Powderpuff football makes a mockery of girls


Photo by Carly Nichols ('17)/ Eastside Staff.

A scene from this year’s Powderpuff Football game. The annual event often attracts more spectators than other girls sporting events at East.

Powderpuff Football is a high school tradition that first swept the nation in the early 1970s. While many rally around the old tradition and look at it as a fun way to show school spirit, it is time to pull the plug on the event.

With altered rules of the game, such as flags rather than tackling, the game is a complete mockery of girls.

The tradition started right about the same time that Title IX–the portion of the 1972 education amendments that prohibits discrimination based on gender–was put into place. Since before Title IX was enacted, women have been fighting to prove they have the same athletic ability as men. Yet to this day, schools such as East continue to encourage the perception of difference between the genders by promoting the Powderpuff Football event.

At our school, like many others, the game is played with a team of senior girls versus a team of junior girls, while boys coach the girls.

“Girls like the experience to get to really play football,” said coach of the senior girls powderpuff team, Abe Granoff (’14).

If they like the experience, then they should be welcomed into playing real football. Many have already proved their athletic ability to be a match for the boys in the other school sports they play. An athletic ability cannot be determined by a gender; there are boys who are athletic and not athletic, just like girls.

Powderpuff Football is nothing more than a remnant of an archaic thought that women are more delicate than their male counterparts, and cannot sustain competition in a “manly” sport like football. But we know this not to be true.

Women have proved themselves in boxing, soccer, basketball and more. Female tennis star Billie Jean King even once took on male tennis star Bobby Riggs in a “Battle of the Sexes” where she defeated him in front of 90 million viewers nationwide.

Women have proved themselves in numerous ways for many years, but until schools promote complete equality, no change will take place. Most schools have a zero tolerance policy for racism of any kind, but why do they turn a blind eye to the right of gender equality?

“The [Powderpuff] event really rallies everybody together,” said advisor for East Powderpuff, Ms. Elizabeth Breen.

But if you have been to any girls sporting event here at East, it is clear that they do not rally students together quite like the boys sporting events do. So why does everybody come out to Powderpuff Football? It is just girls playing a sport, which should not be seen as anything out of the ordinary.

Powderpuff Football is a mockery of girls. Girls have been told their whole lives that they cannot play football because only boys play football, and this is why many participate in the event, which is an inauthentic version of football, without question. They are subject to mockery and do not even know it.