Cheerleading started as a male endeavor in 1898, when a University of Minnesota football fan led the crowd in verse in support of their team. It was not until World War II, when men shipped out to war, that women took over. Then cheerleaders came to represent the American ideal of femininity: wholesome apple pie with washboard stomachs, perfect teeth, and flawless complexions. Stereotypes cast them as blond, petite, and impossibly perky. “From its humble beginning cheerleading has blossomed into a competitive athletic activity with a serious image problem” (Forman 52). But today’s post-feminist youth have put a new, diverse face on cheerleading. Cheerleading in America is no longer a matter of waving pom-poms, a cute smile and being overly
…show more content…
These requirements are even more than the football team. During a week, cheerleaders put in an average of sixteen hours of practice, not including cheering at three to four games. The schools withholding the title of “sport” are the schools that still place a high demands on their cheerleaders, expecting them to attend games and numerous other events. Yet they withhold the privileges that would make the time commitment easier. “Without increasing funding, most states added the restrictions that go along with being a sport: transfer rules, limited practice time, fundraising restrictions and limits on competition travel and participation in national competitions. In extreme cases, cheerleading squads were required to compete at least the same number of events as they cheered for to meet the requirements for sport status. This meant either drastically increasing the number of competitive events, or lowering the number of support events”(Coman “Cheerleading is now risker”).
Cheerleading is said to be the fastest growing sport for girls in high school. This sporting activity ranks ninth in popularity among high school girls, a notch before field hockey. “The sport now counts for three million to five million cheerleaders in its ranks, from young elementary school students to well-conditioned