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University of Washington Cheerleading Under Fire for Poster Describing Physical Appearance of Ideal Cheerleader (Pic)
The University of Washington cheerleading squad is under fire this week after posting a photo on Facebook diagramming the ideal physical appearance of a Huskies cheerleader.
The photo was posted on Monday, four days before cheerleading tryouts. It was intended to be a guide for prospective cheerleaders, but critics say it prioritizes appearance over ability. And they’re right. Washington cheerleading did not post anything outlining the tumbling and acrobatic skills you need to be a cheerleader. (See for yourself.) If that was the top priority, one would think it wouldn’t matter so much that a talented woman didn’t wear her hair the right way at tryouts, or was wearing a shirt that showed too little of her midriff.
Some critics also don’t like that the individual used as the model is white, and that the diagram talks about being tanned. At the very least the squad could have picked two girls for the image, with at least one being black, asian, or latina. But no. They chose a blonde girl as their ideal specimen. You can see how that would make non-white students uncomfortable.
Given the backlash, the photo was removed from the cheerleading Facebook page. Meanwhile, the University of Washington has issued the following statement:
In response to a high volume of student questions about cheer and dance team tryouts, a member of the UW spirit leadership team created a graphic aimed at providing interested students information in preparation for the tryouts. The graphic was removed immediately, after a UW athletic department official saw it and determined that some of the details and descriptions provided were inconsistent with the values of the UW spirit program and department of athletics. Athletic department officials have reinforced the values of the programs to UW spirit leadership, and look forward to an equitable and diverse tryout process for interested students.
Unfortunately, nobody at the university wanted to get into precisely how the image was “inconsistent” with their values. I guess they don’t want people thinking too much about how they basically use free labor from 20-year-old college girls to market a billion dollar industry.
Hat Tip – [People]