EDITORIAL: Student Section Sexism

The PLHS student section lacks female leadership.


On any given Friday night, our bleachers are packed at the stadium or in the gym. The student section is roaring with flags waving, hands clapping and chants echoing, with female students following along.

The tradition of having designated student section leaders is one that has been present for well over a decade now. At the end of each year, the seniors in these positions choose a few juniors to take over their roles, passing down their flags sporting the school logo and a pair of striped overalls.

In all the years of having student section leaders, with an average of three per year, not one student has been female.

As gender equality advances in society, the student section of PLHS has made slower, nearly undetectable, strides. As the school year comes closer to its end and the seniors prepare to pass down their positions, the question still stands: will a female student ever fill the role of student section leader? 

While the leadership of the section being strictly male might easily be written off as a “tradition,” it is hard for onlookers not to notice the lack of gender diversity in the seating arrangement of the bleachers. Large colleges, such as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, have females in the front of their student sections, yet our student population of fewer than 2,000 students has managed to prevent this. 

Although there has not been a clearly defined “seating assignment” with ropes and markings in the stands, the front row is noticeably occupied only by male students. Some students in the section have even witnessed girls being told to move back a row to allow space for more boys, some of whom arrived later than the girls moving.  

Another longtime tradition of most schools, with PLHS as no exception, has been to arrange the student section in order of grades, with seniors in the front and freshmen in the back. Although at many recent games, senior girls (who paid their dues as underclassmen in the back) are being pushed back in the stands to allow room for junior, even sophomore, boys. This tradition of “grade order” is being broken to grant more seating rights to males and less to females.  

This simply adds to the lack of leadership that female students possess in the student section. With less representation vocally, and positionally in the stands, many girls have lost the opportunity to engage and lead as viewers in sporting events. 

While sexism has largely been eliminated on the fields and courts themselves, thanks to Title IX, the bleachers remain largely unchanged. With more female leadership in the stands, the section would present a more unified and inclusive front in its support of school sporting events. As positions of leadership are passed down, we should strive to have more gender diversity in the stands in the seasons to come.