Cheerleading started as a male endeavor in 1898, when a University of Minnesota football fan led the crowd in verse in support of their team. It was not until World War II, when men shipped out to war, that women took over. Then cheerleaders came to represent the American ideal of femininity: wholesome apple pie with washboard stomachs, perfect teeth, and flawless complexions. Stereotypes cast them as blond, petite, and impossibly perky. “From its humble beginning cheerleading has blossomed into a competitive athletic activity with a serious image problem” (Forman 52). But today’s post-feminist youth have put a new, diverse face on cheerleading. Cheerleading in America is no longer a matter of waving pom-poms, a cute smile and being overly …show more content…
Title IX was supposed to be legislation that mandated that boys and girls receive equal sporting opportunities. In fact the 1972 legislation was fixed so that boys played sports while girls cheered. Therefore, cheerleading is not considered a sport for equity purposes. Football and basketball players on the college and high school level receive great academic and athletic benefits. Privileges include tutoring, parking passes, the use of laptop computers, and unlimited access to athletic facilities, while cheerleaders receive few if any of these benefits. Cheerleaders are left to raise funds on their own for practice equipment, uniform, and routine choreographers. “In a day and age when cheerleaders are leaders in their community, role models in school, and must maintain the highest GPA out of any other activity it is ridiculous for all states not to classify them as a sport. Jaw-dropping stunts, whip-backs, and thirty-foot- high basket tosses help cheerleading earn their acclaim and steady ratings” (Rondon 97). Yes, just like any other sport, cheerleading competitions are broadcasted on ESPN. Substantiation of the popularity of cheerleading is because it is featured on one of the largest sports broadcasting networks in the world. “On ESPN, cheerleading competitions draw an average audience of 455,000 homes, comparable to the National Hockey League” (Ebersole “Thrills and Spills”). “Cheerleading on ESPN earns steady ratings (a .5 versus a .3 for Major .
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