A Massachusetts high school has canceled its annual powderpuff football game over concerns that it is gender-exclusive and too competitive. Newton South High School’s principal notified parents that the decision was made “to safeguard our students and out of concern for our school climate.”
In a screenshot of the e-mail captured on Acculturated, the principal lists the five reasons why the tradition was ended, such as injuries and “destabiliz[ing] our normally supportive, welcoming, intimidation-free school environment.” The gender-specific nature of the game also resulted in its cancelation.
“In terms of gender politics, the name ‘powerderpuff,’ which most students still call the game, inadvertently serves to mock the hard-fought struggles of female athletes to be taken seriously and, we think, perpetuates negative stereotypes about femininity and female athletes,” the e-mail read.
In a video posted on Boston.com, Newton South lamented the cancelation of the “unifying experience” that is the powderpuff game. In protest, they wore the school colors, jerseys from last year’s game, and shirts with “Save Powderpuff” written on them.