Tackling Gender Norms


Allison Cahill and Erin Truex (Boston Renegades) after winning WFA national championship against Minnesota Vixens in Canton, Ohio in 2021

Annelise Latham, Copy Editor

It’s common knowledge that football is a male-dominated sport, but the percentage of female American football players grows every season. 

As we acknowledge the shift in gender division in American football, the time for female football teams in high schools may be quickly approaching. As female students playing high school football becomes more and more common, the idea of female tackle football teams in high schools becomes more and more plausible. Additionally, since there is already a professional female tackle football league, the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA), this would not be unheard-of.

The WFA was created in 2009 and now consists of “60 teams and 2,100 players and has created opportunities for women to compete and learn the game at the highest level.” [wfaprofootball.com

In addition to the WFA, there are all-girls football teams in Ottawa and Cambridge at St. Mark’s High School and St. Benedict Secondary School, who played Canada’s first-ever all-girls tackle football game on May 18. 

While there is the option in most high schools for girls to partake in a Powder Puff game, in which female students play two-hand touch football, these games are simply a fun competition between grade levels within a single school with a sketchy history.

The concept of a Powder Puff game started in “the 1940s when women began filling in to play football games while men were gone fighting World War II. ” [buenaspeaks.org]

Powder Puff also highlights the idea that it’s been historically accepted that women aren’t as tough and can’t be as physical as men and that any attempt at it is frivolous. This is clear due to the fact that a substantial lack of effort is put into preparing girls for this game as opposed to the typical football team. While it is clearly true that regular tackle football in high schools is a bigger organization that is more recognized, allowing more than a handful of practices could be beneficial in many ways.

For one, it would allow girls to fully understand the rules and learn plays. It would also allow for a better quality of gameplay.

Unfortunately, as progressive and ideal as a female football team sounds, there could be a concern that people would take these teams seriously, as girls playing football is not the societal norm. 

Since football has always been male-dominated, an all-female football team may be both expensive and cause controversy, but the rewards may outweigh the risks. Having a girls’ football team would encourage the expansion of gender equality in sports and in careers in general. 

The Voyager reached out to H-F’s Athletic Department but did not receive a timely response.