Cheerleaders fashion and pomp pomp squad varsity show too: Video
Cheerleaders complain over revealing clothing
With their sunny smiles and jaunty routines, the cheerleaders of Central High School in Bridgeport, Connecticut, aimed to turn heads and please crowds. But in an unusual reversal of roles, the girls have complained to officials that too much was on show.
They marched straight to the city’s school board complaining of humiliation, after being told that they had to wear skimpy outfits that left their midriffs exposed.
“It really hurts our self-esteem. I feel like if I go out, I feel trashy. I am embarrassed to stand up here dressed like this. Is this really how you want Bridgeport to be represented?” Ariana Mesaros, told the board.
The episode has become a national talking point in America, where cheerleaders have long been seen as a wholesome icon of teenage femininity. A poll conducted by researchers at the University of South Carolina in June and presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, suggested that wearing revealing uniforms put college cheerleaders at higher risk of developing eating disorders and made them more worried about maintaining their figures.
“Teams and coaches should consider the long-term effects of requiring cheerleaders to wear revealing uniforms simply for aesthetic reasons,” said Toni Torre-McGehee, an assistant professor of athletic training at the University of South Carolina, who led the study.
“The point of collegiate cheerleading is to create camaraderie and team spirit and to keep girls active and healthy. Coaches should keep these ideals in mind and try to reinforce self-esteem among their team members.”
Ms Mesaros and other members of her squad say that the outfits also violate rules laid down by the Spirit Association, an arm of the National Federation of State High School Associations that assists cheerleading teams in risk management and good citizenship. The rules state that “when standing at attention, apparel must cover the midriff.”
“Sure you can pull the skirt up, but if you pull the skirt up the butt hangs out,” Ms Mesaros complained. An assistant school superintendent has now agreed to order them more modest bodysuits.
The Bridgeport protest is one of several controversies troubling the world of American college cheerleading.
In Detroit, Michigan, a six-year-old girl whose mother complained that one of the chants she was taught in her cheerleading squad was “suggestive” and inappropriate, was kicked off the team.
Kennedy Tesch was given her marching orders after her mother, Jennifer, protested at her being made to chant: “Our backs ache, our skirts are too tight, we shake our booties from left to right.”
Youth football league officials and fellow parents voted to keep the cheer but evict the little girl.
Kennedy’s father, Duane Tesch, said: “We’re probably going to get her into gymnastics.”