Let our Cougars roar
A mountain lion represented by 20-somethings
Let’s go Cougars! Let’s go Cougars!
Oh sorry was that offensive?
Chanting the name of our varsity teams shouldn’t be something to think twice about.
However, the same can’t be said for Corner Canyons High School in Utah. The school, which is slated to open in 2013, will not be calling its team the Cougars, despite students’ popular vote. According to reports, the school district did not want to offend any 40-something women who might be on the prowl for some fresh meat.
“In today’s times, it’s not a surprise,” said Karla Karch, Cougars Athletic manager.” Honestly, it’s funny to me. I have been at Mount Royal for six years, and I have heard every joke.”
Karch takes a relaxed attitude to the double-entendre of the Cougars, both at work and at home. In fact, Karch’s boyfriend is 11 years her junior.
“I almost get to the punchline before the person does, and it doesn’t bother me,” she said.
Mount Royal’s Cougars have been with the institution since the schools inception in 1910. The women’s teams were actually called the Kittens up until about the 1970s. Try getting that one passed the politically correct watchdogs of today’s society.
Although there is pride in a team’s name and the tradition that goes along with the brand, it is important to recognize the negative connotation.
Kimberly Williams, a women’s studies instructor at MRU, recognizes the absurdity of Corner Canyons’ school board decision, but believes it gives everyone some food for thought.
“I’m not sure how it came to be that middle-aged women who are chasing younger guys are called cougars,” said Williams. “I think it has to do with an association of women with cats, and cats are sneaky, and you get to the Disney movies with Lady and the Tramp and the Siamese cats.
“I mean it’s very odd. But a cougar, is a cougar, is a cougar. It’s a wildcat. It eats little children sometimes in Banff, and maybe little beagles in Nose Hill Park, but whatever.”
Williams pointed out that where we start crossing the line is when a person thinks about the slang term before the mountain lion. “I think we have crossed a line into sexism and ageism,” she said.
Both Karch and Williams brought up concerns of the renaming of North American sports teams because of their First Nations titles, which have been called racist by many.
Try naming your school sports team the Indians. Sure, Cleveland, Ohio got away with it in 1915, but times have certainly changed.
“Where do you draw the line?” Williams asked.
“If using the iconography and words for native, aboriginal, indigenous cultures in North America is racist then why is that not OK when everyone is using this term associated with a particular group of women doing particular things, that’s sexist?”
“If you’re not going to allow racism, I think maybe you shouldn’t allow sexism,” Williams said.
Although, both Karch and Williams agree the whole argument is a little bit ridiculous.
“To us, it’s our mascot, and the media makes a big deal of it.” Karch said. “And if you don’t make a big deal about it, there is no story.
“You talk to our men and women and student athletes, they are very proud to be a cougar. I have far bigger issues to worry about.”