There is no denying that there are stereotypes of cheerleading: girls, pom poms, and short skirts. It is not surprising to see cheerleading teams composed mostly of female athletes. Chadwick International has stepped into the field of cheerleading in 2015 and has already continued this sport for three years. However, only one male athlete joined the team in the very beginning and still is the one and only male athlete on the team. Cheerleading has always been popular with the girls but seems to barely attract any interest from the boys compared to sports such as basketball, swimming, and soccer.
The biggest blame is on the media. The media tends to create the stereotype that cheerleading is just for girls since it is not surprising to see cheerleaders in a movie or a TV show about high school only being girls. “The more media imposes the idea that cheerleaders are just cute gossipers with short skirts lined across the hallway, it is degrading the integrity of cheerleading as a sport, but also enforcing the idea that cheerleading goes against masculinity”, said James Kim, the only male cheerleader of CI’s cheerleading team. In fact, when cheerleading first started in 1877 at colleges such as Princeton and Yale, it initially began as a group of boys shouting in the bleachers of sports games in universities. After when it was formally recognized as a sport, girls were not even allowed to cheerlead until 1923.
Unlike its stereotypes, cheerleading is a challenging sport which combines a list of skills including tumbling, throwing, lifting, catching, jumping, stunting and stretches. It also requires immense strength, stamina, and all-over body workouts, using arms, legs and core muscles. “Cheerleading includes many motions and routines which will require all aspects of physical fitness”, said Min Chae Kim, a 9th-grade cheerleader of the CI cheerleading team.
The contribution of male cheerleaders can therefore bring great support and strength to the entire team. Male cheerleaders are generally able to throw female flyers higher up into the air, allowing the entire team to perform more challenging moves in their routines. “The additional strength and stamina that the boys have will allow the team to arrange competitive routines and to take stunting to a whole new level”, said Ally Lee, a 10th-grade cheerleader of the CI cheerleading team.
Numerous male athletes are reluctant to joining the cheerleading teams because of the fact that performance takes up a huge portion of the sport. Unlike other sports where athletes actively compete with other teams, one on one for an immediate objective, cheerleading is very demonstrative; it is a performance to the audience. Even so, joining the team is a great opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and show your great skills and the hard work you put in to give your best performance.
Stereotypes should not stop male athletes from joining cheerleading teams because, in addition to male cheerleaders being capable of doing what any other athlete can do, their participation is essential in making stronger cheerleading teams. Despite its stereotypes, cheerleading is indeed an athletic coed sport.
Yoonjin Lee firstname.lastname@example.org
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