Recently, many students have expressed interest in starting a football team at Marlborough School. Starting a new sports team is challenging enough, but Marlborough faces a unique situation because of its all-girls environment. Most high school football teams are either all-boys or co-ed, so the School would have to decide if it wants to join the league and play against boys or become a pilot program for all-girls football. Also, girls’ football is not always considered equal to boys’ football; for example, girl’s teams are often referred to as “powderpuff” teams, which some people find belittling.
In 1945, when many American male college students were fighting in World War II, many campuses eliminated homecoming games. As a response, a group of students at Eastern State Teacher College created a team of 23 girls to form two teams in what they called the Powderpuff League.
Many girls, such as Eve ’19 and Sophie ’19, believe that if enough Marlborough girls want to start a football team, they should be able to have one.
“Even though we are all-girls, some people have interests like that. At my old school, they had a flag football team, and we played against other teams…I thought it was a lot of fun,” Moshay commented.
However, Athletic Director David Collicutt mentioned concerns about the unequal treatment of male and female football players.
“I think that what often happens when girls play, [referees] tend to want to restrict their contact, shall I say, so they play more like flag football. I think that some girls don’t want to do that; they want to actually play [full force],” Collicutt said.
In most current football leagues, the sport is considered co-ed, so Marlborough could join the league without having any male players. Despite there being no rules against joining the co-ed league, some people still acknowledge the differences in boys’ and girls’ football.
Sylvia Garrett ’19 has noticed that girls are treated differently in football. Because girls are sometimes traditionally viewed as weaker than and inferior to boys, they are therefore sometimes not allowed to play with the same rules.
“I think that [Marlborough] should join the co-ed league to make a statement. We can do this too. Just because we are girls doesn’t mean we are weaker than you,” Garrett said.
Many Marlborough students feel that calling a girl’s football team a Powderpuff team, though, would be demeaning and offensive to girls.
“[Calling] them Powderpuff [is offensive] because it is a stereotypical, weak, girly name,” Garrett said.