Is Pro Cheerleading the Worst or Best Job? The Debate Continues

by omni

In the aftermath of the major news that the Raiders cheerleaders were suing the Raiders organization for several concerns regarding salary, CBS news called pro cheerleading “one of America’s worst jobs” and I was in partial agreement (read the full story here). Several current and former Oakland Raiderettes spoke out about their hard work, petty fines, and minimal pay; soon after, other cheerleaders from other teams followed suit (like the former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader who exposed the team’s controversial rulebook). In the wake of the backlash, other NFL cheerleaders are standing up and and calling their job as a pro cheerleader “the best job.” The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks cheerleaders (who cheered on their teams at the Superbowl) said that while their job isn’t easy and isn’t always glamorous, it’s a rewarding and amazing job that very few people get to experience. Reported by Al Jazeera, Sea Gal Geraldine said, “We always talk about it as the best part-time job ever. I’d probably do it for free because of the opportunities it brings. I started off doing it purely for fun, but I realized it gave me an opportunity to have amazing experiences and meet incredible people. As they say, to network is to increase your net worth.” Along with her job as a Seahawks cheerleader, Geraldine is attending school for business management and working for a certified public accountant. Ashley Gehrke, a former Broncos cheerleader (who is now an elementary school principal), calls pro cheerleading a hobby, explaining, “you do it for the love of being on the field and the dance. I was a dancer all my life. It was just a wonderful outlet to be able to dance and do charity events.” NFL cheerleaders have proven themselves as well-rounded, working in a variety of fields and having many different interests. Two Broncos cheerleaders are moms. A Seahawks Sea Gal is an Air Force lieutenant and another is a lawyer. Many pro cheerleaders are in school” “from community college to medical school” “and others work in just about any field you can think of. As individual as these cheerleaders’ interests and careers are, one’s appearance isn’t allowed as much freedom. Many teams’ handbooks include rules that forbid cheerleaders from wearing sweats in public or appearing under dressed (without makeup or with messy hair). Most teams also forbid tattoos or piercings (other than the ears). Many cheerleaders don’t see these rules as extreme. As Kristal-Lynn explains, “because you represent the organization, you have to think of yourself as the whole picture. We are held to a higher standard than any Jane out on the street.” But don’t think the job of a pro cheerleader is only about physical appearances. Kristal-Lynn says, “a lot of people think our job is just skin and sparkles and being showy, but it’s got a lot of heart and soul to it” “the sport, our charity work and what this organization stands for.” The controversy regarding cheerleaders” “especially at the professional level” “isn’t going anywhere, but as long as that means the public will learn more about the real world of cheer, I’m okay with the fight continuing on a little longer. News Source: Al Jazeera

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