Sexism? Changing homecoming to a Girls’ Volleyball match sparked local controversy

Jon Rabbany, Staff Writer

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Traditions are what join together the legacy of the past with the relevance of today. Since 1929, Great Neck North High School has designated one home football game in the late fall as Homecoming, inviting alumni to return in a celebration of the boys football team’s hard work and effort.

This tradition is one of the most anticipated days of the school year, and undoubtedly carries a hefty significance with both players and students. However, with the disbanding of Great Neck North Blazers football team and the subsequent formation of the Great Neck United with the former Great Neck South Rebels, the state of the Homecoming game was in jeopardy.
An executive decision was made to hold Homecoming at a girls volleyball game, inciting backlash amongst the community. The foremost complaint revolved around how the atmosphere of tradition was violated; for the first time in nearly 80 years, a significant change had occurred.

The game, which was always held outside and in the afternoon, was transported to an inside location at the early time of 10 A.M. Nevertheless, some suspected sexism to be the root of the backlash, accusing the student base of refusing to support a female-led team. The dispute peaked on Facebook, with several back-and-forth exchanges between football players, volleyball players and spectators. There was understandable criticism of why the football team, historically known for their Cleveland Browns-level of ineptitude, deserved to hold Homecoming year after year while the undefeated, playoff-bound volleyball team remained overlooked along with other successful sports.

At its core, Homecoming was intended to bring students within the school as well as former students together through the attendance of an entertaining athletic event. The volleyball game served that purpose, and with a victory for a change, yet the disruption of decades-old tradition is still fair cause for concern.

Outrage would have occurred regardless, yet, the outrage was amplified due to it being a female sport. Homecoming and football were a ubiquitous combination, and people are resistant to any type of change.

On the other hand, there are people who believe that the girls’ teams are not as official or important as the boys’ teams, leading to this dissatisfaction – especially for sports such as volleyball where there are both boys’ and girls’ teams, the unfortunate perception is that the boys’ team is more important and counts more. Girls’ sports have been brushed off as lesser. However, their accomplishments bring just as much glory to the school as boys’ athletics, and students should be rooting for all teams to do well, regardless of gender or sport.

Beyond Homecoming, tensions have been brewing in the school as a result of perceived sexism in other athletic events.
Any sense of ‘sexism’ that has occurred was not intentional with the explicit desire to degrade and dehumanize the female gender. Rather, these are natural tendencies that have developed through years of exposure to society’s rules, such as the subconscious belief that male athletics is more important than female athletics.

Even taking that into account, sexism was still displayed, which can make the female population of North feel uncomfortable and overlooked.

All in all, Great Neck North High School represents equal parts feminist and ‘meninist’ views. While ill-mannered views on the role of women have been displayed by those who feel strongest against the temporary conversion of Homecoming to a girls’ volleyball game, the tide of insurgents who countered their beliefs made their voices heard as well.

The larger issue is the subconscious beliefs that naturally lead people to lean one way, as discrimination is still occurring despite there being no conscious effort made to discriminate against a particular group.

Some people who claimed to be against Homecoming for the “indoor game” and “early start time” may have harbored resentment for girls’ athletics deep down, even if they themselves do not believe so.

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The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School
Sexism? Changing homecoming to a Girls’ Volleyball match sparked local controversy