Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lessons we can Learn from Cheerleaders

I haven't done a "Lessons we can Learn" post in a while so here goes. I think that there are some lessons we can learn from cheerleaders! There is something about cheerleaders than drives men crazy and draws the envy of other women. There is a reason why cheerleaders are featured in so many films and even music videos. This begs the question, why? Being a cheerleader is a very feminine thing and unfortunately men are often ridiculed when they become cheerleaders. Some people see the cheerleading as being sexist but it has actually become a sport in itself with it's own competitions and awards. We can think of cheering games as simply practice for competitions instead of standing on the sidelines where the real athletes perform. I read somewhere that cheerleading is possibly the most dangerous of high school sports so I don't know if I would want my future daughter to participate in it, or in gymnastics though.

I think that nowadays the uniforms are too revealing and I prefer the image of the vintage cheerleader with longer skirts and no midriff showing. I don't think high school cheerleading is a big deal in Canada but our professional teams have them too so maybe the professional cheerleaders learned it in school. Perhaps they even get scholarships. Either way they are feminine icons in North America. Here are some movies/shows/videos featuring cheerleaders (or a cheerleader): the Bring it On series, Fired Up, Sugar and Spice, Man of the House, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mean Girls, Sixteen Candles, Lucas, Death Proof, Can't Buy me Love, John Tucker Must Die, American Beauty, Jawbreaker, Not Another Teen Movie, Jennifer's Body (and most teen horror films), Starsky & Hutch, Saved by the Bell, Sweet Valley High, Beverly Hills 90210, Carrie, and Britney Spears' Baby Hit me One More Time video and Hey Mickey...that's a lot! Here are some lessons we can learn from cheerleaders based on their public appearance (in private they may be quite different...mean and trashy according to many of these films lol):

  1. Be cheerful at social gatherings: Cheerleaders smile and present themselves as happy, friendly, and enthusiastic people. While performing they do not mean mug and they make sure to present themselves in a positive manner. They know that everyone is watching so they are sure to make a good impression that will not bring shame to their school/team.  Be sure to do the same for yourself at any social gathering, networking event, or interview. Just as they are ambassadors for their schools/teams you are an ambassador for your school, family, and employers and you are only doing yourself harm if you make a bad impression. 
  2. Make friends and network: Cheerleaders tend to be very popular. This may be because they are visible at sporting events, they wear identifiable uniforms, they tend to be attractive, and men desire them. Because of this people know who they are and want to be their friends/dates. Chances are you are not a cheerleader but you can still make an effort to be social, go to social and networking events, be a good friend, and try to meet new people. Good friends will bring you happiness but avoid and cut off ties with those who make your life difficult (don't keep frenemies). Good friends and acquaintances may help you with many aspects of your life (e.g., job opportunities, references, mentoring, unique opportunities, introductions, and entrance to their social circles). 
  3. Be supportive of your family, friends, and partners: Cheerleaders encourage their team so that the team can do it's best. You can be a cheerleader for your family, friends, and your man. I can't think of anyone who doesn't appreciate encouragement and support for their goals or difficult things they need to do. You can be that person who others go to for support. Try to encourage your loved ones instead of tearing them down and competing with them (especially your man). Be a good team member so that group goals can be achieved. This will make you a valuable person in the lives of others and make them want to spend time with you. Hopefully they will return the favor when you need support. 
  4. Exercise and be physically fit: Cheerleaders must be in excellent physical shape and they are constantly training and eating healthy (they may go to extremes so avoid that). No matter what anyone says being too overweight or obese will never be accepted in cheerleading. These women are considered to be highly attractive to most people and they tend to be slim and participate in regular physical activity. They try to adhere to standards of beauty and to many they are the standard.
  5. Wear cute clothing and accessories: Vintage cheerleader outfits are adorable! I love the pleated skirts, pompoms, v-neck sweaters, and hair bows. Even adult women can wear hair bows (e.g., around a ponytail), pleated skirts, and v-neck sweaters. You can also find pompoms on hair accessories, pens, and sweaters. Cheerleaders tend to be feminine role models for others and they take pride in their appearance. They do not want to be seen looking bad.
  6. Have a life: Cheerleading is a sport in itself not just something revolving around men's activities. Because cheerleaders tend to be popular they have active social lives outside of school. To be a well-rounded person you need to have your own life. Find some hobbies, figure out what interests you, set some goals and spend time working on them. Find something to do with your days instead of just watching TV or surfing the Internet. If you are in school find some extracurricular activities. You may actually enjoy them and they will look good on school and job applications. 
Here are some of my past Lessons we can Learn posts. These are posts that look for positive things we can learn from stereotypical female icons that are sometimes viewed as only negative:


  1. I like the bit about exercise and staying fit. Something that seem foreign to a lot of black women. I do not believe that one can be truly feminine when overweight. As hard as they try, no one is buying it.
    I recently read a blog about Jenifer Hudson's weight loss and a lot of the white women were saying that she was too skinny and they liked her better fat! When I saw those comments my jaw dropped. Really, these ww were complaining that Jenifer Hudson lost too much weight. Are they serious?!

    They don't have much to say when a white celeb is too skinny. And BTW, Jenifer Hudson looks great in my opinion and I just love how she glows on the red carpet these days with her radiant smile. But that blog proved that the suspicions I had for a long time were true. People are more comfortable with black women being overweight which is probably why I don't see a lot of black cheerleaders on TV. God forbid is we were to get fit and lose weight and compete with other women in the dating market. If that happens Prozac prescriptions will blow up like nobody's business lol

    P.S. Love the cute doll pic

  2. You know, I never thought about cheerleaders in this type of way.

    It's so timely as I have a little cousin who is a junior in high school, and transferring to a new high school no less. She's going up for cheerleading. I guess it's not such a bad thing because she wasn't as sociable at her old school, so this will be great for her.

    Thanks for opening my eyes to this perspective.

  3. Deneeta Pope met Paul Ryan through cheerleading :)

    The happiest moment of my childhood was when I made it to the pee wee cheerleading squad... and then I moved.

    In general, I'm in awe of women who are talented and look great at the same time!

  4. Hi Maria,

    There are so many people who try to sabotage the exercise and weight loss efforts of others. They will tell them they are losing to much, they looked better before, or they will develop an eating disorder. But there will also be people admiring them and saying they look great. When they were big there were probably people saying they look bad or that they looked fine too. Some times those opinions are just a reflection of the commentor who doesn't want the other person to change because they feel unhappy about themselves. I've had a friend like that who was overweight and encouraged me to eat junk, said I was worrying too much about what I ate, and that I was being extreme with my weight loss. She was very overweight. I don't think she was mean spirited but people will do strange things to protect their self-esteem.

  5. Hi Goneinternational,

    Lol I enjoy writing these posts because they give me a chance to find the positive in things. There has to be some reason why these women are considered attractive and why many women want these roles right? Even with all of the women's equality progress these roles still exist and are just as attractive and I find that very interesting.

    Hi KC Wright,

    Oh yes I want to accomplish things and still look good and be a nice person. I think it's possible and that women can use their feminine qualities to get ahead :)