Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Cheerleader voices her opinion

In an editorial in response to the recent ruling in New York state that requires cheerleaders at both girls' and boys' sports, this cheerleader states her resentment that the adults are telling her and other cheerleaders what to do.
She does acknowledge that, having seen a girls' basketball game, she agrees that girls' teams should get support too. But she still does not want the powers-that-be telling her where, when and for whom to cheer.
It seems a fairly typical teenage response to authority. But additionally I think the writer fails to see what her role really entails. Why I have always had a problem truly considering cheerleading a sport--despite the obvious athleticism involved--is because its purpose is to support another activity. Cheerleaders are basically service workers of a sort--without pay of course. They support athletes.
This aspect of their activity, I think, is part of the cheerleaders' discontent over the ruling; it highlights their service role. Usually we think of cheerleaders as popular, pretty, talented. There exists the myth that cheerleading not only is a choice--but it's an attractive one at that. But when administrators start telling cheerleaders they must cheer for other girls, some of the illusion goes away. The activity becomes more job-like and the agency--indeed the privilege--involved in being a cheerleader begins to dissipate.

1 comment:

ken said...

Thanks for playing devil's advocate, Kevin. I do respect her opinion that what she does is a sport. I do not believe she has the power or the right, however, to say "I want to cheer for this group only."
As for it being anti-feminist to not support cheerleading, I would disagree. It's a myth that feminists have to support every "choice" every woman makes and it's a myth that I believe has really harmed the thing we call "feminism" in this country.
And finally, regarding curling. When I went to Salt Lake City in 2002, curling was SOLD OUT! :)