Sunday, January 14, 2007

"It feels funny when we do it"--oh, please

Ann Bartow has a post about cheerleading at Feminist Law Professors that both intrigues and upsets me. Bartow reports that more than half of the thirty cheerleading girls at Whitney Point High School in upstate New York dropped out of the squad when they learned they would have to cheer for the girls' basketball team as well as the boys' team, as part of compliance with new Title IX regulations.

..."Hands Up You Guys" becomes "Hands Up You Girls"--to comply with a new ruling from federal education officials interpreting Title IX, the law intended to guarantee gender equality in student sports.

"It feels funny when we do it," said Amanda Cummings, 15, the cheerleading co-captain, who forgot the name of a female basketball player mid-cheer last month.

Why, oh why, should it feel so "funny"? That girls cannot appreciate the fact that other girls are competing for the school does not suprise me in the least--it just deepens my sadness over the state of things. What does surprise me is that the cheerleaders were told to say "you girls," when even even some feminists do not bother with such insignificant details as referring to females as females.

The upshot of the new ruling is that cheerleaders who would have gone to the boys' team's "away" games now stay home if there is a girls' "home" game. This has people angry and they are booing. I am boo-hooing. Has it ever occurred to anyone to just increase the size of the cheerleading squad so that some can stay home and some can go away? I am sure there are all kind of arguments to be made about how the school cannot afford to have more cheerleaders, but I would probably not buy these arguments because I have seen, over and over again, how easy it is for sports teams to get what they want.

Bartow makes the point that the some of the girls on the basketball team are not interested in having cheerleaders at their games, probably because they find the presence of cheerleaders pointless. I personally cannot bear the sight of cheerleaders, and think that she may be onto something. However, cheerleaders are here to stay, and it makes sense--within that context--that the girls' teams receive as much of their support as the boys' teams.

When I was in high school, all of the cheerleaders were girls, but there were also three students who were not called "cheerleaders," but who dressed in the racist costumes of the school's team name and were clearly the big wheels. They, of course, were boys. And boys who are especially good at doing inane things like leading cheers can now do so in college, and the especially inane can go on to seize the presidency of the United States.


Thanks for the link! I agree with you that expanding a cheerleading program would reduce the time demands on each individual cheerleader, and it doesn't seem like it could cost all that much. But I hope you're wrong that cheerleading is here to stay, at least in its current form. For free tickets and the like, and team could have lots of enthisiastic volunteers getting the crowds revved up. Heck, for free or even simply better seats than I currently enjoy, I'd walk around with a "Go Gamecocks!" sign during time outs!

By Blogger Ann Bartow, at 3:42 PM  

Using volunteers to get the crowd to do organized cheering is a good idea, if you ask me.

I sure wish your school would change the name of its team, by the way.

By Blogger Diane, at 5:38 PM  

I sure wish your school would change the name of its team, by the way.

Mot nearly as much as I do, I suspect!
Very weird for the female athletes, having to be Lady Cocks.

By Blogger Ann Bartow, at 7:39 PM  

I didn't even think about that part--that's funny, in an unpleasant way. It's the whole fighting rooster thing I object to.

By Blogger Diane, at 9:07 PM  

Well. They should pay a visit to Louisiana Tech, where the Lady Techsters (not the Bulldogs) had (and probably still have) far more exposure and attendees at their games than the men. Hell yes the cheerleaders cheered for Kim Mulkey and Teresa Witherspoon and other nationally ranked players!

It was rather funny that the lament then was, how to get more attendance at the men's games?

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