Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Dr. Jennifer Ma

Reader 2

Dr. Jennifer Groscup

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Including the word "Lady" in team titles has caused recent controversy among high profile college and university athletic programs. Despite this controversy in the popular media, the pervasiveness of this issue and the possible consequences of such names are unknown. In Study 1, the prevalence of this issue among four year colleges and universities in the United States was determined to be 11.11% (N=121), with schools in the South gendering women's teams the most. Study 2 was a case study of mascots used by Texas high schools and found that 73.66% (N=179) use gendered mascots. In Study 3, the effects of gendered mascots on perceptions of female athletes were explored through an experiment. Results showed that teams with "Lady" in the title were perceived to be more in line with feminine stereotypes and less with athletic stereotypes than teams without gendered names after controlling for participants' preexisting sexism and attitudes. Additionally, after controlling for participant age, prior soccer experience, and prior sports experience, participants viewed "Lady" teams as more feminine, weaker, less aggressive, and less interested in sports. Dropping the use of the word "Lady" and other gendered mascots has the potential to benefit female athletes, as it may help to combat the delegitimization of women's sports. Sports teams are not inherently male and female teams need not to be declared female, as doing so implies that female athletes are separate from the norm.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.