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Cheerleading - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
I'm watching Bring It On, which is a surprisingly enjoyable movie. But it made me realize something. When I was in school, cheerleaders ran around in their uniforms all the time. But I haven't seen a cheerleader outside of school for years, despite working with high school students. Is it just a regional thing, or is it, like the Miss America pageant, one of those things that's going out of style?

Just wondering.
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chocolatepot From: chocolatepot Date: March 26th, 2006 10:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
In my school, the cheerleaders wore their uniforms with dress pants instead of the skirts on days when there was a game (maybe just an away game?) to go to, but not just on regular days. But then, cheerleaders weren't anything special at my school - I think it was the field hockey players that were It.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 26th, 2006 10:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it was just game days, but they'd be in in their skirts and the whole shebang all day. Of course, I think it was just game days--it's not like I was actually paying attention!
sparkly_stuff From: sparkly_stuff Date: March 26th, 2006 10:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well I graduated high school in 2000, but I went to HS in Texas where cheerleading is a huge deal. It was definitely one of those stereotypical things where the cheerleaders were popular and everyone knew who they were. I don't remember seeing them in uniform outside of school though, if that's what you're asking, but I think the coaches were just strict on where and when they can wear them (and they are expensive). And of course my college had cheerleaders too. So god yes, cheerleading is still around, at least in the South. I used to hate cheerleaders, when I had to put up with them in HS, but now I have more respect for them after being friends with a male cheerleader in college. Have you seen the new Lifetime reality show Cheerleader Nation? It follows a HS cheer squad in Tennessee (I think) and their moms who are like scary stage moms. It's strangely addicting.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 26th, 2006 10:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
When one of my friends--Jenny D--tried out for the squad (and made it!), we all teased her about being a traitor to the nerd tribe. ;) Seriously, I've had very little other exposure to them. It looks difficult, but for me, the worst part about cheerleading would be having to attend games.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: March 26th, 2006 10:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
At my old HS, I think they really only wore them when a game was going on, and I'm pretty sure they'd change after school. All groups that had to wear uniforms - Chorus, band - were like that. Especially in the winter.
shake_n_shimmy From: shake_n_shimmy Date: March 26th, 2006 11:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was a cheerleader in the freshman center, and we weren't really popular (though I found out years later that all my good guy friends that I met there only sat near me because of the uniform xD little ol' naive me).

Um, in HS the cheerleaders wore their uniform on gameday and for homecoming pep rallies. Everyone wanted to be/could be a cheerleader, though, I know the tryouts usually drew a lot of girls. It was like four days of tryouts too o_O
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 26th, 2006 11:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe someone can answer a question I have about cheerleading and sport. I'm English, living in Australia. Neither countries has a tradition of cheer-leading; it's creeping into some of the top level football games but not into schools. I admit I really dislike the idea of cheer-leading: it seems to be girls on the sidelines supporting the boys who actually get to play and represent the school. I can see that the dancing and gymnastics involved is difficult and disciplined but I still don't like the premise. But, as I've said, it's an alien culture to me so it may well be just cultural ignorance on my part and I just don't "get it." What I know about it is mostly gleaned from USA high school movies and, even when I was a teenager I never watched many of them. So, what I want to know is: is that it for girls? There never seems to be any mention of girls representing the school in sport just as cheer-leaders. I'm really hoping that this is just a limitation of the movies and not true of real life but could people please enlighten me!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 26th, 2006 11:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, there's plenty of girls' sports out there. They don't get as much attention (though basketball and soccer are getting there), but they definitely exist. They've always been there, too--we have an exhibit in the library showing turn-of-the-century girls' basketball teams. (Er, that would be 1900-ish... I guess we've turned another one!) Cheerleading was the most popular for a long time, probably because it was a place where the girls would be front and center in a high-profile game instead of "just" playing softball or whatnot. With winning soccer teams, the WNBA, and so on, I wonder if that could be part of why it's losing its influence. It also got a reputation as a "popular" thing to do, the counterparts of the football players in the social hierarchy, so its status went up just for social reasons... for awhile, being popular and being a cheerleader were more or less synonymous terms. It developed into a sport in its own right somewhere along the line, and there are tournaments now where the cheerleaders aren't actually leading any other sports, they're just cheering.
victorialupin From: victorialupin Date: March 26th, 2006 11:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
In my area, it seems to really be going out of style. My school wins a lot of games, holds many records in the area and has dozens of different teams, but we don't even have cheerleaders. The dance students will occasionally do something for a really important event, but the concept of cheerleading seems to be going out of style in general.
rikibeth From: rikibeth Date: March 26th, 2006 11:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Class of '87 and my school didn't have cheerleaders THEN. We practically didn't have jocks -- the gods in our pantheon were the leading actors.

So I can't be any help.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 26th, 2006 11:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dude, I love your school--doing plays in my school more or less meant you were a geek!
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: March 26th, 2006 11:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
My HS prized its men's and women's varsity soccer teams above all else--our football was awful, and the cheerleaders were so sad. It was a handful of girls who were dumb enough that they didn't realize that being a cheerleader wouldn't let them into the in crowd. Our football team consistently won an award for having the highest cumulative GPA of any team in the state, heh. I think the cheerleaders did wear their uniforms on game days, but then, so did we drama geeks--I spent several days during a run of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead attending English class in my Ophelia dresses!
delleve From: delleve Date: March 27th, 2006 12:02 am (UTC) (Link)
The cheerleaders at my school only wear their uniforms on game days, as far as I've noticed. Some of the cheerleaders are "popular" at my school, but that isn't really just because they're a cheerleader. Really, all of the cheerleaders at my school don't even hang out with each other very much (well, some of them do, but you won't ever see a mass of 10 cheerleaders coming at you).

Then again, my school really just kind of fails at almost everything sports related. XD
gabrielladusult From: gabrielladusult Date: March 27th, 2006 12:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I remember being surprised at how much I liked Bring It On. Being as far from the cheerleading clan as a girl could get in my school (though I did try out a couple of times -- mostly because my sister did it and I thought -- hey, I've had 10 years of dance, I can do as good as the cows we have on the squad now). Our cheerleaders wore their uniforms on game days and any pre-announced spirit day.

What you're describing reminds me of Brittany in Daria. I totally loved that show -- all the stereotypes were spot-on.
akashasheiress From: akashasheiress Date: March 27th, 2006 09:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Love Daria!
lady_sarai From: lady_sarai Date: March 27th, 2006 12:23 am (UTC) (Link)
I went to high school in a town near Portland, Maine and I never saw the cheerleaders in their uniforms unless it was AT a game.
miss_eponine From: miss_eponine Date: March 27th, 2006 12:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I cheered in high school and college, but we didn't wear our uniforms except for games and pep rallies.

I occasionally encounter cheerleaders dressed in their uniforms at restaurants, but they're more often dressed in matching warm-up suits than their uniforms.

I don't know if it's regional, but I live in the South.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 27th, 2006 01:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for all the comments about sport for girls at US schools. Obviously girls do play sport - look at all the medals the USA win at the Olympics and they have one of the top national womens soccer teams in the world - but the emphasis on Tv and the movies seems to be boys on the team and girls cheer-leading. I suppose that it is the non-sport aspects of this that makes for the plot rather than the sport itself and I can see that girls in cheer-leading outfits are more "photogenic" and glamourous than girls playing hockey. I'm glad the girls get a chance too.

austenrowling From: austenrowling Date: March 27th, 2006 01:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I love Bring It On. I haven't seen a cheerleader since I was in high school, but then I don't hang around high school aged kids, so I wouldnt have much of a chance to see if they wear their outfits or not.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 27th, 2006 02:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Judging by the movies, I would guess that a lot of writers, producers, directors, and others in Hollywood were the guys in school who either couldn't get a girl to go out with them or never had the nerve to ask and who are now making up for it with a very vivid fantasy life.

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