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Cheerleading, Pictures, and Control
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DSquared
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:38 pm    Post subject: Cheerleading, Pictures, and Control Reply with quote

Recently in Winnipeg, there has been a controversy over pictures of a cheerleader for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers that made their way onto the internet. It got me thinking. First off, women take "racy" pictures all the time, have been for a long time, but I guess with the internet there's greater possibility for those to get out in unintended situations.

Supposedly, cheerleaders are "role models" and they should watch their behaviours at all times. Are they really? I also find it interesting that "racy" pictures are "inappropriate." Gee, why do you think they have (mostly) female cheerleaders at sporting events anyways? Is it simply a matter of wanting to control these women?
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'lance
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know, the same people who will tell you that cheerleaders, and other pro athletes, should be "role models" (really? isn't it all just show business?), are probably the same or at least think the same as those who, back in 1984 or thereabouts, were outraged that Vanessa Williams of "Miss America" fame had posed for nude photos.

They demanded, successfully, that she be (sorry) stripped of the title -- overlooking the fact that Penthouse isn't all that different to the Miss America pageant, when you get right down to it. A caustic commentator of the time remarked that the pageant was in the business of "pimping virginity," which is nastily put but seems accurate enough.

Maybe there is nothing new under the sun, after all. You could make a case that this Blue Bombers thing, like the Miss America thing back then and countless episodes since (2004 Super Bowl, e.g.) is just a matter of someone's wanting to control the brand, or their idea of what it should be.
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Raos
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know there could be a poster on this board who's a cheerleader.
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Chester
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raos wrote:
You know there could be a poster on this board who's a cheerleader.


And i'm damned miffed about the direction of this thread too!
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gunnar gunnarson
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Raos
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Such a grand movie.
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Tehanu
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The death of cheerleading? Not in the USA, but apparently up hereabouts. This article seems to feel it's a bad thing.

Oh, and let's blame multiculturalism, while we're at it.

Quote:
... By last count, less than a dozen of the 300 public, private and Catholic high schools in Toronto still cling to those familiar teams that once roused crowds and even inspired players.

"Cheerleading at schools in this city has all but disappeared – it's dead," said Chuck Holland, past-president of the Ontario Cheerleading Federation.

"But in the U.S., it's the complete opposite – it's huge, a spectacle, and creates loads of excitement. And now club cheerleading is the big thing," he said.

Of 20,000 registered cheerleaders in Ontario only 3,000 are involved in high school sports."It was a big part of my life and now to hear it's disappearing is sad, very sad," said Debbie Adams, a former captain of the cheerleading team at Toronto's Cardinal Newman High School in the early 1980s.

... High school cheerleading probably reached its peak in the late 1960s and early '70s, as the baby boomers filled schools and the teams were enjoying full houses in gyms and stadiums. Being a cheerleader back then was like being captain of the football team.

"There was something special about it," said Lorna Holland, who coaches the Cardinal Newman team. "If you were on that cheerleading team, it was like you were the most popular person in the school."

... Chuck Holland said there are several factors that have led to cheerleading disappearing on the high school scene.

For one, Toronto's changing multicultural community often perceives cheerleading as fostering a negative stereotype image of a young woman. School administrators don't like the idea of girls parading around in skimpy uniforms.
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Chester
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

""There was something special about it," said Lorna Holland, who coaches the Cardinal Newman team. "If you were on that cheerleading team, it was like you were the most popular person in the school."

well that's important Rolling Eyes
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Hephaestion
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now, don't y'all be dissin' cheerleaders, or Raos will be along ta kick yer butts. Wink
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Chester
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hephaestion wrote:
Now, don't y'all be dissin' cheerleaders, or Raos will be along ta kick yer butts. Wink


that's hawt...and popular Wink
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Tehanu
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hephaestion wrote:
Now, don't y'all be dissin' cheerleaders, or Raos will be along ta kick yer butts. Wink

Is that a new cheerleading move?
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Raos
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm at school now, but rest assured I will be back later to sort you all out on this, you hear?
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Chester
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raos wrote:
I'm at school now, but rest assured I will be back later to sort you all out on this, you hear?


what are ya gonna do? tickle us with yer pom poms? Dig yourself into a hole Gas on the fire HELP! (i can't find a ducking smilie)
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Tehanu
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Target practice I'm outta here
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Tehanu
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

... and a day later, hey, Raos? You promised a rebuttal. I want to see a real smackdown. Razz
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Hephaestion
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tehanu's been baaaad, Raos, and she's wanting you to punish her... Wink Razz Mr. Green

(Or rather, was that wanting to see Chester punished? Are you someone who prefers to watch, T? Wink )
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Tehanu
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depends. Is Raos going to wear a cheerleading uniform while dishing it out?

But I sure wouldn't want to objectify anyone. Wink
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Raos
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
... Chuck Holland said there are several factors that have led to cheerleading disappearing on the high school scene.

For one, Toronto's changing multicultural community often perceives cheerleading as fostering a negative stereotype image of a young woman. School administrators don't like the idea of girls parading around in skimpy uniforms.


That's a load of crap. The article indicates clearly what the problem is.

Quote:
[. . .]And now club cheerleading is the big thing," he said.

Of 20,000 registered cheerleaders in Ontario only 3,000 are involved in high school sports."It was a big part of my life and now to hear it's disappearing is sad, very sad," said Debbie Adams, a former captain of the cheerleading team at Toronto's Cardinal Newman High School in the early 1980s.


It hasn't gone anywhere, if anything it's grown. It's just moved out of schools to a large degree.

And Chester, you watch yourself making fun of quotes by cheerleaders. You can find unfortunate statements coming from any group of people if you search for them, and "journalists" covering cheerleading seem to all have a preternatural mission to contrive a story by any means that either casts the athletes as ditsy airheads or the sport as horrifyingly dangerous and about to cripple and maim or kill everybody's daughters.
And everybody best be on their best behaviours while on the topic of cheerleading, or there will be consequences. Crack the whip
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Chester
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a smack down rant that uses the word "preternatural"? be afraid, be very afraid Wink Wink Cool
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Tehanu
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some high school cheerleaders in Connecticut are complaining that their new uniforms are too skimpy. Good. Although perhaps they may want to forgo cheerleading entirely; at any rate, glad to see them standing up for themselves.

Quote:
... Heidi Medina, a former captain of Central High School’s cheerleading squad, stood before the Bridgeport Board of Education last week, took off her oversized sweats and revealed her revealing cheerleading uniform, the Connecticut Post reports.

"We ask with the utmost respect you (to) do anything in your power to help us," Medina said, according to the Post. "I don't feel comfortable wearing this."

... Nyasia Clemons, a senior, said the uniforms violate league rules that require uniforms, when “standing at attention, apparel must cover the midriff."

... The girls’ complaint comes soon after a study on college cheerleaders was released that determined that women, especially those wearing midriff-bearing uniforms, are at risk of developing eating disorders.


NBC Connecticut via Feministing

(And a nitpick: "revealed her revealing cheerleading uniform" -- NBC should invest in a thesaurus.)
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Raos
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why do you think they should want to forgo cheerleading completely?
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Tehanu
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Because most cheerleading objectifies young women?
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Raos
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does it? Funny nobody told me, that hasn't really been my experience in the 15 years I've been involved in the sport.
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Tehanu
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What's the male:female ratio on most cheerleading teams? What do men wear as uniforms, compared to women? Does personal appearance ever play a part in women being selected for most cheerleading teams? Do we see a lot of cheerleading teams showing up for anything other than male sports teams? Do you suspect that the average straight male sports spectator looks at an all-female cheerleading team and contemplate their athleticism, or does he look at how cute and bouncy and hot they are?

I'm sure there are exceptions. There are exceptions to most things.
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Raos
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tehanu wrote:
What's the male:female ratio on most cheerleading teams?

That signals objectification of girls? Stop the presses, ballet objectifies women. Along with women's basketball, ringette, figure skating, women's rugby, women's hockey, women's soccer...
Tehanu wrote:
What do men wear as uniforms, compared to women?

Usually pants or shorts and a shirt. Compared to a skirt and a shirt. Here in Alberta (along with apparently Conneticut, though the enforcement there doesn't appear to go very far) for school teams we don't allow uniforms that bare the stomach, so other than the pants there's usually very little difference in how much uniforms show. I'm not going to argue that there's not problems in this area, but I also doubt it's quite what you imagine.
Tehanu wrote:

Does personal appearance ever play a part in women being selected for most cheerleading teams?

HAH! Ever? So much for "most" cheerleading objectifying women. On the vast majority of competitive teams? Absolute not, it doesn't ever play a part.
Tehanu wrote:
Do we see a lot of cheerleading teams showing up for anything other than male sports teams?

I see quite a ton of cheerleading teams showing up for...cheerleading competitions.[/quote]
Tehanu wrote:
Do you suspect that the average straight male sports spectator looks at an all-female cheerleading team and contemplate their athleticism, or does he look at how cute and bouncy and hot they are?

At a cheerleading competition, which would be the place most all-female cheerleading teams are found, I'd say definitely the athleticism. That's certainly what the competitive judges are looking for. If a cheer team performs at another teams' events, who knows, I'm sure you'd get a mix of both with the ratio depending on the quality of the team and crowd in question. I'm not sure how cheerleading itself would be to blame for the creepers in question responsible for the objectification, though. I know a number of friends (both male and female) whose only interesting in occasionally watching swimming and diving (both male and female) is the display of scantily-clad toned bodies. Does that devalue participation in those sports?

Absolutely, there are exceptions (there indeed being exceptions to most things) but the vast majority of cheerleading that I've ever been exposed to is about athleticism and skill.
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TS.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's look at the most socially pervasive representations of cheerleading:
NFL football games and high schools. Every NFL broadcast that I have ever seen spends at least some time zoomed in very close on the upper bodies of cheerleaders, not one of whom has ever been male. The most "celebrated" NFL cheerleaders are the Dallas Cowboy's cheerleaders, and every bit of coverage I have ever seen of them has been decidedly exploitative and focused on the sexuality of the cheerleaders.

High school cheerleading is sadly the same, a focus on the pubescent fantasies of high school boys. The uniforms worn by female cheerleaders don't go any way to alleviate the problem, with extremely short skirts and tight tops.

As for the points raised by Tehanu about the male:female ratio, it doesn't signal objectification in isolation, but in the context of other considerations, such as the uniform (and in Ontario we have no such regulation of the uniform), it does signal a problem.

Also, you really dodged Tehanu's point on the last issue. The social context for most cheerleading is men's sporting events, especially in high school.
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Rufus Polson
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheerleading seems to be a kind of schizophrenic thing. It's like there are two different branches with two different functions; one kind of evolved out of the other, or something.

The classic view of cheerleading is about leading spectators at a sporting event in cheering for a team competing at it. This activity has always been mainly female, has always been sexualized, and has usually been in support of guys' sports simply because in our society guys' sports has traditionally been the kind that got most of the support of all kinds.

But as the tradition of doing this grew it seems to have become more and more competitive, and the orientation of the competition has moved in particular directions and become increasingly formalized as a heavily gymnastic display. The highly competitive branch of cheerleading has become almost a completely different species--much more about gymnastic prowess than sex, and focussed so strongly on competition with other cheerleading squads that any notion of cheering for anyone has become pretty much vestigial. It requires dedication, heavy practise, and a great deal of strength and fitness. It's a mixed sport--men tend to be in the lower spots in the pyramids and such. It should practically have a different name from the basic activity of cheering for sports teams.
A stepdaughter of mine was involved for a year or two, and it was not at all what I'd been envisioning. That said, I'm glad she got out because as near as I can make out it really is dangerous. There were a number of injuries on the squad through the year, a couple of them quite serious (smashed nose, back injured so badly as to have major permanent effects), and watching the kids get thrown high in the air from the top of their human pyramid things and then (hopefully) caught at the last moment gave me the willies. Someone could seriously break their bleedin' neck if one of the catchers got jostled or distracted at the wrong moment. My wife saw a university squad performing and they were doing tosses so high the girls were nearly getting to the high ceiling of the gymnasium--utterly impressive, but they nearly flubbed one catch; girl's head was less than 6" from the floor.

So yeah. IMO there are two vastly different things called cheerleading. There is less formalized shaking-the-booty stuff, which still exists and is a sexist, objectifying-women kind of thing.
Then there is the competitive kind, which generally ignores the other stuff because it is in a very literal sense not in their league (i.e. people doing it don't belong to their sports associations). This is basically a demanding sport which, like figure skating, has an artistic side to it. It's not particularly sexist, but sorry I do think it's freaking dangerous. Dunno if it's more dangerous than, say, American Football; you wouldn't catch me doing either one.
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bshmr
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
This activity has always been mainly female, has always been sexualized, and has usually been in support of guys' sports simply because in our society guys' sports has traditionally been the kind that got most of the support of all kinds.

This lacks sufficient documentation and appears to be the author's unsubstantiated opinion. Granted it may be the author's personal experience, limited to a specific culture which could well be local or faddish.
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TS.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bshmr wrote:
Quote:
This activity has always been mainly female, has always been sexualized, and has usually been in support of guys' sports simply because in our society guys' sports has traditionally been the kind that got most of the support of all kinds.

This lacks sufficient documentation and appears to be the author's unsubstantiated opinion. Granted it may be the author's personal experience, limited to a specific culture which could well be local or faddish.

Not sure if you are joking or not, but if not, seriously? The social context of cheerleading (of the first type described by Rufus) has always been exactly as described. Just watch any movie or TV show relating to high school, high school sports or football.
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Timebandit
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheerleading has a component of female objectification in it. In other news, water is wet.

I mean, come on, pageant moms make the same kinds of arguments about putting their 5 year olds in spangles and spackle - I'm not buying that that isn't objectification, either.

So does figure skating, so does ballet, so do gymnastics - and they all promote body image issues in the young women who participate in them. This is why my daughters are in martial arts instead.

Personally, I don't get cheerleading as a sport. Why not just do gymnastics? But then, I don't get figure skating or curling either.
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TS.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Figure skating is considered to have an artistic component in it. It isn't solely about athleticism. At least that's how I think of it.
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Raos
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TS. wrote:
Let's look at the most socially pervasive representations of cheerleading:
NFL football games [. . .]. Every NFL broadcast that I have ever seen spends at least some time zoomed in very close on the upper bodies of cheerleaders, not one of whom has ever been male. The most "celebrated" NFL cheerleaders are the Dallas Cowboy's cheerleaders, and every bit of coverage I have ever seen of them has been decidedly exploitative and focused on the sexuality of the cheerleaders.


Oh, of course. Do we similarly judge the merit of women's wresting based on sensationalist mud-wrestling events? Or dance programs based on stripper-bars? Since it's all about media coverage determining worth, shall we also start appraising the value of women in politics based on media representation of women in politics?

TS. wrote:
High school cheerleading is sadly the same, a focus on the pubescent fantasies of high school boys. The uniforms worn by female cheerleaders don't go any way to alleviate the problem, with extremely short skirts and tight tops.


Um...or not.

TS. wrote:
Also, you really dodged Tehanu's point on the last issue. The social context for most cheerleading is men's sporting events, especially in high school.


Funnily enough I actually didn't. See, it would only look like I dodged it if the image of cheerleading in your mind was "the" answer to the question. My experience with the sport not matching up with the preconception of it that you're carrying around doesn't make my honest response to the question a "dodge".

The social context for most cheerleading is cheerleading. Cheerleading competitions. Our own competitions. For cheerleaders. Where people come to watch cheerleading.

Rufus Polson wrote:
The classic view of cheerleading is about leading spectators at a sporting event in cheering for a team competing at it. This activity has always been mainly female, has always been sexualized, and has usually been in support of guys' sports simply because in our society guys' sports has traditionally been the kind that got most of the support of all kinds.

But as the tradition of doing this grew it seems to have become more and more competitive, and the orientation of the competition has moved in particular directions and become increasingly formalized as a heavily gymnastic display.

[. . .]


For the most part true, and that is where competitive cheerleading grew out of, but interestingly enough that sort of cheerleading was originally exclusively male. Women only started to be included when acrobatics was getting more widespread, and it wasn't until the war that it became female dominated.

Rufus Polson wrote:
A stepdaughter of mine was involved for a year or two, and it was not at all what I'd been envisioning. That said, I'm glad she got out because as near as I can make out it really is dangerous. There were a number of injuries on the squad through the year, a couple of them quite serious [. . .]

This is basically a demanding sport which, like figure skating, has an artistic side to it. It's not particularly sexist, but sorry I do think it's freaking dangerous. Dunno if it's more dangerous than, say, American Football; you wouldn't catch me doing either one.


It sounds like the coach of that team was rather irresponsible, which is not at all acceptable. A lot of time and effort is dedicated to making the sport as safe as possible, and in most cases has been phenomenally successful. A study based on data from the National Centre for Catastrophic Sports Injuries at the University of North Carolina found 10 high school sports (both genders) had higher rates of catastrophic injury than female cheerleading. Among women's sports, female ice hockey had the highest rates of catastrophic injury with 2.76 per 100k participants, followed by female gymnastics at 1.41, female soccer at 0.4, and then female cheerleading at 0.39. Male football, for the record, came in fourth overall, with a rate of 1.78. The same study using data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission National Electronic Injury Surveillance System put the rate of emergency room visits (#/1k participants) by sport for cheerleading behind soccer (13.68 ), basketball (13.20), and softball (10.72) with cheerleading following next at 7.49, ahead of gymnastics (6.49) and volleyball(5.46).

TS. wrote:
Not sure if you are joking or not, but if not, seriously? The social context of cheerleading (of the first type described by Rufus) has always been exactly as described. Just watch any movie or TV show relating to high school, high school sports or football.


Bullshit. We're seriously going to use teen movies and television as the research focus? Great, how do they fare on representations of queers, band geeks, gamers, or anybody with interests in any of science, technology, drama, student politics, social justice, history...

I'm thinking the record there is not so good in accurately documenting reality.

Timebandit wrote:
Cheerleading has a component of female objectification in it. In other news, water is wet.

[. . .]

So does figure skating, so does ballet, so do gymnastics - and they all promote body image issues in the young women who participate in them. This is why my daughters are in martial arts instead.


And do you suppose that's the issues of wider culture leaking through into all of those activities, or is it a problem specifically with those activities? And if your daughters ever want to participate in those programs, would you let them?

Timebandit wrote:
Personally, I don't get cheerleading as a sport. Why not just do gymnastics? But then, I don't get figure skating or curling either.


A lot of cheerleaders do, or did, gymnastics as well. But gymnastics isn't a team sport, and also doesn't include dance and acrobatics.
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Tehanu
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would it help if I said I was referring to cheerleading for sports teams, versus competitive cheerleading clubs?

And really, why deny that such cheerleading objectifies women, when is to clearly does? Better to address it, no?
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Timebandit
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raos, I would discourage my girls from cheerleading (or any other activity that may involve shaking her ass while in a miniskirt), just as I would gymnastics or ballet. My older daughter was originally interested in ballet, but chose cello lessons instead - she was exposed to cello somewhat accidentally, so that was a relief. Then she discovered kung fu - all the benefits of dance, gymnastics and team sport (we do lion dance and choreographed demo forms and sparring) and none of the negative aspects like unhealthy body type and expectation and the premature sexualization of the female body.

Besides, nobody ever pirouetted her way out of a bad situation.

I see that you are devoted to the sport - but you can't just sweep away the baggage, the cultural context. It's there, it is what it is.

Do I judge women's wrestling on mud-wrestling? No. Wrestling was a legitemate sport prior to mud wrestling even though women have only come to it lately. But dance styles based around stripper poles? Uh, YEAH. There's a really good reason for it.
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Raos
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tehanu wrote:
Would it help if I said I was referring to cheerleading for sports teams, versus competitive cheerleading clubs?


Yes and no. I think there are a lot of problems with sideline cheerleading, and I've never really been much of a fan of it myself, but neither do I think it's inherently degrading or objectifying. And as a rough estimate from what I'm used to, I'd say at least 95-96% of school cheerleading teams ARE competitive cheerleading teams, though some also perform at other athletic events. Club teams unaffiliated with schools? Pretty much 100%. Making the *not referring to competitive teams* exception means you're excepting the vast vast majority of the entire sport.

Tehanu wrote:
And really, why deny that such cheerleading objectifies women, when is to clearly does? Better to address it, no?


Sure, I'm all for addressing what issues there are. But suggesting that the very people trying to improve things "may want to forgo cheerleading entirely" doesn't sound like addressing it to me, it sounds like writing-off the entire sport.

Timebandit wrote:
Raos, I would discourage my girls from cheerleading (or any other activity that may involve shaking her ass while in a miniskirt), just as I would gymnastics or ballet. [. . .]

I think that's a bit unfortunate that you've steered them entirely away from those activities. Ballet and gymnastics and cheerleading have a lot to offer athletes, and each has its own benefits that won't be found elsewhere. And the negative social influences that you're trying to protect them from are widely distributed and pervasive, they're not specific to those activities.

Timebandit wrote:
I see that you are devoted to the sport - but you can't just sweep away the baggage, the cultural context. It's there, it is what it is.


I'm not trying to sweep away any issues, but I am trying to give a fair representation to the sport that I'm very devoted to. The gulf between what comes up in most peoples' minds at the mention of cheerleading and what actually happens in reality in cheerleading is stunningly expansive, moreso than with any other sport. If somebody wants to have a serious discussion about gender and body issues in cheerleading, then great, I'm all for it if we're actually dealing with cheerleading. I'm less enthused with a pile-on hate-fest based on little more than popular misconceptions and mainstream movie stereotypes. To be perfectly blunt, it comes across as being as fair and balanced as a Fox News/Tea Party forum on the merits of socialism.

Timebandit wrote:
Do I judge women's wrestling on mud-wrestling? No. Wrestling was a legitemate sport prior to mud wrestling even though women have only come to it lately. But dance styles based around stripper poles? Uh, YEAH. There's a really good reason for it.


Sorry, no, I wasn't referring to judging dance that involves stripper-poles in isolation, I was talking about maligning all dance on account of strip-clubs alone. Taking NFL teams and saying 'these use the name cheerleading, and they're objectionable, therefore all cheerleading is predominately objectionable' is as ludicrous as saying dance is valueless since strippers are dancers and stripping has X issues, or decrying the entire sport of wrestling because mud wrestling is clearly not about athleticism. Taking the most extreme, sensationalist, and objectionable form and setting it up as the representation of the whole is disingenuous.
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sparqui
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheer leading actually started as a male activity. I recall them being featured in a few B-movies about Ivy-league college football.

Quote:
Princeton graduate Thomas Peebles introduced the idea of organized crowds cheering at football games to the University of Minnesota. However, it was not until 1898 that University of Minnesota student Johnny Campbell directed a crowd in cheering "Rah, Rah, Rah! Ski-u-mah, Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah! Varsity! Varsity! Varsity, Minn-e-So-Tah!”, making Campbell the very first cheerleader and November 2, 1898 the official birth date of organized cheerleading. Soon after, the University of Minnesota organized a "yell leader" squad of 6 male students, who still use Campbell's original cheer[3]. In 1903 the first cheerleading fraternity, Gamma Sigma was founded.[4] Cheerleading started out as an all-male activity, but females began participating in 1923, due to limited availability of female collegiate sports and men being drafted for war. At this time, gymnastics, tumbling, and megaphones were incorporated into popular cheers, and are still used.[4] It is estimated that 97% of cheerleading participants overall are female, but males still make up 50% of cheering squads at the collegiate level.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheerleading[/quote]
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Timebandit
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I think that's a bit unfortunate that you've steered them entirely away from those activities. Ballet and gymnastics and cheerleading have a lot to offer athletes, and each has its own benefits that won't be found elsewhere. And the negative social influences that you're trying to protect them from are widely distributed and pervasive, they're not specific to those activities.


Hm. Well, I don't know that ballet or gymnastics or cheerleading has anything to offer that Chinese Kung Fu doesn't. Have you ever seen wushu competitors? Flexibility, check. Strength, check. Choreographed forms with artistic/aesthetic content. Check. Teamwork. Check.

What am I missing?

What it doesn't have (not picking on cheerleading here, most dance is guilty of this): Miniskirts or other tight or skimpy clothing , sexualized moves, a high prevalence of eating disorder, preferred body type, foot and hip problems later on (ballet)...

What it has in addition: Zen philosophy, history, health and wellness application, focus training, meditation, ethical training, it's something that can be taken up as an older person - so my girls and I do this together, and although I will never be as flexible or achieve quite as high a level of prowess as they may, I was able to begin in my late 30s (and get quite good at it, actually). And you get to play with knives!

From my perspective, martial arts kicks ass literally and figuratively over pretty much all the other possible activities we could go for. The best part is that the girls chose to get involved in kung fu and still control how much involvement they have. I don't think there's anything unfortunate in our choice of kung fu over other activities at all.

Here's some wushu, in case you haven't seen it before:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCtCMc7JUVs

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1565466/damn_good_wushu_fight_dance_2...

And this one because it's so, so cute:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faxW0GcyyDo
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bshmr
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the record, cheer-leading in North America in recent times is sexist and exploitative. Used to be that men, families, and vested bystanders cheered on competitor/participants in games and war. Think 'Friday Night Fights' and the WWE as the historical norm.

Also, used to be, in my lifetime even, that cheerleaders were fully clothed, led cheers (without PAs), and eschewed being entertainment or lust candy. It hasn't been that many years since the 'military academies' argued about allowing non-member females to appear with/as cheerleaders for (all male) cadets.

[ Not that long ago 'bras' could NOT be represented, much less exhibited on mannequins and live models -- in the USA and likely Canada, etc. ]

What is today's norm ain't the way of yesterday and before. It seems to me that NEEDS to be recognized.
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Raos
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Timebandit wrote:
Hm. Well, I don't know that ballet or gymnastics or cheerleading has anything to offer that Chinese Kung Fu doesn't.


I'm honestly not sure what else I can say if that's where you're starting from. That comes across as "my sport is perfect and includes everything, yours has no value that I can't match". IME, anybody offering anything with the pitch "best at everything, full stop" is either being intentionally misleading or is misinformed/misguided.

Timebandit wrote:
What am I missing?


For one thing, flexibility ≠ flexibility ≠ flexibility ≠ flexibility (and strength ≠ strength ≠ ...etc.). Cheerleading develops flexibility, gymnastics develops flexibility differently, I'm sure wushu develops flexibility to a very great (though different) extent, but I would bet on ballet training against any other sport or activity (short of pure dedicated contortionism) for developing extended range of motion. Other sports may have teamwork, but I don't believe any other sport is going to provide the same experience of teamwork, trust, responsibility, and cooperation as cheerleading where a couple dozen people may work together to hoist several others off the ground in an elaborate arrangement, and where you're relying on your teammates to come through not just for a score or a demonstration but your very bodily integrity. Has wushu ever given you the opportunity to fly 30 feet in the air, propelled unassisted by anything other than direct human force, and free-fall the 30 feet back down with nothing but the trust of 3 pairs of waiting arms standing between you and an unfortunate meeting with the ground. And where those issues of trust and responsibility and cooperation and communication are made so concrete, there's the additional ability of making empathy and common understanding equally tangible by taking people and switching which side of those equations they're on and literally getting them to experience the opposing perspective. I have never seen people go through such a rapid about-face regarding compassion for another person's concerns and feelings as I have with acrobatic stunting in cheerleading. Soccer may involve running and races to the ball, that doesn't mean there's nothing you can get from track and field running events that you won't get from playing soccer, and if it came down to a race I'd back a sprinter over an equivalent soccer player with nary a thought.

And let's not even begin to claim that choreographed forms with artistic/aesthetic content are one monolithic binary that is present or not with no value beyond the inclusion of some aspect. That's as ludicrous as claiming that photography is visual art therefore all other forms of visual art are redundant and other nothing of worth that can't be accomplished through photography. That's exceptionally dismissive, and I'd even say completely antithetical to the very notion of artistic content.

Timebandit wrote:
What it doesn't have (not picking on cheerleading here, most dance is guilty of this): Miniskirts or other tight or skimpy clothing , sexualized moves, a high prevalence of eating disorder, preferred body type, foot and hip problems later on (ballet)...


A lot of that is a matter of value judgements. Is there no value in the body itself, is the only valid approach to bodies to hide them away in billowy clothing that obscures what's underneath? Is there often skimpy and inappropriate clothing in cheerleading and dance? Yes. Can inappropriately sexualized moves be included? Yes. But one of the things I love about dance is its ability to sometimes delve very deeply into the fundamental physicality and mechanics of the human body, to a degree that I don't think is possible without exposing and interacting with the body itself on a very intimate level. And regarding sexualized moves, is sex a fundamentally inappropriate and off-limits topic? I don't think so, and I think complete avoidance is as effective in combating the real problems of premature sexualization of youths as abstinence-only sex ed is at combating teen pregnancy and STIs.

Similar deal with body issues and non-conformity to presumed expected body type. Don't try to tell me that just because your athletes wear loose pants that don't display their legs none of them think that their thighs are too fat. You yourself have posted in the thread titled "Designer Vaginas", and I don't believe that those real insecurities about ones personal genitals not living up to some supposed "ideal" necessitates that somebody's vagina be exposed for display to an onlooking crowd for that person to legitimately feel ashamed of their body and genitals in particular. Similarly, not having miniskirts or other tight or skimpy clothing is not a panacea for unhealthy body image. And then there's cultural specifics as well. That little girl is wearing pants in that video, there was a time not that long ago when that would have been considered vulgar and offensive and inappropriately sexual.

So body issues exist, regardless of specific sport, because body issues are culturally endemic. Not exposing parts of oneself that somebody isn't comfortable exposing is certainly one response, and I'm not trying to disparage it, but it's also certainly not the only response. Confronting those issues and still getting out in front of a crowd and receiving positive feedback and encouragement while feeling like your flaws are exposed can be liberating and empowering.

And just to touch on eating disorders and physical problems, I don't think it's quite that clear cut. ~40 seconds into the first clip you posted a link to somebody jumped up, did a kick in a 720, and landed in the splits. Impressive? Yes. Risk free? Hell no. There is not a physical activity in existence that doesn't contribute to the development of potential problems later on. I'd be willing to buy that this or that sport has higher or lower rates of these or those injuries than this or that other sport, but I'd also want some kind of evidence to back it up. And on the eating disorders, I just did a search on pubmed for "cheerleading and diet" and two results came up. One was on the topic of stress fractures, the other was a survey of body image and diet in high school cheerleaders. Take a look at the abstract here.
Quote:
Cheerleading, a staple of American schools, has received little attention in scholarly research. This sport is considered "high risk" for development of eating disorders; therefore, female, high school cheerleaders (n = 156, mean age = 15.43 years) from the southeastern region were surveyed in this preliminary study to determine rates of dieting, body dissatisfaction, and eating problems. [. . .] The cheerleaders did not appear at higher risk for eating problems than adolescent girls in general, but this age group is considered at "high risk" for eating disorders, so those who work with cheerleaders should be aware of warning signs.


Timebandit wrote:
What it has in addition: Zen philosophy, history, health and wellness application, focus training, meditation, ethical training, it's something that can be taken up as an older person [. . .]


Um...really? Seriously, really? Health and wellness applications can't be obtained in cheer or gymnastics or dance? None of those require focus? None can be seen as meditative? Can be used as a vehicle to teach philosophy? Develop ethics? They have age limits restricting them to the young? Really?

Timebandit wrote:
From my perspective, martial arts kicks ass literally and figuratively over pretty much all the other possible activities we could go for.


Which is great for you, I'm not trying to make the argument that anybody shouldn't or can't find fulfilment in martial arts, what I'm trying to be critical of is your outright dismissal that anything else could possibly have anything else to offer. That nothing else has unique value is a pretty fundamentalist position, and to be blunt is in my view a very patronizing position.

bshmr wrote:
For the record, cheer-leading in North America in recent times is sexist and exploitative.


Thanks for playing. It's a real relief that you've settled that for us all, I was getting really tired of having my own perspective and opinion on the matter.

bshmr wrote:
Also, used to be, in my lifetime even, that cheerleaders were fully clothed, led cheers (without PAs), and eschewed being entertainment or lust candy.


Cool, what a coincidence since I remember those times too. When exactly did it change? I only ask, since so far as I've been paying attention I'm still a cheerleading and don't think that anybody's stolen all of my clothes or that I've embraced being nothing more than a dancing monkey or "lust candy".
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Tehanu
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, Raos, I can certainly appreciate that you're passionate about this. It would be nice, though, if you laid off the hyperbole a tad ...

Quote:
I'm less enthused with a pile-on hate-fest based on little more than popular misconceptions and mainstream movie stereotypes. To be perfectly blunt, it comes across as being as fair and balanced as a Fox News/Tea Party forum on the merits of socialism.


Hardly a hate-on and it's too bad you're taking what I'd say is legitimate criticism so defensively. For myself, when I find myself reacting so strongly against people I normally agree with an issue, I try to see if there's something that is striking a nerve, or that is causing me to try and gloss over what they're saying because I'm taking it personally. Which I don't always manage to do, of course.

At any rate, I do maintain that there are very legitimate criticisms around sexism in cheerleading, and supporters who are also keen on feminism and social change should address them.

Sexism exists all over the place. When I look at cheerleading, I see particularly egregious examples of it.

The acid test is always reversal. Could men and women switch costumes? Switch dance moves? What would happen if you went to your club and suggested that you make an effort to be gender-neutral in terms of both clothing and also dance moves? Would that fly?

And when you get into the public image of cheerleading, surely you must agree that it objectifies women to a great extent.
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Timebandit
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm honestly not sure what else I can say if that's where you're starting from. That comes across as "my sport is perfect and includes everything, yours has no value that I can't match". IME, anybody offering anything with the pitch "best at everything, full stop" is either being intentionally misleading or is misinformed/misguided.


No more than your statement that my determination about what activities are most suitable for my kids is "unfortunate". That came off as a wee bitty condescending.

I'll admit, I am a kung fu enthusiast, and that even among martial arts I honestly think traditional Chinese kung fu has the most to offer. To put the comment more in context, however, you listed a number of benefits you've found in cheerleading that I felt were matched by our participation in kung fu.


Quote:
For one thing, flexibility ≠ flexibility ≠ flexibility ≠ flexibility (and strength ≠ strength ≠ ...etc.). Cheerleading develops flexibility, gymnastics develops flexibility differently, I'm sure wushu develops flexibility to a very great (though different) extent, but I would bet on ballet training against any other sport or activity (short of pure dedicated contortionism) for developing extended range of motion. Other sports may have teamwork, but I don't believe any other sport is going to provide the same experience of teamwork, trust, responsibility, and cooperation as cheerleading where a couple dozen people may work together to hoist several others off the ground in an elaborate arrangement, and where you're relying on your teammates to come through not just for a score or a demonstration but your very bodily integrity. Has wushu ever given you the opportunity to fly 30 feet in the air, propelled unassisted by anything other than direct human force, and free-fall the 30 feet back down with nothing but the trust of 3 pairs of waiting arms standing between you and an unfortunate meeting with the ground. And where those issues of trust and responsibility and cooperation and communication are made so concrete, there's the additional ability of making empathy and common understanding equally tangible by taking people and switching which side of those equations they're on and literally getting them to experience the opposing perspective. I have never seen people go through such a rapid about-face regarding compassion for another person's concerns and feelings as I have with acrobatic stunting in cheerleading. Soccer may involve running and races to the ball, that doesn't mean there's nothing you can get from track and field running events that you won't get from playing soccer, and if it came down to a race I'd back a sprinter over an equivalent soccer player with nary a thought.


Hm. Well, you'll have to describe the differences between the splits in gymnastics vs the splits in cheerleading vs the splits in kung fu. I'm inclined to think they have some similarity. I have grave doubts that any ballerina out there can outdo a wushu artist on flexibility. I did a doc on kung fu and traveled to the area around Shaolin Temple. You wouldn't believe some of the stuff I saw. So I'd need some evidence that that's the case before I'd be convinced of the claim that ballet training develops a greater range of motion than wushu training.

Now, I don't actually do wushu myself. I started too late in life. Much like very few ballerinas who start at the ripe old age of 38 don't dance professionally - or even publicly - much. As for being thrown 30 feet in the air, I have no desire to do any such thing. Some of my compatriots, though, do some very stuntworthy lion dancing (some of it at about 20 feet up with a bamboo and silk lion head obscuring your vision) which can, I think, depend as much on teamwork and communication as what you describe. As well as a choreographed weapons form - the spear isn't sharpend to a fine edge, but a jab with it would seriously hurt. So there is a high level of trust between teammates with this, too. It is not peculiar to cheerleading, although I can see why you would value that.

Quote:
And let's not even begin to claim that choreographed forms with artistic/aesthetic content are one monolithic binary that is present or not with no value beyond the inclusion of some aspect. That's as ludicrous as claiming that photography is visual art therefore all other forms of visual art are redundant and other nothing of worth that can't be accomplished through photography. That's exceptionally dismissive, and I'd even say completely antithetical to the very notion of artistic content.


I don't think I implied any such thing.

However, there was mention that cheerleading, ballet and figure skating have an artistic component - I simply pointed out that those disciplines aren't the only ones that do. There's a very strong aesthetic and cultural component to kung fu in general and wushu. That's one of the benefits, IMO.

It's not like I said any of those disciplines were bereft of aethetics or artistry. Although I think figure skating is cheesy. But to each her own tastes. I have friends who love it.

Quote:
A lot of that is a matter of value judgements. Is there no value in the body itself, is the only valid approach to bodies to hide them away in billowy clothing that obscures what's underneath? Is there often skimpy and inappropriate clothing in cheerleading and dance? Yes. Can inappropriately sexualized moves be included? Yes. But one of the things I love about dance is its ability to sometimes delve very deeply into the fundamental physicality and mechanics of the human body, to a degree that I don't think is possible without exposing and interacting with the body itself on a very intimate level. And regarding sexualized moves, is sex a fundamentally inappropriate and off-limits topic? I don't think so, and I think complete avoidance is as effective in combating the real problems of premature sexualization of youths as abstinence-only sex ed is at combating teen pregnancy and STIs.


You're attributing a prudery that does not exist.

I have a friend whose daughter is 11. She's involved in a musical theatre dance/performace group. The full makeup and sexualized poses these kids are expected to strike wouldn't be out of place if they were adults. But they're not. They kids. Is sex a fundamentally inappropriate or off-limits topic with my 10 and 13 yr old? No, of course not. They have been given frank, open information and the conversation continues. But exploring their sexuality through public performance would not, at this point, be appropriate.

Here's the issue with the tight and skimpy stuff, especially for young teens. These girls (because we are largely talking about girls) are just developing their body images and self-worth. If you accentuate that your worth is or should be based on a sexualized body ideal - whether through clothing or body aesthetic (this can refer to moves as well) - you're setting up a pattern where I think more insecurity about body than you need to.

I can also tell you, as somebody who has been an actor and model and has very few insecurities about my physicality, how freeing it is to do something where all that stuff just doesn't fucking matter.

Quote:
Similar deal with body issues and non-conformity to presumed expected body type. Don't try to tell me that just because your athletes wear loose pants that don't display their legs none of them think that their thighs are too fat. You yourself have posted in the thread titled "Designer Vaginas", and I don't believe that those real insecurities about ones personal genitals not living up to some supposed "ideal" necessitates that somebody's vagina be exposed for display to an onlooking crowd for that person to legitimately feel ashamed of their body and genitals in particular. Similarly, not having miniskirts or other tight or skimpy clothing is not a panacea for unhealthy body image. And then there's cultural specifics as well. That little girl is wearing pants in that video, there was a time not that long ago when that would have been considered vulgar and offensive and inappropriately sexual.


What I've observed is that the prevalence of body insecurity among young women in the martial arts is much lower than it is among dancers I've known.

Please don't try to tell me that ballerinas are not expected to conform to a particular, rail-thin ideal. Please don't try to tell me that those who aren't born with the right traits aren't told that they'd better just give it up now. Same with gymnasts. Because I know women who have lived it.

Again, the tight and skimpy send a message to the world and to the psyche of the girl. You are worth what your body is worth. You are nothing but the body. No, eliminating the particular garment isn't the kit and kaboodle - but they say a lot about what's wrong with how we socialize girls. This goes agains every feminist fibre in my being. The answer for me? Not my daughters. No way.

Kung fu or wushu values health over conformation. You're built more heavily? Better suited for this style, instead of get lost, you'll never make it. What counts is maximizing what you have - not cutting you out because of what you don't.

Quote:
And just to touch on eating disorders and physical problems, I don't think it's quite that clear cut. ~40 seconds into the first clip you posted a link to somebody jumped up, did a kick in a 720, and landed in the splits. Impressive? Yes. Risk free? Hell no. There is not a physical activity in existence that doesn't contribute to the development of potential problems later on.


I don't recall saying kung fu or wushu was risk free. Can you find where I did?

Wushu, being a much more acrobatic part of kung fu, has more risk. Sando, or contact sparring, more so. Other types, not so much. But no, nothing is without risk.

What I did mention was ballerinas having a higher prevalence of joint problems in their hips and feet when they are middle-aged. You'll find much less of that with kung fu practitioners. I also know very few gymnasts actively competing into their 50s. Unlike my teacher's teacher.

Quote:
Um...really? Seriously, really? Health and wellness applications can't be obtained in cheer or gymnastics or dance? None of those require focus? None can be seen as meditative? Can be used as a vehicle to teach philosophy? Develop ethics? They have age limits restricting them to the young? Really?


At the level of chi kung training - which is part of the required training at my level? I doubt it.

Can cheerleading be used to teach philosophy? Perhaps. I think, though, the question is more along the lines of: Is it typically used to teach philosophy and ethics? I somehow doubt it, but if you've got some evidence to the contrary, I'd be happy to see it and admit I'm wrong.

Until then, 2500 years of Ch'an Buddhism trumps it.

Same with meditation - Shaolin kung fu was developed as a form of active meditation. I don't think we can say the same of cheerleading.

Quote:
Which is great for you, I'm not trying to make the argument that anybody shouldn't or can't find fulfilment in martial arts, what I'm trying to be critical of is your outright dismissal that anything else could possibly have anything else to offer. That nothing else has unique value is a pretty fundamentalist position, and to be blunt is in my view a very patronizing position.


I didn't say that that anything else couldn't have anything to offer. I think I was pretty clear that ballet, cheerleading, gymnastics and figure skating all offered flexibility and strength and a level of aesthetic merit.

However, kung fu offers those same things - but without the prevalence of hypersexualization and skewed body image.

And while many people love those activities, I felt that martial arts was a better pick for growing girls. What surprised me was how good a pick it was for me. 7 years in, I am slowly making my way to a black belt. I didn't imagine that was something I would ever do.

So I'm glad that cheerleading is something that you do with passion. Good for you - and I mean that sincerely! But trying to sweep away the issues of sexualization that come up with that and other female-typical activities just doesn't make sense to me.
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Raos
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tehanu wrote:
At any rate, I do maintain that there are very legitimate criticisms around sexism in cheerleading, and supporters who are also keen on feminism and social change should address them.


Right, so you've said. So is suggesting that somebody in the sport trying to address them may just "want to forgo cheerleading entirely" productive towards addressing those issues yet? Because it still sounds to me like completely writing off cheerleading. Is it so hard to see how I might take that as being dismissive of the entire sport?

TS. wrote:
High school cheerleading is [. . .] a focus on the pubescent fantasies of high school boys.

bshmr wrote:
For the record, cheer-leading in North America in recent times is sexist and exploitative. [. . .]

Also, used to be, in my lifetime even, that cheerleaders were fully clothed, led cheers (without PAs), and eschewed being entertainment or lust candy.


Would those be indicative of the legitimate criticisms that I'm so unexpectedly getting defensive about? Yes they're pushing buttons and I'm taking them personally, I can't imagine why. Cheerleaders as unclothed objects of lust candy?

Timebandit wrote:
No more than your statement that my determination about what activities are most suitable for my kids is "unfortunate". That came off as a wee bitty condescending.


I said no such thing.

Raos wrote:
Timebandit wrote:
Raos, I would discourage my girls from cheerleading (or any other activity that may involve shaking her ass while in a miniskirt), just as I would gymnastics or ballet. [. . .]

I think that's a bit unfortunate that you've steered them entirely away from those activities.


I said that steering them away from a whole block of activities was unfortunate. It was in no way directed towards the choice of sport that you eventually selected, but the entire dismissal of cheer et al. Criticism of a choice of X is not the same thing as criticism of an exclusion of Y.

But you know what, whatever. I'm trying to make the case that cheer has some unique value, and you're responding with nothing but 'wushu is better than anything on every front you can possibly suggest'. It's going nowhere because you don't seem willing to allow that any other sports (or at least these sports) might have something special of their own.

Timebandit wrote:
I didn't say that that anything else couldn't have anything to offer.


No indeed, you made the claim that nothing else has anything unique to offer.

Timebandit wrote:
Hm. Well, I don't know that ballet or gymnastics or cheerleading has anything to offer that Chinese Kung Fu doesn't.


"I don't know that X has anything to offer that Y doesn't." Please try to put any other groups of people into those places and tell me how that doesn't come across as condescending.

Timebandit wrote:
I think I was pretty clear that ballet, cheerleading, gymnastics and figure skating all offered flexibility and strength and a level of aesthetic merit.

However, kung fu offers those same things - but without the prevalence of hypersexualization and skewed body image.


Again 'those sports may have some good things about them, but my sport has all of them and more, only without the bad aspects of those sports.' I'm ever so sorry I tried to suggest that cheerleading has some unique merit in the face of your super-ideal-supreme-sport.

Timebandit wrote:
But trying to sweep away the issues of sexualization that come up with that and other female-typical activities just doesn't make sense to me.

Raos wrote:
I'm not going to argue that there's not problems in this area

Raos wrote:
I think there are a lot of problems with sideline cheerleading

Raos wrote:
Sure, I'm all for addressing what issues there are.

Raos wrote:
If somebody wants to have a serious discussion about gender and body issues in cheerleading, then great, I'm all for it

Raos wrote:
Is there often skimpy and inappropriate clothing in cheerleading and dance? Yes.

Raos wrote:
Can inappropriately sexualized moves be included? Yes.


Yep, that's some might fine "sweep[ing] away the issues of sexualization that come up with that" that I've been doing. Nary a hint of an admission that such a thing might exist.

Tehanu wrote:
Hardly a hate-on and it's too bad you're taking what I'd say is legitimate criticism so defensively. [. . .]

At any rate, I do maintain that there are very legitimate criticisms around sexism in cheerleading, and supporters who are also keen on feminism and social change should address them.


So here's a question, since apparently I'm just being hyperbolic about nothing: In this whole exchange that's not a hate-on since the NBC story was posted, 2+ days and 20+ posts long, has anything been suggested to address those issues other than "stop cheerleading" or "don't even start cheeerleading"? Anything? If that's the most constructive contributions in a not-hate-on, I'm quite certain that I have no interest in seeing what would be required for it to qualify as a hate-on.
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voice of the damned
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My question for the self-identified "martial arts" enthusiasts...

Do the militaristic origins of your preferred sport bother you in any way? After all, "martial" is an exact synonym for "military", and while I'm sure most of you practice it only as a sport, even the athletic form of it is, as far as I know, just a recreational version of techniques that were originally devised to inflict actual harm on people.

And, if it's fair to hold up The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders as emblematic of the values promoted by cheerleading, is it equally fair to hold up Chuck Norris, star of many martial-arts themed right-wing action movies, as emblematic of what martial-arts promote? From what I have seen, he is held in at least a high regard by martial-arts enthusiasts as the Dallas Cheerleaders are by cheerleading fans...

Quote:

The Ambassador of Taekwondo Award was awarded to Grandmaster Chuck Norris, whose presence in the martial arts community has been felt for decades. Grandmaster Norris began his martial arts training with Taekwondo while stationed in Korea with the US Air Force. In his book, The Secret Power Within: Zen Solutions to Real Problems, he states:
"By the time I left Korea, I had a black belt in tae kwon do, a Korean martial art, and for the first time in my life I had confidence in my ability to pursue something to the end: I had finally succeeded on my own in a truly difficult undertaking, and I had thereby gained some self-esteem." Shown at right is GM Roy Kurban accepting for GM Chuck Norris


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voice of the damned
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

double post, sorry
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Timebandit
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VOD, Chuck Norris is small potatoes to, say, Jackie Chan or Jet Li - those guys are more comparable as the public face of kung fu. Chuck Norris is pretty much an unfortunate joke for most of us - neither his movies nor his politics are held in much regard. He's emblematic of raving Americanism with some karate on top, not of Chinese martial art. Which he doesn't practice - karate being Japanese.

His fan base, even in the US, is much smaller than Chan's or Li's. And, of course, Bruce Lee trumps them all.

Regarding the martial in martial arts - would you ask the same question of someone who does recreations for a Society for Creative Anachronism?

"Martial" art has the connotation of "fighting" art - it includes boxing and other such sports as well. So there is a flaw in your definition - martial can mean a couple of different things in depending on context.

To answer the question, no, it doesn't bother me that martial art involves fighting or that it has had a military application, but this is mainly because there is a nuanced history there. Shaolin kung fu was developed by Buddhist monks with a strong Daoist influence. So we have practical kung fu, which was used primarily defensively, and the more stylized, formal kung fu forms which are meditative - a means to enlightenment.

Yes, kung fu technique bled into the military, but the origin is the Buddhist monastery. What's really interesting is that the Chinese military banned the Shaolin monks from fighting or owning weapons at several periods of their existence. So they developed forms with farm implements. There's even a fighting form based on the umbrella - wicked!
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's all well and good, but when he's mad, Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door. Chuck Norris once ate an entire birthday cake before anyone could tell him there was a stripper inside. There's no such thing as evolution... only animals that Chuck Norris has allowed to live...

I guess all that was covered by "... pretty much an unfortunate joke..."
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

voice of the damned wrote:

Do the militaristic origins of your preferred sport bother you in any way? After all, "martial" is an exact synonym for "military"

Doesn't "martial" technically mean "warlike"? Any tribe will tell you you don't need a military to fight a war.
The origins of martial arts predate the nation-state and, therefore, the organized military as we know it. Martial arts are certainly all about learning to defeat and indeed harm other people. I have a problem with hierarchy, domination and injustice. I don't think I've ever claimed to be necessarily against violence.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Doesn't "martial" technically mean "warlike"? Any tribe will tell you you don't need a military to fight a war.


Well, as you say, technically. But when we say a country is under martial law, for example, we usually mean that it's being run by the military. And a court-martial is a military court, not a court where people are fighting each other with weapons.

And, even allowing a difference between "military" and "warlike", an emphasis on the distinction reminds me a little of this conversation I had with an evangelical Christian friend once. I had misquoted the lyrics of Onward Christian Soldiers as "marching off to war", and he corrected me, saying the words were in fact "as to war", and said that it would be quite horrible if the lyrics were what I thought they were, since that would be advocating war. Suffice to see, methinks the lady etc.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are lots of words whose meanings are context-specific.

Martial can mean military (didn't deny it at all), it can mean pertaining to fighting.

Your specific question, though, was whether kung fu's military origins bothered me. They don't because kung fu's origin is actually a Buddhist temple, not the military.

Does owning a Roomba mean you approve of military robots? They're made by the same people and their obstacle detection programs are funded by military contracts. Me, I still like having a robot do my vacuuming.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rufus Polson wrote:
voice of the damned wrote:

Do the militaristic origins of your preferred sport bother you in any way? After all, "martial" is an exact synonym for "military"

Doesn't "martial" technically mean "warlike"?

Not quite. The root of the word "martial" is the Latin word "martius" meaning of or pertaining to Mars, the god of war. So "warlike" would be close but not exact. The best way to put it would probably be "war-related". The root of "military" is in the Latin word for soldier, "miles". As can be seen, "military" and "martial" have at least subtly different meanings, and derive from different roots in Latin.
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