Cheerleaders don’t necessarily deserve that bad a rap. Contrary to popular belief (and recent judicial opinion), they are athletes doing a team sport. (You try doing a back loop spiral with a pike alone in your living room.) Some of them are willing to discover their inner gleeks. One squad has actually petitioned their school board for less revealing uniforms — and not just because it’s chilly in Connecticut. Here’s how the Connecticut Post (via Jezebel) describes the Bridgeport Central High School squad’s appeal:
“We ask with the utmost respect you do anything in your power to help us,” said Heidi Medina, a former team captain, removing oversized sweats to reveal a quarter-length top and exposed middle. “I don’t feel comfortable wearing this.”
“It really hurts our self esteem,” said Ariana Mesaros, another senior on the team, in a voice hoarse from cheering the night before. “I am embarrassed to stand up here dressed like this. Is this really how you want Bridgeport to be represented?”
It is now! You go, girlies. B-E A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E!, and etc. Especially because recent research does confirm that cheerleaders — yes, especially those who wear midriff-baring uniforms — are at high risk for eating disorders. And, related: there’s an argument to be made that not considering cheerleading a sport might actually make it more physically dangerous. So let’s continue moving past the stereotypes — in schools and on screens — and, while we’re at it, cheer those Bridgeport girls on.
P.S. Anyone watching Hellcats?
Sexting, apparently, is a new trend in teen texting, which involves trading dirty messages and nude or sexually explicit photos. “It’s like flirting and just having a little fun,” say teens. Wow, how did we get here from college-ruled notes saying “check here if you like me”–?
Now, I don’t wanna judge — that’s what the comments below are for — because, as Jezebel points out “Early adolescents are going to test the boundaries of their sexuality and sexual expression whether their parents — or school districts — like it or not.” Furthermore, if something is truly bad, teens will probably learn their lesson themselves, Degrassi-style. Or by watching Degrassi, like we did back in my day.
Now if there were to be a Sexting episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation, it should probably touch on the following points: (Are you listening, Canada?)
- Girls: Don’t trust a teenage boy — any teenage boy — with a nude picture of yourself. Like, duh. And before you hit send on that message, imagine the picture being shared among the entire sleazy school administration, because that will happen. Plus, if you’re caught, you will be suspended from the cheerleading squad for being a slut, while the boys who passed the picture around will simply get off, in both senses of the phrase.
- Boys: You can be prosecuted under child-pornography laws. ‘Nuff said.
- Parents: Don’t buy your teen a phone with a camera.
- Mia: Call me!
Take one look at this picture and tell me that story is being covered EVERYWHERE out of serious concern for public health. Come on. It’s a CHEERLEADER who DIED during surgery for BREAST augmentation. In the meteorology of sex-and-death-sell headlines, it’s the perfect storm. It would have been enough the young woman had just been, you know, white and blond. But she is also a cheerleader. And oh, do we have a thing about cheerleaders. In high school, they stand to destroy our social lives. In Heroes, they stand to save the world. But while we’re busy thinking about cheerleaders doing everything but leading cheers, they are actually busy being insanely good athletes, performing superheroic stunts like the basket toss and — yes — the Superman. If you need reminding of that, or proof, check out this interview my alter ego did with Kate Torgovnick, author of Cheer!: Three Teams on a Quest for College Cheerleading’s Ultimate Prize. Hint: the “ultimate prize” is not popularity.