29 September 2011

Training Them Young

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.


I'm Ron Burgundy? said...

I watched part of this routine on YouTube. One of the songs was Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker". Talk about big 80s: there is a line very easily understood even on the YouTube audio. Here it is:

"You're the right kind of sinner, to release my inner fantasy."

You want an Anchorman reference? "You stay classy, Oakville."

Tongue In Cheeck said...

We could invite them to dance at mass ;)

I was disturbed by what looked like the marching band sleeping on the field.


The Hussar said...

Read some of those comments on the article page...Yikes! Thank God for the opportunity to still home school in this country.

Sharon said...

Just to clarify, the Golden Girls at Oakville High are a dance team, not cheerleaders. And, if memory serves me right, the Pantherettes are Mehlville High's equivalent.

And there wasn't any deep-seated enmity among the three groups when I went there -- at least not that I remember. Maybe that was at your high school?

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the "tip" about the comments. I think you owe me 15 minutes of my life back.


Proud SLPS Parent

Peggy IL said...

I thought Mrs. Wescoat's editorial was charitable and restrained, simply suggesting that the girls "refocus" their talents. The combox suggests we are doomed as culture. At least some school-unaffiliated people saw what Mrs. Wescoat was saying was reasonable. And the paper's moderator defended her right to speak--without suggesting that Mrs. W's ideas were daffy. Sometimes the MSM will defend a conservative's right to speak "even if it's unpopular" or "wrong" etc. Good on the local paper.

Cathy D said...

Wow! I was really surprised at the comments. Some were incredibly offended.

Before I had high schoolers, I had been attending local high school games because my husband teaches at one. I remember being shocked the first time I saw what passes for a "dance team". Most of it is very sexually suggestive. Rarely is any actual "music" involved.

It is possible to dance in a way that is not risque (to put it nicely) and that shows off your talent. And could you play some real music please?

Cathy D

LMG said...

Cheerleaders, pom, pom girls, or "dancers" at these games are supposed to get the crowd excited about the game - not themselves.

I was a cheerleader for only one year at a Catholic school, as I was tired of the hyped up sexuality and frankly, embarrassed by it. I felt like a show-off when they had us wear our uniforms to school the day of the game as the skirts were very short. When I asked if we could stop trying to make it all about us, my fellow cheerleaders lost it. I wisely didn't try out the next year.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of training them young, I wonder what's going to happen to the young at this church:


I saw "Rainbow Catholics" and thought it might be good for a laugh...I'm still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor. What's your opinion, Timman?

Anony Mous