But I think that’s how I’ve been about cheerleading.
I despise everything cheerleading represents. I hate how it’s about looking a certain way. I hate its reinforcement of conformity. I hate the encouragement of macho bullshit that makes up so much of sport. I hate the crass sexism of women on the sidelines. I hate the sexualization surrounding cheerleading, with all the creepy “barely legal” overtones. And I hate how much it reminds me and represents the harsh social stratification, and in some cases ostracism, that occurs in schools.
Cheerleading makes me gag.
Yeah. I have issues.
So this article and the video below leave me feeling utterly conflicted.
I’ve written about the need to have science “fans” in the ways that sports has “fans.” We scientists need evangelists, and I don’t doubt for one second that these women are wonderful evangelists.
My head and heart get the video, and what Randy Olson writes about them, like this:
There are A LOT of professional cheerleaders who are seriously interested in science and other STEM stuff. And when you watch this little video we made you see the women aren’t just vaguely connected with science careers — they are the real deal.
In each of the interviews the women also told their personal stories of discrimination, harassment and even abuse for being cheerleaders. We didn’t want to drag this first video down with the heaviness of their stories. But we will, eventually, make use of that material. They have fascinating stories which are not the least bit predictable.
Even though the whole concept of cheerleading still makes my guts churn.
Call me a bigot on this one. I probably deserve it. I’ll try to be better about it in the future.