Archive for September, 2009

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What’s in a Name? Powderpuff vs. Girls Flag Football

September 8, 2009

Our last post about an Iowa girl wanting to play flag football, but initially wasn’t allowed, drew up some core issues. Incase you missed it, a 4- year old Iowa girl’s father attempted to enroll her in the Mason City Park and Recreation Department’s Tiny Tot Flag Football program, but was denied because the Director said this program was for boys only.
After the girls father’s relentless fight, including contacting the city’s Human Rights Director, she was allowed to participate in this season’s program. Following the first news story the Director of the Mason City Park and Recreation Department told a local news paper this:

The question of allowing girls to play flag football came up at least once before, Brown said. “A few years ago, we had a little older girl that wanted to play and we let her play.”
He said the Recreation Department is considering offering a Powder Puff program — flag football for girls.

The gaining popularity of girls flag football nationally has brought up a good question:

Is the name “Powderpuff” derogatory?
WIkipedia describes powderpuff- “Some female participants of a sport deem the term “powder puff” as derogatory since the name connoted frivolity of the division, that it is at best an auxiliary and should not be taken seriously.”

In Bicycle Motocross (BMX) the term powder puff referred to the female class of racers up until approximately 1982 when pressure from the girls class influenced the sport’s sanctioning bodies to drop the term. As this quote from one of the sport’s leading magazine illustrates:
“…We don’t say “powderpuff” anymore because it has male Chauvinist pig connotations. And we sure don’t want to get all them moon babes mad at us.”[1] —-Bicycle Motocross Action September 1981.

-Wikipedia

In last years’ IWFFA Forward Pass featured a story about The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The recreation department’s Women’s flag football program named “powderpuff” but some students and professors, demanded change.
Donna M. Bickford, Ph.D., Director of Carolina Women’s Center Program Advisory Council was alarmed when she
became aware of the program’s name. “Surely the players are strong and committed athletes. Referring to their intramural sport as ‘powderpuff ’ however, would lead to the opposite conclusion.” said Bickford in her letter addressed to the Director of the Carolina Campus Recreation Program.

A short time later, UNC at Chapel Hill re-named the program to “Women’s Flag Football”

We will feature an in-depth article on this subject in the Summer Forward Pass

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4-Year Old Iowa Girl is Granted the Right to Play

September 7, 2009

MASON CITY — A 4-year-old Mason City girl will play flag football after all.

Sabrina Holland’s father, Ronnie, was told only boys could play flag football when he attempted to sign her up last week for the Mason City Park and Recreation Department’s Tiny Tot Flag Football program.

“They told me she could play soccer,” Holland said. “But that’s not what she wants to do. She wants to play flag football. I don’t think it’s fair.”

On Thursday, Mason City Human Rights Director Lionel Foster told a meeting of the Human Rights Commission that Sabrina has been granted permission to play by Mason City Recreation Director Dan Brown.

“My recommendation was to let her play,” Brown said. “She would still have to pay the regular fee, but would not have to pay the late fee.”

Holland said he was happy at the news.

“That was my goal, to get my daughter to play,” he said. “Hopefully this will bring it to light so that this won’t happen to another family.”

The question of allowing girls to play flag football came up at least once before, Brown said. “A few years ago, we had a little older girl that wanted to play and we let her play.”

He said the Recreation Department is considering offering a Powder Puff program — flag football for girls.

Link to full story