Delaware Student Newspaper Announces It Will Stop Calling Women’s Sports Teams Lady Hens

The Review at the University of Delaware will no longer refer to women’s sports teams at the school as Lady Hens, criticizing the gender-specific designation as “a discriminatory term.”

Officially, teams at UD are known as the Blue Hens or the Fightin’ Blue Hens. In the Review, men’s teams have long been called Blue Hens or, simply, Hens and the women’s teams Lady Hens.

1In a letter to the editor published Sunday, a young UD alumnus called the Lady Hens reference an “antiquated practice … diminishing women’s roles in athletics as equal representatives of Delaware sports.”

According to James Wiles, a 2012 UD grad, “The continued use of the term Lady Hens is ridiculous. First, Hens are biologically females, so the term is redundant. … More importantly, however, the term Lady Hens is inherently sexist. The men’s teams are not called the ‘Mister Hens’ or ‘Gentlemen Hens’ though that would be interesting and more logical, given the above point on Hens’ genders. Instead, the men’s teams are somehow solely entitled to the general term Hens, without a gender specific qualifier. Both men’s and women’s teams represent the university, so shouldn’t they both simply be called Blue Hens?”

In response, the paper’s top editors declared: You’re right.

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In a letter to readers, editor-in-chief Elizabeth Quartararo and executive editor Cady Zuvich confirm Wiles’ letter compelled them to take immediate editorial action.

As they write, “We feel it is time to retire the term. Though a long-held tradition, referring to our women’s sports teams as the Lady Hens while we refer to our men’s teams as the Hens suggests that men’s teams lay claim to true Henship and to the true embodiment of athleticism. By categorizing our women’s teams as other, we diminish the tremendous achievements of our women’s sports. … Though this change is long overdue, we are proud to announce we are disposing of a discriminatory term.”

What do you think?

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