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Cheerleading reflects a sexist culture

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Give me an M!  Give me an I!  Give me an S-O-G-Y-N-Y!  What does it spell?  Misogyny!  While cheerleading has become an integral part of our culture, I believe that cheerleading reflects the deep sexism within our society and is both degrading and demeaning for women all over America.

We have all seen them.  On Sunday evenings, sitting in our houses, watching the football game with our families, we all get to see the cheerleaders.  Their wardrobe (if you can call it that) consists of a push-up bra that shows more than it conceals and little panties that show off…everything.  I could accept that cheerleaders dressed in this obscene way if I believed that they did so as an expression of their individuality, or because they really liked how they looked.  But of course we all know cheerleaders choose such clothes so they can appeal to men.

Cheerleading began in 1898 when a student, Johnny Campbell, decided to cheer loudly for his losing football team at the University of Minnesota.  The idea of team spirit and showing support is a necessary aspect of sports.  And the sport of cheerleading certainly requires athleticism and talent, with legitimate competitions that require participants to learn complex choreographed routines and gymnastics skills.  But somehow, cheerleading has strayed from its innocent roots and has grown into a commercialized industry that takes advantage of women and girls.  On the sidelines of the Patriots’ playing field, when men who are bored of the game ogle at the cheerleaders, it becomes a whole other ball game.  There are many intelligent cheerleaders who have advanced degrees and are successful in their careers, but once they start to dance on the sidelines, all the male audience sees is their big breasts — not their big brains.

Our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said, “Glass ceilings were made to be broken.”  Women have endured centuries of inequality and bigotry because of their gender.  We have been denied the right to vote in the past, and even now women are paid less for doing the same type of work as their male coworkers.  The glass ceiling, created by men, confines women to the sidelines and prevents them from reaching their full potential and doing all they could for the world.  Although we are able to see beyond the glass ceiling, we are never able to reach past it.  We try to make cracks in it, through heroic acts like running for president, but we always seem to be pushed back.  How are we supposed to make that final push and shatter the glass ceiling if we are jumping around on the sidelines in a bra and panties for big, sweaty men to leer at us?  How can we move forward as long as our sisters are cheering for the men playing sports?   Cheerleading is a way of telling men that we are going to let them stay on top.  Let’s put on some real clothes and take the field.

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4 Responses to “Cheerleading reflects a sexist culture”

  1. hawkcat on September 8th, 2014 10:30 pm

    nobody forces cheerleaders to be cheerleaders.

  2. K. Baxter on March 31st, 2016 7:04 pm

    Thank you for your thoughts on this subject. My six year old daughter asked me if she could be a cheerleader. I had to check my visceral internal reaction to her innocent query. The first words that came to mind were, “H…e…double toothpicks, no!” In order to give her an age appropriate response, I needed to do a bit of research and that is how I found your article. I finally settled on the following response: Cheerleaders stand on the sidelines in skimpy clothes and cheer for boys (or men). I don’t want you to think all that matters is you look pretty and cheer for males whose activity is considered to be of real importance, while your presence is considered less important. I want you to grow up and be the boss, not someone who is there for the sole purpose of telling the boss how great he is. Yes, you may cheer; however, I want you to cheer for yourself.

  3. human on March 12th, 2017 5:01 pm

    Finally someone isn’t a pervert online!

  4. Jcheerleader on April 20th, 2017 11:25 am

    This is clearly written by someone who has no experience being a cheerleader or contact with anyone who is a cheerleader. They don’t wear those outfits so they can appeal to men, they wear the outfit because that is what the sport demands of them. Most women fans care way more about the cheerleaders at a professional sport than the men fans do, so to assume they are sex objects for men to ogle at seems a little short thinking.

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Cheerleading reflects a sexist culture