In a couple weeks, throngs of Boulderites and visiting runners will flock to Folsom Field to run, walk, or cheer on the participants of the 35th Bolder Boulder, a race named as one of the all-time best 10Ks by Runner’s World.
The race pretty much takes over Boulder for a day and it includes world-class runners competing for top times and costumed groups running as a theme. It’s one of those events that unites the community and everyone comes out to have a great time.
This year, however, one group is claiming that the race’s slogan, “Sea Level is for Sissies,” is derogatory towards members of the gay community. Out Boulder, formerly Boulder Pride, posted a petition on change.org to have the Bolder Boulder slogan changed to exclude the word sissies.
Race director Cliff Bosley has no plans to change the slogan and mentioned the fact that he met with the director of Out Boulder three years ago, Cathy Busha, to ensure that the slogan was not seen as a defamatory remark meant to put anyone down.
It seems opinions have changed under the new executive director, Mardi Moore, who calls the slogan harmful to gays and says it leads to further gender stereotypes.
The standard definition according to Webster’s dictionary is “a boy who is weak or who likes things that girls usually like.” A secondary definition, “a person who is weak and fearful,” is less derogatory towards a specific group.
While no one but the slogan author knows exactly what the intent was, I would be willing to bet that it was not intended to single out a portion of the community in a negative way. Merely to point out the obvious: hardcore runners want a challenge and the Bolder Boulder provides it.
When I initially heard this slogan a few years ago, I’ll admit, I didn’t think anything of it. I thought it was clever and fairly appropriate for the race. However, now that the issue has been pointed out, I can’t seem to unthink the definition of sissy. It brings up the long-debated point at which being politically correct and inclusive crosses the line into being overly sensitive about a topic that was never meant to offend. What are your thoughts on the petition and the slogan? Should it stay or should it go?