Girls, travel, rockets, transport, hotels, films, Martinis, wine, music, food and ranting!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Superbowl Cheerleaders: Seattle v New England


Seattle


It's Super Sunday today and Agent Triple P will be staying up late to watch the Superbowl as he has done for the last thirty years (this is our thirtieth anniversary game).  Here in Britain American Football is still regarded with some suspicion and not a little derision.  Reasons for this include the winners of the Superbowl calling themselves the World Champions (so, which other countries compete, exactly?), the padding and helmets (Rugby players don't ask for all that protection) and the existence of cheerleaders.  Whenever the new regular season games take place in London much is made of the presence of cheerleaders because they are such an alien concept here.  About the time we started watching American football we had a girlfriend who had gone to college in Miami.  Her best friend (who was British) went to live there when we knew her.  She was a keen sportswoman but was appalled by the attitude to women in sports she found in the US.  As she said, women's role seemed to be to prance around on the sidelines, wearing very little and going "ra ra ra!"


New England


Recently we have been watching, in slightly appalled fascination, the series Dallas Cheerleaders making the Team now, somewhat surprisingly considering the repetitive nature of the show, on its tenth season.  This reality show looks at the hundreds of young women trying out every year to join the squad.  We had appreciated that cheerleaders had to be fit, attractive and good at dancing but the level of punishment these girls have to go through to make the team was surprising.    The worst aspects seem to be abusive dance teachers, constant monitoring of weight (they have to go through a body mass assessment), long hours of training and a viciously competitive selection process.   All for what are notoriously bad wages.  Most girls seem to earn about $5 and hour and some teams don't pay anything at all, despite the dedication required.  They only get paid for game day, and they only perform at home games and make around $70-$150 for that.  They don't get paid for the up to six hours a day practice required.  Some teams even make their cheerleaders buy their own uniforms.  


Seattle


Even worse, the teams make a lot of money from cheerleaders merchandise with Dallas bringing in around $1 million a year (mainly from the cheerleaders swimsuit calendar).  The teams seem to think that because so many women want to be cheerleaders then why pay them properly?   The salaries for an entire squad for the season are less than half of one player on the non-playing practice team.


New England


Really, we are surprised that there isn't more of a storm about their existence at all.  To their credit only the New York Giants don't have cheerleaders for ethical reasons; the other teams who don't are located in very cold parts of the country.  


New England


Now Agent Triple P enjoys seeing fit young women dancing about but would feel happier if we felt they were getting paid for the commercial benefits they bring to very big business.  The teams, by seemingly arguing that they are giving the women an outlet for a dance hobby, are being hypocritical at best and exploitative at worst.  It's not like they are going to marry a rich footballer as most teams forbid fraternisation with the players. 


Seattle


At least both squads get to travel to the Superbowl game.  So let's spare a thought for the other athletes working out for four hours today!

2 comments:

  1. Cheerleading is also the most dangerous sport for women in the US.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10310848/Cheerleading-most-dangerous-sport-for-US-women.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lot's of groin strain, I would imagine!

    ReplyDelete