The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Powderpuff doesn’t help feminism’s cause

Sadie Lyman
The junior team gathers for a huddle during the Powderpuff game this year against the seniors.

Fall is here, which means pumpkin spice, comfy sweaters, and homecoming. And homecoming means Powderpuff.

However, powderpuff is a step backward for women.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Powderpuff is defined as a traditionally male activity or event done or played by women.

Powderpuff takes place every year at high schools around the country, often during Homecoming Week. 

The very name undermines gender equality efforts. It is a reference to women powdering their faces. It implies that girls are delicate beings who would rather spend all day putting on makeup and being in the house than it does for fierce competition and athleticism. There is by no means anything wrong with enjoying makeup, but powderpuff just feeds off of the stereotype.

Having an entirely separate game just for girls is ridiculous when girls play on Carlmont’s football team and when women across the country are starting to take a greater interest in football, such as 13-year-old Auburn Roberts, who is the quarterback and linebacker for her middle school tackle football team. In April 2017,  Becca Longo became the first female football player to sign a letter of intent at the college level, to play for Adams State University, according to the LA Times.  

Powderpuff is degrading in the fact that it makes girls’ participation in sports a spectacle. It pushes forth the expectations that girls should be subservient and should be expected to not have interest in breaking the gender binary.

The stigma that comes with being female in sports is already high enough—must we continue to perpetuate it?

Soccer has girls soccer and boys soccer, basketball has girls basketball and boys basketball, but football is just football. The connotation is male and remains so. Powderpuff does not help eliminate this.

According to The Women’s Sports Foundation, girls drop out of sports at twice the rate that boys do after the age of 14.

We don’t call any of the boys’ sports teams the “manly scots,” but refer to the girls’ teams as the “lady scots.”

In an age when three of the nine sitting supreme court justices are women and a woman has secured a major party nomination in the past presidential election, is creating a barrier for how far women can go really necessary?

Instead of those who identify as a female being able to establish the respect they deserve and need, powderpuff instead makes it all a joke. Instead of men and women being seen as equals in society, we feel the need to make a spectacle out of anything that does not subscribe to the patriarchal rules of America.

The problem with powderpuff is that it never truly allows women to break the expected social binary. At the end of the day, boys are still in authority in this situation, as coaches or just simply to offer their two cents, and girls still fit into the expected roles and stereotypes.

Powderpuff portrays girls as at a biological disadvantage to their male counterparts. It portrays girls as inferior and is sexist pageantry.

People will say, “Oh, it’s a homecoming tradition, we have to do powderpuff every year!”

But if something is clearly outdated and has no place in a modern era, then why persist?

Choosing to play or not play is your decision. But before you lace up your sneakers and put on your flag belt, ask yourself, am I being responsible for girls everywhere?

About the Contributor
Nina Heller
Nina Heller, Staff Writer
Nina Heller is a senior, and this is her third year on staff for Scot Scoop. She enjoys politics, spending time with her friends, and podcasts, as well as writing for Scotlight and The Highlander. Nina hopes to study journalism in college. Twitter: @ninahellerr Portfolio:

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  • C

    Charie McBrianOct 29, 2017 at 10:45 am

    I really enjoyed this article, keep up the good work

  • J

    JamesOct 26, 2017 at 10:43 pm


    I don’t necessarily disagree w/ your overall message but powderpuff is a way to get people involved in something they would not normally get involved in. Sure girls are getting more involved in football but that’s still not a norm. This year we had a male cheer leading squad for classes, but was this mentioned? No. Why not? Be my guest to tell me. I don’t want to be rude but this is something that lots of people enjoy and that a lot of women that would call themselves “feminists” would enjoy. I am all for equality between the sexes, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like this is taking something very innocent and making it about the feminist movement when it doesn’t need to be. You mentioned men coaching the teams. This would be largely due to the fact that (although a generalization I suppose) that these men/boys know more about football than the girls playing. That’s why we have someone or someone’s from the football team coaching and they happen to be men. In today’s day and age, nothing can be done w/o that something being scrutinized to some degree which I find disappointing. I feel as if especially that this little bubble we live in is so sensitive to anything and everything that we won’t actually make any progress as a society. We could nitpick everything for an endless amount of time. Why are teachers and nurses stereotyped as women? Why do men tend to play football more often than women? Why is volleyball more of a female sport? The whys continue. We get nowhere. And we’re back to square one. I hope you think about what I have said here and I also want to let you know that I respect your opinion, even though I may have my indifferences. This response was not meant to attack you, but rather vocalize an opinion I have.

    Thanks for reading.

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Powderpuff doesn’t help feminism’s cause