Football. That is what it is called when men play it. Powder Puff is what it’s called when women play it, because god forbid women are taken seriously enough to play a sport that is technically co-ed.
First, as a female athlete, as a teenager, and as a student at this school, I find it completely inappropriate that we continue to partake in this misogynistic tradition. Secondly, the name ‘Powder Puff’ is nothing but demeaning. It implies that women can’t handle the “roughness” of the game. It also implies that when girls want to play football, its a one-off event with the intention of being entertaining, not because they enjoy the sport, but because they want to be entertained by the idea of women playing football. It’s literal definition is a reference to a woman putting on a “puff” of makeup during a game. Thirdly, those who choose to play Powder Puff get their positions given to them by varsity football players and get coached by said football players. If this is actually about getting girls to play football, take us seriously. The Powder Puff players get treated like silly girls who don’t understand football or have never watched a real game. It adds to the stigma that Powder Puff is nothing but a joke.
Women want to play football, I know I do, I just don’t have it in me to deal with the continuous misogyny that comes from not only the school but even from within the locker room (despite there actually being a girl on the team this year). While I understand that not all the players on the football team are misogynistic, there is a stigma that what is said in the locker rooms isn’t the most politically correct or women-friendly. When Trump was caught was in the “Pussygate” scandal, his go to justification was that it was ‘locker-room talk.’ What is said in locker-rooms has tainted the way society views misogyny in sports and has also created a sense that it is social acceptable.
In a perfect world, men and women would play sports together; however, I think if football was, there would be more participation from girls purely because they would feel more comfortable. Girls scramble to play Powder Puff, one can only assume that they want to have the opportunity to play football. And yet, this year is the first year that Tam has a girl on their football team.
The fact is, the current society we live in sees men and women differently in a myriad of ways, not just strength. In many ways, Tam does its best to make all factions of society feel included, and some would argue that Powder Puff is just another way to do so. However, I can not shake the feeling that all it does it further separate girls and boys.
Having said all that, this year the Tam leadership has decided to change the name from “Powder Puff” to “Football Fest,” which of course is a step in the right direction but a name change won’t change generations of tradition. Nor will it change generations of thinking. We need to change the way society views women in sports from one that is negative to one that promotes equality of treatment and female empowerment. This is not a call to action or a call to get rid of Powder Puff; it’s a call for positive change within our society.