Powderpuff Football: Just Fun or Insensitive Sexism?

A.J. Peña

What is powderpuff football? This is a question many staff and students asked when told about this after-school activity.

It’s a football game, but there is a twist: Females play football, and males cheer them on.

It was a flag football game on Sept. 27 in Ivan Head stadium created to get kids to have fun and support our school with a little team spirit. The game was seniors vs. juniors, and the seniors won 28-0. 

When asked why powderpuff was important, Brandi Cordova, the secretary who organized the game, said, “It pulls the kids away from doing things such as partying, drugs, and other types of negative things and draws their attention to something fun and exciting.” 

But not every opinion was positive. Some say powderpuff football is sexist and disrespectful to the LGBTQ community. 

“Men shouldn’t be wearing and doing these things as a joke!” said one SFHS staff member who wished to remain anonymous. “It shows that they do not take the LGBTQ community seriously.”

This staff member claims that the boys cheering and dressing up as girls are disrespecting the people who have a hard time coming out as not being cisgender. She also thinks that women athletes should already have a football team instead of having set sports for each sex. She said she tried telling administrators to cancel the event, but the game still went on.

Angelina Geissinger, a junior who played in the game, disagreed. She said she thought it was crazy that people were against powderpuff, saying, “If anything, this is in support of the LGTBQ community, that the students won’t judge you no matter how you’re dressed.” 

Ms. Cordova said she wanted to start powderpuff because events like this made her own high school peers excited and improved their school spirit. She believes students should want to come to school. 

“After Covid, students became antisocial, and Debby Downers,” she said, claiming that the pandemic ruined students’ school spirit and that students no longer want to do the fun things they used to do. She shared that the pandemic affected her too: “I got fearful and wouldn’t go outside.”

Ms. Cordova is really big on positivity. She said she wants kids to smile and have fun and not to bring the negativity or take it home. 

Angelina said, “Honestly, this was one of the most fun events at this school that I’ve been to.”

Ms. Cordova’s biggest issue with organizing the powderpuff game was getting teachers to help her and getting the girls to play together. Mr. Mendez lent a hand, as did Mr. Abeyta and Ms. Beach.

Antionio Urioste, a senior, was a cheerleader for the game. “I thought it was a really cool idea and it sounded super fun,” he said. “I think it would be nice to get to do something other than school, sports, and homework.” Antonio thinks this was a good way to support the school, noting that Santa Fe High hasn’t done anything like this the whole time he’s been at the school. 

When asked if he felt odd dressing up like a girl, Antionio said that he did at first but also thought that since it was his last year at the school he should just have fun. “Who cares what other people think?” he asked, adding that he was actually one of the first people to join, which influenced other kids to do it too. He said that participating in powderpuff would also “get the girls’ attention” and make him more known.

Savannah Ortiz, another senior, said her cheer coach would not let the cheerleaders participate because she said it was “stupid.” Savannah could only be there for the last half hour of the game because she had to attend cheer practice.

Savannah said the game was “something cool to do” with her friends and to have fun. When asked what she thought might be an issue about powderpuff she said, “Girls at Santa Fe High, they all have people they don’t like, and to do these types of activities with the girls you don’t like could lead to confrontation.” 

The cheerleaders had routine dances such as the wobble and Soulja Boy, and they even picked each other up for stunts. 

Angelina said she was kind of nervous before the game but she was determined to win and was furious because of the loss. But she looks forward to the next fun event. “I hope we can do more things like this more often,” she said.

Not many fans showed up, but those who did seemed to have a good time and showed team spirit. There was some grumbling about people judging each other and cheating, but in the end there was a smile on everyone’s face.

Ms. Cordova said she has more events planned and hopes more students will want to join.