Powderpuff is a known and loved tradition in nearly all American high schools during during homecoming week. But in the last few years the game has received an increasing amount of backlash from coaches and parents who fear for the safety of their girls. But what is the issue with such an American game? It promotes healthy rivalry between students yet encourages teamwork and communication between players. It’s a fun way to get school spirit up doing homecoming week and it is looked forward to by the students.
Well to begin with, the name is a big issue that can be quite deceiving. The name comes from a makeup applicator that was used in the 1940’s. This only adds to the stereotype that girls are delicate, only interested in traditionally feminine things, and are unable to do any damage on the field. But this couldn't be further from the truth. Powder Puff in the past has been known to be unorganized and dangerous, which you wouldn't guess by the name. But this may be a bigger issue than most realize. Some coaches are even going as far as not allowing their female players to participate in be game. But their decision isn't unjustified, this game is far more dangerous than the other sports our school offers. And the proof is in the sheer number of girls who get injured during this tradition. Girls who get injured in this brutal game can be out for a whole season of their regular sports, all because someone decided to get a little too rough. You can only imagine the loss the teams would suffer if all the girls who played got injured. Besides that, the game is coached by the boys. Who's to say that boys know football better than girls. In many cases this is true, but there are just as many where it isn't. So is it really fair to give girls an opportunity to play the game, only for them to be treated like they know nothing of the sport? Girls can watch football on the weekends just like boys do. So just because some girls aren’t interested in the game, doesn’t mean that all girls aren’t.
Muscle volleyball is another issue. While there is not nearly as many things wrong with the game, the name should be enough to make people skeptical. Why is the game suddenly muscle volleyball when boys play it? This couldn’t possibly be a suggestion that the girls playing aren’t strong or muscular is it? Because I know that if you were to ask one of our girls on the team they would not hesitate to tell you about the long hours and tiring practices that they endure in order to improve their skills for the game. They are extremely dedicated to the sport and are strong because of it.
So I propose a name change at the very least, because the first step in making safer game is to prevent misinformation from the name. Instead of sexist names like “Powderpuff” and “Muscle Volleyball”, let’s try “flag football” and “beach volleyball”. Because before we can fix the issues of the game itself, we need to fix the names.