Powderpuff is sexist – plain and simple (anything that originates in 1945 is rarely anything but). The powder puff football game originated in South Dakota, at Eastern State Teachers College four months after the end of World War 2. The origins of the game are actually quite logical, far removed from the current iteration. The girls at Eastern State Teachers College wanted a homecoming football game. With only three men enrolled, it made sense for the girls to play the game, regardless of the social pressure to be ‘ladylike.’ Of course, we no longer live under these conditions. There’s no draft, nor lack of players. All that’s left of the original game is unnecessary gender norms
The only way to solve this archaic and sexist issue is to abolish it. Instead, host something that isn’t demeaning to women and doesn’t mock them. Pit girls against boys in a water balloon fight, or something that would be equally matched.
The mockery of the cheerleaders that the males who participate portray only further perpetuate harmful ideals in society, that girls are ditzy and obsessed with their looks. The way they prance around with their shirts tied to look like a bikini top is in extreme poor taste. The depiction of the girls is a poor representation of how hard they work, and is honestly a shame.
This game has proven to produce animosity between the opposing teams – juniors and seniors. A few years ago, a junior at Glenbrook North High School just outside of Chicago had to get stitches from what she endured at the hands of senior girls.
The concept of the game being powder-puff originated when, at the first game, the girls put on their rouge and powder, leading spectators to dub the team the “Powder-puff and Rouge Elevens.” Since then, it’s been shortened to powder-puff. The word itself has quite the negative connotation, meaning to lack the ability to deal with a situation, and to not produce the desired effect. The shortening producing a negative word was no accident, and simply reflects the bias against women in sports.
The tradition aspect of powder-puff can still thrive in a much more socially aware game. It doesn’t have to reflect extremely outdated views on both masculinity and femininity. The game does in fact do harm. It screams the idea that women playing sports is a novel idea, even though it hasn’t been for decades. The turnout for this joke of a game is far more than any of the female sports, which speaks volumes of the respect given to female athletes.
Powder-puff as it is should not continue. The game only harms the perspective on women both in cheer and in contact sports. This sexist, offensive game needs to be swapped for one more gender neutral.