan is noninclusive of women, people of color, and the LGBTQ. The criticisms are not, as I first assumed, because they listened to the Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson’s classic cover of “Mamma’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.”

Christine Porter, an associate professor of kinesiology and health at UW, told the Laramie Boomerang, “I am not the only person for whom the word ‘cowboy’ invokes a white, macho, male, able-bodied, heterosexual, U.S.-born person.”

However, she does admit that the term “cowboy” is not limited to just white males and that many females, people of color, and people with varying sexual orientations are cowboys (or cowpokes).

Though many faculty members find the slogan exclusionary, the administration is moving forward nonetheless. According to the administration, the motto is an attempt to dismantle the traditional image of a cowboy and is also a play on the university’s mascot, Pistol Pete, a cowboy. However, while male sports teams are called “Cowboys,” female sports teams are called “Cowgirls.”

Christi Boggs, an instructional designer and a coach of the university’s Nordic ski team, as well as the co-chair of the Committee on Women and People of Color, perhaps put it best when she told the Chronicle of Higher Education, “If you have to explain your slogan, and show a video with your slogan, and have a one-page explanation of your slogan, you have a bad slogan.”

However, there are plenty of people who are voicing their support for the school’s new motto.

UW allegedly paid roughly $500,000 to a private marketing firm, Victors and Spoils, to develop the slogan as part of a $1.4 million marketing project to attract more students from out of state.

And now, feel free to post your “save a horse, ride a cowboy” jokes in the comment section.

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