A communications professor at the University of Iowa will be protesting the color of the opposing football team’s locker room on Friday by dressing up as a robot and marching through the school’s annual “FryFest,” a celebration of Hayden Fry, the coach who had the locker rooms painted pink.
In his autobiography, Fry stated that the reason he had the opposing locker room painted pink was that “pink is often found in girls’ bedrooms, and because of that, some consider it a sissy color.” He believed it would make visiting football teams more passive, and his “experiment” was considered so successful that when the locker rooms were renovated in 2005, they added pink carpeting, metal lockers showers, sinks, and urinals.
Dr. Kembrew McLeod — author of the book Prankster: Making Mischief in the Modern World, about the absurdist tradition in American civil disobedience — claims that rationale behind the locker room is both sexist and homophobic, and will be protesting the annual event dedicated to the man who came up with it by dressing up in a robot costume and marching through FryFest yelling, “Binary code? Yes! Gender binaries? No!” and “Delete the pink locker rooms!”
He hopes to attract at least 30 other robots to his “Million Robot March to Delete Gender Norms,” he told The Washington Post.
“Ten to 30 robots marching along with human allies is a visual spectacle that I think will travel far and wide,” McLeod said. “It’s a serious issue, but we want to demonstrate that we are not humorless, politically correct downers.”
Response to news of the protest has been mostly negative on Twitter:
I speak for the entire university when I say get fucked, @kembrew
— Hawkize (@Hawkize) August 29, 2014
But McLeod seems undeterred:
— Kembrew McLeod (@kembrew) August 29, 2014
This is not the first time McLeod has protested in a robot suit. In 2011, he heckled Representative Michelle Bachmann during an Iowa campaign stop, shouting “I am a gay robot! I was programmed to do this! I cannot help myself! I am gay!”
Watch an interview with McLeod about his unique form of protest below.