Why Battle of the Sexes should never have made a comeback at AHS
Battle of the Sexes was revived this year at American High School and took place during the week of April 28 to May 2. The week had been abolished last school year due to complaints from some students and staff, but the week has made a comeback.
The reason for the disappearance of Battle of the Sexes last year was that students, specifically those who do not identify with one gender or another or do not fit into typical gender norms, complained about the week being inconclusive and insulting to them. So then, why has the week come back?
Battle of the Sexes is meant to be a week of fun for students, to have girls and boys compete against each other through dress up days, lunch time activities, and a rally at the end of the week. However, as fun as it may be, the activities are still based off of pure gender stereotyping which can then lead to students being upset.
Gender stereotyping in Battle of the Sexes week is mostly seen through the themed costume days, where boys are supposed to wear something stereotypically masculine and girls wear something stereotypically feminine. For example, one of the dress up days this week was flannel vs. floral, where boys were supposed to adorn their favorite flannel clothing, and girls their favorite floral patterns.
While the week has good intentions the days still leave some students feeling insulted. Say for example there is a girl who always wears flannel, does that mean she is automatically more masculine than other girls? No, however the dress up days would suggest that, as flannel is associated with males.
There are ways to participate without being insensitive, however, like how the school does during spirit week. Instead of making two different outfits for males and females, make one overall theme, such as 80’s day, and then judge how many boys and girls dress with the theme. This eliminates the stereotyping and could allow the week of competitive dress up to be interactive for students and staff
However, the solution isn’t as easy for other students who don’t identify as male or female, or transgendered students who find the week as offensive. Granted, this year the school did try to improve on things for students by getting rid of the “cross dress” day from the list of dress up days as this had the most complaints, however this is not enough. The entire week separated those students from the rest of those who participated.
Battle of the Sexes is meant to be no more than an enjoyable week, but there are other ways to bring a little extra fun to the school; a way that doesn’t over stereotype gender norms and can be more considerate of all students.