Cheerleaders are perhaps the only athletes who have to fight negative stereotypes while fighting to be the best they can be. Things seem to be getting better for some cheerleaders at least. Forty one percent of cheerleaders say their family and friends are very supportive of their sport, and cheerleading has been declared an official sport in some states, with more likely to follow. Still, there’s a ways to go before cheerleaders can participate in their sport and follow their passion without these nagging misconceptions. Some people make the false assumptions that cheerleading is easy, cheerleaders aren’t athletes, cheerleaders are popular “mean girls, ” or that cheerleaders are ditzy as the movies often portray them. We’ve explained why these myths aren’t true and suggested some ways to respond to these common cheer insults. But, while knowing the facts and being able to talk about them with people who don’t understand our sport may help the issue, it won’t change negative perceptions altogether. So how do you change these negative perceptions? Just be you! Really. Every negative misconception about cheerleading we’ve ever encountered is completely untrue. Cheerleaders are athletic, kind, intelligent, competitive, and supportive. They are leaders in their schools and communities. They do a lot to raise support for their school and its sports teams. They make a difference in their schools and communities by reaching out, supporting important causes, and volunteering. If cheerleaders just keep on doing what they’re doing, more and more people will catch on to the fact that cheerleaders are skilled and well-rounded athletes, students, and people. Maybe Hollywood will even figure it out and start making more realistic cheerleading movies! In the meantime, the best thing to do is spend your time with people who support and encourage you. There’s no need to go out and shout the truth at people who look down on cheerleading. You’re too busy doing what you love and enjoying your time with the people who love you for it! In other words, haters gonna hate, so just shake it off! Do you still encounter negative perceptions about cheerleaders? What do you think is the best way to react?