Powderpuff uniform changes cause controversy

Julia Napier and Lauren Upah

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Powderpuff, an annual homecoming tradition run by the Student Government Association, in which participants switch stereotypical gender roles by having boys cheer and dance at the homecoming pep rally while girls play football has been well received throughout Hayfield in the past. The Powderpuff boys don pink cothing and accessories; this year, however, due to the non-discrimination policy put forth by FCPS, in an effort to not perpetuate gender stereotypes, the administration has suggested that the Powderpuff boys not wear pink or things that are traditionally considered feminine in order to prevent any possible controversy. The SGA has decided to comply with these suggestions, and so the powderpuff boys have to change the basis of their uniforms, although some members aren’t in complete agreement.

“It is ridiculous that pink is known as a girl color,” junior Billy Baldinger said. “It is just a color. It doesn’t even represent anything, and I don’t think it would offend anyone to wear pink.”
The color pink has always been a staple in the Powderpuff routine, contributing to the entertainment of the performance and the energy of the pep rally, and while some students, especially those participating in the Powderpuff pep rally routine, are not in favor of this new dress code, others believe the exclusion of pink in outfits should not warrant as much attention as it has received.
“Honestly I don’t think [the color change] is that big of a deal,” sophomore Amelie Murphy said. “Powderpuff is just a lot of fun and games, and it is enjoyable for everyone but it is what it is. It is just something to laugh at, [so] I don’t think it is too personal.”

The change of wardrobe has sparked a wide variety of conversations among students and staff alike, invoking a multitude of perspectives.

“It actually doesn’t sound that different from the previous years,” history teacher Janet Babic said.“In previous years, the guys on the Powderpuff cheerleading team were not allowed to wear skirts and things, and if they did wear spandex shorts they did have to wear something over top that was a little less revealing. Personally, I don’t find a color to be offensive, and I personally wouldn’t assign a color to a gender, but I do take issue a little bit with the skirts, simply because it could get out of hand. What a skirt is to one person becomes a mini skirt to another, and then what is to stop people from wearing things to intimidate or harass other people? I can see both sides.”

The color pink’s role in the Powderpuff performances is where Hayfield’s discussion on gender stereotypes has manifested, and it brings forth new topics to examine.

“I think that it’s a good first step in trying to move away from preconceived gender stereotypes and being sensitive to the potential objections that people may have,” English teachers Amy Kingsbury and Brian Hannon said. “The whole concept of PowderPuff (which insinuates that it is an oddity that girls would be playing football/sports in the first place), however, is a bit of an antiquated idea that kind of plays on the same gender norms that they’re trying to distance themselves from. The game should still definitely take place because it’s an event that the student body seems to enjoy, but perhaps a different name moving forward would be more appropriate if we are trying to promote inclusion and/or equality.”

Whether the boys are covered head-to-toe in pink or sky blue, the energy and flair expressed in their performance is likely to overshadow any controversy following the change in wardrobe. The carefully choreographed routine performed at every homecoming pep rally will continue on, even if their neon pink costumes are no longer present.

“I don’t think it is going to affect the pep rally at all,” Babic said. “The talent and the showmanship the guys have far outweighs anything they are wearing.”

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Powderpuff uniform changes cause controversy