Gavi Azoff and Lucy Kim
Even after the last touchdown has been scored, Newton South students continue to reflect on the possible dangers the game entails or its lack of impact onto their lives.
The football game is intended to be a friendly competition, as well as an outlet for teens to support classmates. However, students not involved in school sports often feel excluded from both the game and the included rituals. This year, the intensity of the fight on Twitter and grade based rivalry polarized the student body’s opinions.
Junior Emily Belt firmly opposes powderpuff for the game’s aggressive nature and the bullying that it entails.
“I’m against the powderpuff tradition because it is sexist, unsafe, and causes a lot of unnecessary rivalry and cyber bullying. All year the juniors and seniors are friends until powderpuff comes along, and they become really competitive,” said Belt.
Instead of this tradition, Belt says girls who wish to play football should be given the option to play the sport on an organized team.
Senior Yuval Dinoor, who does not feel a strong personal or social connection to the game because most of her friends are not involved in athletics, agrees with Belt that the rivalry and bullying associated with the event and its traditions seem unhealthy.
“Personally I am pretty uncomfortable with traditions surrounding powderpuff. I get having the football game, but the degree to which the girls who participate from each grade pit themselves against one another feels downright purge-y to me. I think a lot of the pent up anger that surrounded the event this year made it into something that didn’t feel positive at all,” said Dinoor.
Junior Joci Rodenstein agrees with Dinoor on the divisions powderpuff can create, but continues to have neutral feelings concerning the game.
“I think powderpuff is just another chance to divide the class. It is advertised as something as something all junior and senior girls can do, but only some are invited. Personally, I’m impartial. I got a jersey because I like the look but I will not be attending the game, or participating in any of the traditions that are part of it,” said Rodenstein.
Contrary to all three girls, students view powderpuff as a positive and enjoyable experience even if those in favor of the game choose to not actively engage in the annual event.
For example, junior Alisa Rabin chooses not to play in the game, but still supports the tradition because girls should have the same opportunity as guys to play football if they want to.
“Although it is very aggressive and I would never do it myself, I still support powderpuff. First of all, you aren’t forced to do it. Second, it unites the students involved, and also gives students who are coaching powderpuff quality leadership skills that they might not find elsewhere,” said Rabin.
Rabin continues by stating that the game in reality is not as dangerous as many describe, as it is often blown out of proportion.
Parallelling Rabin’s view, senior Karina Aguilar sees no harm in allowing the students who choose to play the game to do so. She expects that students who willingly participate in powderpuff see the game as fun, and banishing the tradition would not be beneficial.
“I don’t have a strong opinion on the tradition or game itself. I think the people who participate chose to participate, no one is forced to play. It seems like they have a lot of fun and it’s an important tradition to them. So I guess I’m for it in the way that I don’t see why it would be necessary or productive to take that away. I think the students who choose not to participate largely are unimpaired by the game itself,” said Aguilar.
Additionally, Aguilar sees that most of the negativity around powderpuff does not concern the game itself, but rather is created by those who excessively chat about the game.
“The one thing I do have a negative opinion on is all the debate and conversation happening around powderpuff. I say let the people who want to play play, let the people who don’t want to be involved do their own thing. I don’t see why the school feels the need to take such a strong stance, but I also don’t understand why many students feel the need to fight back so hard,” said Aguilar.
Aguilar and Rodenstein maintain impartial stances regarding powderpuff and that the two opposing sides of the student body should coincide peacefully with students being able to choose whether or not they will participate.
However, Belt and Dinoor see the game as a dividing force throughout grade levels that is based on anger and sexism.
Rabin though concludes by stating that she will continue to support powderpuff because it allows girls the opportunity to play football.
“I personally believe powderpuff gets blown way out of proportion, but if South can have a football team, junior and senior girls should be allowed to play powderpuff, which is much safer. After all, it is all in good fun, just like regular football games,” said Rabin.