Powderpuff football is an event I have anticipated since I was a freshman. Some boys take part in “Man Cheer” while junior and senior women participate in flag football (which is legitimate football, by the way). I used to think this was the greatest thing, but now I realize the culture involved with the occasion, and it is hard to say I am in any way pleased.First of all, “MAN Cheer”. We acknowledge the cheerleaders as MAN cheer and the game as POWDERPUFF football. Is cheer alone such a terrible idea that we have to ensure the masculinity of these boys is intact? It humors me that the fragility of the male ego knows no end. The announcer described us as the “Senior girls” and “Junior girls”, but never called any of us “women”.
The juniors strayed from the traditional Quick Drill that we seniors did last year. That being said, they created a routine involving modern dance moves and “shaking their butts”. Comments on this routine have been despicable. Fellow senior teammates claimed the juniors had no class, lacked self-respect, and were too provocative. It bothers me that we women say these things, and it goes beyond trash talking the other team. These comments were serious. Self-respect is a concept created by boys/”men” to make women feel bad for doing things they (boys) want. It is constantly used to shame confident women who feel free to show their midriff, strut their bikini body (which is basically a body in a bikini, not a specific body shape), or dance in a way that accentuates their secondary sex characteristics. It is used more for this incorrect purpose than its true purpose- the respect one has for themselves, a concept only measured by oneself and no one else. “Class” is subjective, but class is not necessary for a fun dance. Class is exploited similar to self-respect, but it can be used in a positive light (such as describing someone who gesticulates or speaks in an elegant manner). So what if the juniors’ dance was too provocative? It was the seniors’ choice to provide see-through shirts (jersey-like material) and ask us to wear Soffe shorts, which they believe “show off our butts”. Provocativeness all depends on the circumstance, but the juniors did not do anything wrong in regards to this. Did they do the nae nae terribly? Yes. Was our routine better than theirs? Yes. We women need to stop using the tools of boys to bring down our own gender.
In addition to the sexist comments from the senior football players themselves, many students on campus tweeted that they expect to see the seniors’ butts on the field. This adds to the expectation that powderpuff football is only to look pretty and cannot be taken seriously. Yes, no one is planning to scout us and these are definitely not taken as seriously as the actual fall season, but we women, juniors or seniors, worked hard to be our best. Some of us signed up for shirts, but many more expect to play hard and win hard. We are not weak nor silly like the other students, probably boys, make us to be.