Many Leesville Road High School students strongly believe that TV shows and movies are to blame for the unfortunate stereotypes associated with cheerleaders.
“That’s obviously where we get all the stereotypes for cheerleaders,” said Kiley Cross, freshman. “They’re all portrayed as preppy little airhead bimbos.”
“Everyone thinks that cheerleaders are rude and that all of them are preppy,” she said. However, having several friends who are cheerleaders, Cross says they “definitely don’t fit that stereotype.”
Natalie Landsburg, freshman, explained how she does not know any cheerleaders, but they seem “preppy.” Not in a bad way,” she clarified. “They just seem to dress nicer.”
Abby Noga, freshman and varsity cheerleader for Leesville, replied: “I only dress nice because I want to. It has nothing to do with me being a cheerleader.”
At first, Noga was nervous to be on a team with so many upperclassmen. She was worried that the team had already established its own cliques and that she, as a freshman, would have a difficult time fitting in.
“Even though there were a lot of older girls, there were a bunch of freshmen which made me feel much better,” she said. “They were all so nice and included us; everyone is friends with everyone and nobody gets left out.”
She also mentioned how, because of being a cheerleader, people assume she is stupid. “I don’t really understand why everyone thinks we’re dumb, but I bet it’s because all the cheerleaders on TV are made to look really slow,” said Noga.
Take FOX Network’s hit series Glee, for example. Brittany S. Pierce, one of the main characters and a cheerleader, is portrayed as a complete airhead. “Sometimes I forget my middle name,” she said in one episode. “I’m pretty sure my cat has been reading my diary,” she said in another. This is the general idea that most people get of a “typical” cheerleader because, in most movies and TV shows, this is how they are portrayed.
In movies such as Bring It On, cheerleaders are dressed up in short skirts and tight shirts. Because of this, many cheerleaders are called “slutty” or “skanky”.
However, after talking to several varsity cheerleaders from LRHS, I was informed that during practices, each girl must wear spandex under their shorts. They wear basic, athletic T-shirts that are not tight or clingy to the skin. During games, they are required to wear bloomers under their skirts to, again, prevent anything inappropriate from showing during their stunts.
It is evident that many of the assumptions formed about cheerleaders are swayed by the media. Instead of forming opinions from fictitious TV shows, one should take the time to get to know a real cheerleader.