Converse College: Eliminate Roxie.
  • Petitioned Converse College

This petition was delivered to:

President Betsy Fleming
Converse College
Lauren Maxwell

Converse College: Eliminate Roxie.

    1. Lauren Maxwell
    2. Petition by

      Lauren Maxwell


On November 8, 2012, Converse College allowed current students to change the Red Devil mascot that has been in place since 1975. Richard the Red Devil is an androgynous figure that allows room for all students. Converse students adopted a new mascot that portrays a stereotypically feminine woman that fails to represent the college's diversity and proven ability to defy gender norms. In fact, Roxie calls to mind exactly the opposite of what we strive to be. Panther and Devil alumnae alike are disappointed in the college they love for a failure to empower Converse women of the future in this way. Eliminate Roxie; see letter below.

Recent signatures


    1. One More Day

      Lauren Maxwell
      Petition Organizer

      Good morning!

      This petition closes in one day. 419 signatures is amazing! Good work, ladies! I'm proud that Converse created so many graduates who are serious about the dangers of gender norms.

      Let's keep it going until tomorrow.

      All best,


      P.S. My "Plan" blog post has been updated with a letter to me from the Student Body President.

    2. Plans to Move Forward

      Lauren Maxwell
      Petition Organizer

      Hello, Converse Supporters:

      I recommend reading the recent petition signers' comments; one was the original instigator of Richard, and one is signed Pantera!

      Meanwhile, please see for plans to move forward. Would love any input you may have.

      This conversation about the problems associated with gender normativity is an important one; I appreciate your willingness to engage.



    3. Television and Newspaper!

      Lauren Maxwell
      Petition Organizer

      Friends, our efforts have been noticed by local TV and the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Interviews are happening this afternoon!

    4. Message from Current Converse Student

      Lauren Maxwell
      Petition Organizer

      Hi, friends:

      A brave current student signed and left a message on this petition today. I thought you might like to read it.

      "I'm a current Red Devil attending Converse College. I think it was wrong of a few people to completely redesign the mascot without the input of any current Red Devils or any Red Devil Alumni. I especially think it's wrong that the now mascot is just a slightly photoshopped version of a copyrighted clip art image. The slogan is also very derogatory and doesn't represent any of Converse's values."

      Let's support our little sisters and fellow alumnae by personally asking one person to add their name to this list. Keep it going! 300 and growing!

      So proud of each of you.

    5. Reached 250 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Anita Kanitz STUTTGART, GERMANY
      • 11 months ago

      Feminists have identified women’s bodies as the locus of patriarchal control and power, for example in the medicalisation of reproduction and reproductive rights, physical and sexual abuse, in the sexualisation of the female body and the ‘beauty’ standards which women strive to achieve. Discuss how this process of objectification of the body may or may not work to weaken the position of women in society.

      In many cultures and historical periods women have been proud to be large--being fat was a sign of fertility, of prosperity, of the ability to survive. Even in the U.S. today, where fear of fat reigns in most sectors of the culture, some racial and ethnic groups love and enjoy large women. For example, Hawaiians often consider very large women quite beautiful, and studies show that some black women experience more body satisfaction and are less concerned with dieting, fatness, and weight fluctuations than are white women. However, the weight loss, medical, and advertising industries have an enormous impact on women across racial and ethnic boundaries. These industries all insist that white and thin is beautiful and that fatness is always a dangerous problem in need of correction. The popular notion that some communities are less influenced than others has meant that women of color in particular have a hard time being taken seriously when they have eating disorders. A black woman suffering from an eating disorder says:

      After all, don't black people prize wide hips and fleshy bodies? Isn't obesity so prevalent in our communities because it is actually accepted? Don't black women have very positive body images?...Anorexia and its kin supposedly strike only adolescent, middle- and upper-middle-class white girls...Women like me are winging it, seeking out other sisters with the same concerns, wondering if we are alone on this journey.

      Fat women daily encounter hostility and discrimination. If we are fat, health practitioners often attribute our health problems to "obesity," postpone treatment until we lose weight, accuse us of cheating if we don't, make us so ashamed of our size that we don't go for help, and make all kinds of assumptions about our emotional and psychological state ("She must have emotional problems to be so fat").

      Yet, as many of us have long suspected, it is now being acknowledged that it is cardiovascular fitness and not fatness we need to look at if we are concerned about health. Some of our ill health as fat women results from the stress of living with fat-hatred--social ridicule and hostility, isolation, financial pressures resulting from job discrimination, lack of exercise because of harassment, and, perhaps most important, the hazards of repeated dieting. Low-calorie dieting has become a national obsession. Many of us are convinced that making women afraid to be fat is a form of social control. Fear of fat keeps women preoccupied, robs us of our pride and energy, keeps us from taking up space. I don't like myself heavy, I want to feel thin, streamlined and spare, and not like a toad. We can be more relaxed about our weight

      "We need a widespread rebellion of women who are tired of worrying about their weight, who understand that weight is not a matter of health or discipline but a weapon our culture uses against us to keep us in our place and feeling small. We need to quietly say no to ridiculous weight standards, reassuring ourselves that we're good and worthwhile human beings even if we aren't a thin size, and further, to protest those standards more demonstrably, on behalf of others as well. Both decisions require a change in attitude which, while not necessarily impolite, is rather less tolerant of the everyday demeaning comments about body size that women now accept as their due. In other words, we need to begin to throw our weight around."

      A better self-image doesn't pay the rent or cook supper or prevent nuclear war. Feeling better about ourselves doesn't change the world by itself, but it can give us energy to do what we want and to work for change.

      Learning to accept and love our bodies and ourselves is an important and difficult ongoing struggle. But to change the societal values underlying body image, we need to do more than love ourselves. We need to focus our attention on the forces that drive wedges between us as women: racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, and our national obsession with size and shape. To truly create change, to create a world in which all women can make choices about our appearances for ourselves and not others, we must incorporate all women into the heart of how we see ourselves. From this expanded horizon of sisterhood, we may begin to value the lives of women who previously meant nothing to us. We may begin to realize that understanding their lives is essential to understanding our own lives and realizing our full potential as women. If we can begin to eliminate the hatred and ridicule levied against women who don't fit the ``state-of-the-art'' ideal, we can lessen the stress of ``not fitting in.'' We also open the possibility of building a social-change movement that links all women who seek a world where each of us can celebrate and delight in our physical bodies. Working together to change the attitudes and conditions that restrict us, we feel proud and more able to take control of our lives. We need each others' help to change the deeply entrenched attitudes that make us dislike our own bodies and that interfere with our relationships with other women.

    • terry hafner MYRTLE BEACH, SC
      • over 1 year ago

      i do not think this is good representation of what we want young girls to grow into

    • Debbie Roland CAMERON,, SC
      • almost 2 years ago

      We sent our daughter to Converse so she could be a true Connie, not Roxie. This change sends a negative message to girls. Being and looking like a Barbie is what Roxie looks like to me. Not bright, women who can make a possessive effect in the world. Shame-Shame - Shame on Converse college Students the president, board members and anyone else who supports this chance. I have 6 grandchildren and I'm sure a few more to go. With this kind of image I am sure I'll never give them a dime to go to Converse.

    • Elaine Caraway INMAN, SC
      • almost 2 years ago

      I can appreciate tradition and allowing the mascot to change, but not to this. Roxie is not the image we want to represent us.

      • almost 2 years ago

      This really is antithetical to the very idea of a strong, intelligent, accomplished woman that Converse taught us to be.


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