If you thought that the bullfighting discussion was cutting-edge, just wait until you hear I’ve been keeping tabs on the Mehlville-Oakville Patch— THE publication of record for South Countians.
One of my favorite readers sent me an opinion piece from that site on the antics of high school cheerleaders– in this case, those from Oakville High School. The actions that shocked her I have also seen from a local Catholic grade school cheerleader squad during an 8th grade basketball tournament. So, this kind of routine isn’t springing like Athena out of the heads of high-schoolers, either.
Moreover, my lovely wife Sharon used to be a member of the Oakville High flag corps during happier days, and the enmity between the cheerleaders and the flag corps is only slightly less intense than that of the Serpent and the Woman. So, I thought she’d get a kick out of this. Back in the ’80s, the amount of hair spray employed to get that big hair look made any inter-squad squabble as flammable as the rumble of the network news teams in Anchorman.
Anyway, the relevant parts of the full op-ed are below. For a hoot, check out the comments at the original story, and decide for yourself what would happen to Catholics if we ever really moved from being merely disagreeable to becoming seriously inconvenient.
Dance Teams: Little Girls are Watching
Why a Mehlville mom thinks the dance squads need to refocus their style.
by Jenny Wescoat
My husband and son were decked out in all green and ready to cheer on Mehlville, while I grumbled around the house, trying to dig up some black and gold maternity clothes. We were headed to the Oakville-Mehlville football game, with our family split on loyalties…
The atmosphere at Oakville High School was great, with the crowd excited and engaged in the game. We had a fantastic time and my 4-year-old daughter only had eyes for the cheerleaders. My 1-year-old laughed and clapped every time the Tiger mascot did a silly dance, and my 6-year-old son continued taunting me, even as Oakville was winning.
We settled in at half time, ready to be entertained. When the Golden Girls and Pantherettes arrived on the track, I thought they looked really cute in their sparkly jackets and coordinating glitter tennis shoes. But the routine they proceeded to perform actually caused me to cover my little 4-year-old girl’s eyes.
I admit it’s been quite a while since I went to Oakville, but something has certainly changed. While the Golden Girls of my high school days were known to sometimes include a suggestive move here or there, their routines mostly showcased sunny smiles, impressive kick lines and precision dance moves.
This routine was different. The medley of songs was suggestive (Janet Jackson’s “Nasty Boys” was the final choice). I was thankful that the speakers muffled a lot of words, and the dance routine was riddled with moves that were obscene. What caused me to look away and cover my daughter’s eyes, however, was the look on the girls’ faces. For much of the dance, smiles were replaced with a “come hither” look. These girls had serious eyes and open, pouty lips.
You may think that obscene is a strong word. But when you consider that it’s not only teens and their parents who attend local football games, but also a little girl with her eyes full of glamorous older girls, there is a certain level of responsibility that comes with that platform of performance.
If the girls on these teams look back, many might remember idolizing cheerleaders and pom pom girls, just as my little daughter does. I want to challenge the girls on these teams to refocus their attention to using their talent to perform well. Every woman on the planet has the tools to seduce, but not everybody can dance. That takes talent. Seduction does not.
…I would encourage their parents to consider the objectification of their daughters on the football field track. It smacks of child sexualization to the tune of “Toddlers and Tiaras,” just at an older age. Yes, your daughters are probably thrilled to be on the dance team, but at what price?
…I would ask [the girls themselves] to seriously consider the impact of their choices. There are so many television shows, magazines and models screaming at young girls that the value of women lies in their sexuality. Don’t join the ranks.
You have an opportunity to be a hero to little girls and to perfect your sport* in the name of excellence. Don’t sell it short by dealing only in the currency of sex.
*Don’t worry, we all know cheerleading isn’t a real sport. But it’s a necessary part of the P.C. myth, so roll with it.