Powderpuff football is sexist, dangerous


Powderpuff football is sexist, divisive and dangerous, according to the principal of a suburban Boston high school. Newton South Principal Joel Stembridge canceled the school’s annual girls’ flag football game, which pits juniors against seniors.

On The Corner, Andrew Johnson links to a screenshot of principal’s e-mail on Acculturated.

The principal lists the five reasons why the tradition was ended, such as injuries and “destabiliz[ing] our normally supportive, welcoming, intimidation-free school environment.” The gender-specific nature of the game also resulted in its cancelation.

“In terms of gender politics, the name ‘powerderpuff,’ which most students still call the game, inadvertently serves to mock the hard-fought struggles of female athletes to be taken seriously and, we think, perpetuates negative stereotypes about femininity and female athletes,” the e-mail read.

In addition, the game “does not include the whole school” or “celebrate the diversity of interests of our students, nor does it encourage appreciation for the skills and/or expertise developed here at South.”

By this logic, Newton South should cancel varsity football too.

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  1. Schools want to cancel PowderPuff games, but they never seem to want to take on the obvious alternative, which is to allow girls to play some real football (for example, organized, competitive flag football games). My experience of PowderPuff in high school, supported by the photo on this post, was that the girls involved *wanted to play football* but the couple of downs we got to play in the powderpuff game one lunch period was all we were given.

  2. Richard Aubrey says:

    There must be points in a contest for the Stupid. You have to say or do the most unlikely, counterintuitive, conflict-with-everybody’s experience thing imaginable and stick to it in the face of outrage and incredulous laughter.
    You know, lethal pop-tarts, etc.
    Anybody got another explanation?

  3. Yeah, I have another explanation. It’s not mine, but it what the people who canned the powderpuff game here came up with. It’s the diversity one in the article..the particpants weren’t diverse enough for the watchers, so therefore the tradition is racist or elitist or bullying or unfair to special education students otherwise their favored group would be participating in greater numbers. Racist comes from the skin color makeup not being in the exact proportion in the pp game as the student body has; elitist means the district didn’t provide a late bus to get students without cars home; bullying means the quarterback or organizer was not the watcher’s preferred pick; unfair to special ed means that students with physical and cognitive issues were not provided a role in the game.

    The same argument is used here to cancel music courses.