Powderpuff Lives, But So Do the Problems


Damon Mar

Senior Nina Leon poses after the senior girl’s victory at Powderpuff.

After a grueling debate around the Shorecrest fundraiser, Powderpuff, renamed Girl’s Football, continued as scheduled this year. The controversy was brought to the table along with Mr. Shorecrest and Macho Volleyball, two other Shorecrest events meant to make fun of gender stereotypes. Yet, many concerned individuals within the community were worried that instead of breaking prejudices, these events might very well be perpetuating them.

A long standing Shorecrest tradition, Girls Football (Powderpuff)  involves a handful of junior and senior girls competing in a game of football who are trained by members of the Shorecrest football team, and armed with hot pink shirts, embellished with quick lines of fabric paint. To prevent safety from becoming an issue, the game had originally been non-tackle, but after last year, has instead changed to flag football.

Senior participant Sydney Smythe, who has been involved in Girl’s Football since her junior year, had a lot to say on the matter. “I know a lot of the times the coaches are [saying] ‘oh, because we’re doing this in the game, or you know, we’re actually going to cut the field in half for you guys’”, admitted Smythe during an interview, “That to me feels like the people who made the rules don’t think that girls can run that far.”

Each of the participants are trained by a current Shorecrest football athlete in the weeks prior to the game. Concerns, however, have been raised by several of the senior participants about the consistency of these practices, “I know Max [Long] is putting in an effort. Sadath [Aboudou] is too, but the others are just standing around,” said Smythe, “last week, we were just sitting around for a half an hour, which is really annoying.”

Her sentiment was echoed by fellow senior participant, Delaney Browne, who had also participated in Girl’s Football last year. “We break into small groups, and we each have a football player who is the leader of that group,” explained Browne, who went on to echo Smythe’s earlier comments.

Yet, it is not only the treatment of the players that onlookers have brought up. The potential inclusion of trans and nonbinary athletes has been long discussed, as the event can often seem uninviting to any who may feel that their gender may factor into their tryouts. “As far as nonbinary people, and transgender people,” said Smythe, “if they do identify as nonbinary, or if they do identify as female, I feel like they should be able to play.” Yet, Smythe admitted that she didn’t believe that this was worth cancelling Girl’s Football over. Instead, she argued for reforms that would make the game more inclusive, “Powderpuff should be more of a contact sport, more tied into actual football,” claimed Smythe, “we’re not delicate people.”

These problems were echoed by outspoken Shorecrest senior, Reno Williams, who said that “Powderpuff is a spectacle, and it’s a way of making a show and putting up a mockery of girls playing football,” Reno said during an interview, “I don’t think that the intent is malicious, it’s a great fundraiser, and I don’t think people go to it simply to laugh at girls playing football, this isn’t the 1950s, but I do think that that idea is the whole reason it sells tickets.”