Is Cheerleading Outdated?

by omni

Ever since the birth of cheerleading, participants have been predominantly female. Although there has been a significant rise in male cheerleaders over the years, the traditional view of the sport still remains constant‚ cheerleading means women on the sidelines cheering for men. When it comes to women’s sports, we just don’t see men lining up to cheer, which begs the question: is cheerleading outdated? A lot of high school cheer squads take the gender roles even further. For instance, cheerleaders are often encouraged to make “buddy bags’ (food packages) for members on football or basketball teams with one healthy snack, an unhealthy snack and some sort of sports drink. This service is meant to be a way for cheerleaders to show their appreciation for the players they cheer for and to get to know them, but it can be portrayed as a gender stereotype: women providing a meal for men. However, schools do not require this to happen, so it seems cheerleaders are doing this because they want to, not because they have to. Does that still make it okay? Even though gender roles can be seen in the sport, more and more research is saying otherwise. A recent study published from University of East Anglia suggests that cheerleading could help challenge gender roles since it encourages both boys and girls to work together towards common goals. Since both sexes are on one team, social stigmas are lowered and everyone is treated equal. Plus, cheerleading has evolved to be more physically demanding than ever! The era of women merely waving pom-poms on the sidelines is over: we are now living in a time of complicated cheer routines, requiring a lot of skilled athleticism. Whether or not cheerleading promotes traditional or modern roles for women, the sport continues to grow stronger every day. There are many issues that exist in sports concerning gender equality, and not a lot can be changed overnight. What we can do in the meantime is encourage unity and respect between cheerleaders everywhere‚ regardless of gender orientation. Where do you stand on the debate? In what other ways is cheerleading either breaking or upholding gender stereotypes? We want to hear your thoughts.

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