Out With the Old, In With The Lady Vikes


Ruby McMahon

The annual flag football fundraiser is a night of pent up excitement and anticipation.
Previously known to EL as the Powder Puff game, the no longer ELHS-run event is tackling the outdated name and starting new this year, calling itself the “Lady Vikes.”
The game is a yearly tradition for ELHS students, the guidelines being that the noncontact match of flag football will consist of two teams: one of junior girls and the other of senior girls.

In the past, the football players would swap with the girls and become the cheerleaders, coinciding with the outdated name of “powder puff.” What is a powder puff? A powder puff, invented in 1882 by Ellene Bailey, in definition, is “a soft pad for applying powder to the skin, especially the face.”

Within decades, the name of this beauty product transformed into an ambiguous name, encompassing a powder pad, as well as car races, football games, and typically male dominated sports being played by women.
The earliest powder puff games started in the 1940s and 50s as a way to keep the
audience coming back to more games. Since most women during that time didn’t own cars or play football, the community Powder Puff game was supposed to be a joke of how poorly the players’ wives played to get more people to attend.

Carrying out the name of powder puff for nearly 80 years perpetuated the stereotype that women were only
interested in makeup and were too fragile for football, as well as being sexist in nature by being exclusive only to women.
For the junior team’s coach Jen Brush, promoting fairness and good sportmanship has been an integral part of this year’s planning, as well as making sure the players are not demeaned by the old name.
“We changed the name this year because the name ‘Powder Puff ’ was degrading to women, and the name now is more politically correct.

Times are changing, so we want to be safe, both physically and mentally so people don’t get offended or hurt,” said Ms. Brush.

For senior and player Sarina McCollum, the Lady Vikes flag football game was a way to have fun with friends by either participating directly or just coming to support.

“I’m involved because it’s a really fun experience to do with friends that allows for some friendly competition. It’s been a yearly tradition for a long time so I’m glad I was able to be a part of it this year,” McCollum said.

The money raised from this game is set to support the Class of 2023. So, in attending this game, the fan section not only supported the new, more inclusive cause of the Lady Vikes, but the class project fund as well.
But changing the name hasn’t solved everything  Senior and cheerleader Brendan Ridgeway signed up for last year’s flag football game, because traditionally, the cheerleaders swap with the football players and play.

In signing up, Ridgeway was not allowed to play as a male flag football player. His experience last year has led him to question why the game has to be exclusive to gender.

“I think the school, and society as a whole, has gender roles that are forced upon young people. Even th elementary schoolers I coach were like, ‘You are a cheerleader? But you are a boy.

I had to explain to them that you don’t have to be a specific gender to do anything, you should do something because you’re passionate and excited about it.

It is a societal issue at its root, but the school can do things
to change it and progress,” Ridgeway said.