Every time I tell people I was a cheerleader, I get a mixture of “Seriously? You don’t seem like the type” and “Why?” Both of those things are pretty rude to say, but what is the cheerleader “type” anyway? I definitely blame movies and TV for their portrayal of cheerleaders because we have a terrible reputation which causes people not to take us or the sport seriously.
If you think you know a thing or two about cheerleaders, you’re probably wrong about the following:
1. That they’re not athletes
LOL O K A Y. Whether you believe it or not, cheerleading IS indeed a sport. And it requires a great deal of athleticism. Most squads (especially competition squads) are in the weight room because, you know, stunts require lifting and throwing PEOPLE. We used to have two-a-day practices! Oh, and cheerleading has the most athletic injuries of any sport.
2. That they’re stupid
Hey, guess what? To be on a school’s athletic team, you have to have a certain GPA. Many competition squads have GPA requirements as well. While I do know some cheerleaders who lacked common sense, they were still smart.
3. That they’re mean
Some cheerleaders are mean, but anyone can be mean. It’s not like being a jerk is a requirement for joining a squad. That’s ridiculous.
4. That they’re a popular clique
While I know a few cheerleaders who exclusively hung out with their squad, I know plenty who didn’t. My squad was full of girls from different groups in our school, and we certainly weren’t some popular collective.
5. That they can do whatever they want
One of my biggest gripes with the portrayal of cheerleaders is that they never seem to have a coach and just do whatever they feel like doing. You cannot be a legitimate school team if you don’t have a coach. That’s very illegal. And if you’re a competition squad, you have a coach (or several coaches) as well.
6. That they wear their uniforms all the time
You wear your uniform on game days. Cheerleading uniforms really aren’t that comfortable so I don’t know why anyone would even want to wear it every day.
7. That they’re always cheerful
Just because someone is a cheerleader doesn’t mean she’s happy and chipper all the time. Cheerleaders have problems too! They’re just like us!
8. That they’re coordinated
I am the classic example of an uncoordinated cheerleader. If you give me choreography and an eight-count, I can do whatever you want me to. I can do one thing with my feet and another with my arms while chanting. However, I cannot walk in a straight line or go somewhere without running into something. Go figure.
9. That they’re sluts
First of all, let’s stop with the word “slut.” And second, being a cheerleader does not make you anymore sexually active than anyone else. It’s not like you put a cheerleading uniform on and suddenly start having sex with everyone in sight. And if you did, that’s your personal choice!
What do you think about cheerleaders? What other stereotypes about them are wrong? Tell us in the comments below!
You can reach this post’s author, Caitlin Corsetti, on Twitter and Instagram!