Tom Tripp wrote in a letter to the sports editor last week that he disapproves of the term Lady in front of school’s mascots, i.e., Lady Eagles, Lady Panthers, Lady Seahawks, and Lady Wolverines.
He wrote: “For reasons that likely come from a long-distant past, we refer to these girls teams as, for example, the ‘Lady Eagles.’ There is no reason to do this except to, inadvertently I hope, diminish the girls slightly. Aren’t they simply ‘Eagles?’ Eagles have both male and female of their species and we don’t refer to them as eagles and lady eagles, so why do we do this when referring to girls sports teams?”
According to my American Heritage Dictionary, a lady is described as a “woman of refinement and good manners. The female head of the household. A polite term for an adult member of the feminine sex.”
So how does this definition of a lady demean, diminish, or mean anything derogatory against a female athlete?
Mr. Tripp goes on to say that his daughters went to school where the mascot was the Bulls. “The team was called the ‘Bulls,’ and town members and local reporters referred to the girls teams as the ‘Lady Bulls,’ a ludicrous notion if there ever was one,” Tripp wrote.
Yes, Lady Bulls does sound funny, but so does calling a girls basketball team the Bulls. Shouldn’t they, by Mr. Tripp’s reasoning, be called the Heifers? We couldn’t call them the Cows, because they have not given birth to a child yet. I don’t know of any girl that would like to be referred to as a cow or a heifer.
Mr. Tripp is correct in his assertion that there is no female term for eagles. Both the male and female are referred to as eagles.
If it is demeaning to call female athletes ladies, then is it not also demeaning to refer to them as Bulls, Wolverines, Panthers, Hawks, Bears, Lions, Bulldogs, Bears, etc., or, in other words, the male term of the species?
Perhaps Mr. Tripp would prefer for the paper to refer to girl athletes by the female name of the species. The Wiscasset Wolverines would be the Angelines, the Panthers the Pantheresses, the Seahawks the Hens, the Bears the Sows, the Bulldogs the Bitches, the Mules the She-Asses, the Foxes the Vixen, the Cats the Queens, or the Horses or Mustangs the Mares or Dams.
Wow! In that light, calling them the Lady Eagles sure sounds a whole lot more civil.
Calling them ladies has got to be a Maine thing. It appears opinions differ for the most part on using the term Lady Eagles on whether someone attended Lincoln Academy or not. All but one response from a Lincoln Academy grad prefers the term Lady Eagles. 100 percent of those who did not graduate from Lincoln Academy do not like the term, saying the use of the term “annoyed me,” that Lady Eagles “is a ridiculous title,” and one negative comment from a male LA grad: “the Lady Eagles thing has bugged me for years.”
The LCN has not received enough responses to make a decision. So, if you want us to keep using the terms Lady Eagles, Lady Panthers, Lady Wolverines, and Lady Seahawks, please let us know. And, by the same token, if you do not wish us to continue using the term “Lady,” please let us know.
Please email Paula Roberts at email@example.com, call her at 215-5481, drop a note at the office on Mills Road in Newcastle, or mail her a note at P.O. Box 36, Damariscotta, ME 04543. And please let us know if you are a graduate of one of the schools we cover.