Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

Short Skirts and Breast Juts: Cheerleading, Eroticism and Schools by Pamela J. Bettis and Natalie Guice Adams

1 Comment

The reading assignment talks about how cheerleading should be about confidence, not sex. It also focuses on how cheerleading celebrate female sexuality in an environment (school) where female sexuality is discouraged. Female sexuality in cheerleading even seems to be encouraged in schools. Another subject discussed is how the sport is a contradiction in that it represents the erotic and the wholesome.

But, why does it have to represent anything? Why can’t it just be a fun activity? Why does every mainly female activity have to be looked at from the point of view of, “What do men think of this?” Why must it be judged? Cheerleading is fun and empowering to women, so of course it must be picked apart and questioned. (Note: sarcasm.) There is something frightening about society’s perception of cheerleaders. They make it sound as if cheerleaders exist only to cheer on men, not people, but men and to entice these men. It’s like they’re ignoring the fact that cheerleaders enjoy the sport. It’s degrading to assume these women do what they like just for the pleasure of men. Although, the high school quotes seem to suggest that. That just means that there’s not something necessarily wrong with cheerleading, but the perception of cheerleading. It’s a great work-out, helps you make friends, and helps you feel good about yourself. These are the positives that should be stressed in regards to cheerleading, not that men find it attractive.

When the writers listed a quote implying that girls in skimpy clothing couldn’t be “wholesome” or “good” it was a prime example of offensive slut shaming. I think cheerleading teams should be able to vote on their uniforms and how short they are that way the girls are more comfortable. It’ll also seem less like the school administration’s creepy way of forcing these girls to wear traditionally sexual outfits.

I found it interesting that cheerleading was once a male dominated sport. In this day and age cheerleading is a major symbol of femininity. Cheerleading is about as “girly” as one can get in the public eye. Since cheerleading is now female dominated it is considered easier than other sports and a great deal of people don’t even consider it a sport. If it was still male dominated there isn’t a doubt in my mind that people would call it a sport.

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One thought on “Short Skirts and Breast Juts: Cheerleading, Eroticism and Schools by Pamela J. Bettis and Natalie Guice Adams

  1. Excellent points you make about the sport and its implications for girls, women, sexuality, and the double bind it places upon them.

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