Cheerleaders protest too-skimpy uniforms

Connecticut cheerleaders want uniforms with more coverage

Earlier this year, cheerleaders in one Florida district had to get special permission to wear their skirts on game day, because the uniforms were too skimpy for a new dress code. In a fascinating twist, last week cheerleaders in Connecticut begged school officials to help make their uniforms less skimpy.

According to the Connecticut Post and NBC Connecticut, Heidi Medina, the captain of Bridgeport Central’s cheerleading squad, stood before the Bridgeport Board of Education in her team’s standard uniform, which bares athletes midriffs and uses either small shorts or baggy sweatpants as bottoms, to make a statement that it was inappropriate.

Medina and fellow seniors insist that the Central uniforms do not meet regulations that require cheerleader uniforms to cover an athlete’s midsection when they stand at attention.

“It really hurts our self esteem,” Bridgeport Central senior Ariana Mesaros told the Board of Education, according to the Post. “I am embarrassed to stand up here dressed like this. Is this really how you want Bridgeport to be represented?”

As noted by NBC Connecticut, the Bridgeport cheerleaders’ plea comes on the heels of a recent study of college cheerleaders, which found that college cheerleaders whose uniforms exposed midriffs faced a significantly higher risk of developing eating disorders.

For its part, the Bridgeport Board of Education is moving quickly to quell the controversy, with the assistant superintendent of secondary schools telling the Post that black bodysuits would be purchased for the Central cheerleaders to wear under their uniforms.

Still, the incident raises a troubling disparity between what cheerleaders are expected to look like, and what might be most healthy for them. While the eating disorder study focused on college cheerleaders, there’s little doubt that the findings are significant for high school cheerleaders, too.

The fact that one group of cheerleaders would advocate for more conservative uniforms while others would push to get their smaller uniforms green lighted speaks to the lack of standards among cheerleading uniforms.

If nothing else, the two divergent pleas provide an intriguing case study for why establishing national cheerleading uniform standards might be justified.

The Detroit Lions will debut officially-unofficial cheerleaders

For the first time since 1934, the Detroit Lions will have cheerleaders at a game this weekend. Except that the women won’t be official Lions cheerleaders. And they can’t perform any organized cheers. And they aren’t allowed to wear the team’s colors or logos. And they’ll also be sitting in the stands.

According to Terry Foster of the Detroit News, a group of 12 women who call themselves the Detroit Pride will attend Sunday’s home game against the Philadelphia Eagles and serve as the team’s unofficial cheerleaders. The Pride had to get the team to approve their presence at Ford Field and agree to terms of etiquette as well. Those terms include all the rules listed in the first paragraph, plus other restrictions on picture taking and blocking the views of other fans.

With all those rules in place, the Pride are essentially fans with less rights than everyone else. If me and a group of 11 buddies wanted to go to a Lions game and call ourselves The Motown Manes, we could do so and not have to worry about how many of us get into a picture or how coordinated our cheers are or worry about whether anyone behind can’t see.

Because the Pride eventually want to become the official Lions cheerleaders, they did agree to these rules. The hope is that Lions ownership will see how many fans like the Pride’s presence and this will lead to the team reversing its anti-cheerleader stance. It’s a great theory and all, but how will fans know that the Pride are cheerleaders if they can’t do anything remotely resembling cheerleading? If a cheerleader isn’t allowed to cheer in a stadium, does she make a sound?

Detroit has never approved an official cheerleading squad. Current owner William Clay Ford wants to promote a family-friendly atmosphere at games, though if that was his true goal he wouldn’t subject people to watching the Lions play.

Posted in Fashion, Off Topic, Sports.

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