Maybe Cheerleading Isn’t Unethical, It’s Just Useless And Encourages Unethical Values…Like In This Case


In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Raffaela Spone anonymously sent the coaches of her high school student daughter’s cheerleading squad “deepfake’ photos and videos that depicted the girl’s competitors nude, drinking, or smoking to get them kicked off the team. She also sent the manipulated images to the girls, and urged them to kill themselves, Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub’s office said.

Nice! Of course, the woman is insane. Still, there have been far too many episodes like this. One is too many.

On a utilitarian scale, cheerleading is so deep in negative territory that it couldn’t see the positive side with super-vision. It is, of course, the epitome of presenting girls and women as sex objects while pretending that it is something else. The alleged function, “leading cheers,” is gratuitous and annoying, like those “Cheer!” commands on baseball park electronic scoreboards, or “Charge!” trumpet riff. Home crowds know when to cheer; I’ll cheer when I feel like it, thanks: BACK OFF!

But everyone knows that’s not why cheerleading squads exist. In pro sports, they are blatant eye-candy for middle-aged male fans and sexual prey for the players. Otherwise, why not have male cheerleaders? (Yes, yes, I know some schools have them). As an earlier post here pointed out,

Having a cheerleading squad is itself what I call a “pre-unethical condition.” The squads and the tradition have always been overtly sexual in nature, with the cheerleaders the object of male fantasies in magazines, movies and student bodies.  The culture of cheerleading is a Bizarro World ethics problem: how can the activity be ethical, equitable, fair and inoffensive to non-participants when it is based on appearance and attractiveness to the opposite sex? Unattractive teens don’t get to be cheerleaders. Being chosen signifies, in the social strata of high school and college, that a student is desirable and an appropriate object of male lust. Cheerleading is objectification by definition.

Meanwhile, the level of competition for the teams is often absurdly intense, leading to the emergence of nutballs like Mama Spone.

If girls and women have a passion to dress in skimpy costumes and jump around with pom-poms while treating male athletes like gods, there’s no reason for schools to accommodate those desires. But…but…it’s a sport! Right. It was repackaged as a sport to rationalize the conduct.

I note that the Washington, D.C, NFL Football Team, nameless after caving to demands to dump “Redskins” because a black addict died under a white cop’s knee in Minnesota—now there’s a nexus!—responded to its sexual harassment scandal by eliminating the cheerleader squad. How odd, since it was just an innocent way to rev up the crowd.

As I ended the post about another jaw-dropping cheerleading episode a year ago,

On balance, the world would be a better place if cheerleading by all-female squads ended. It encourages and reinforces unethical attitudes and encourages societally harmful conduct by both women and men. I assume that the culture in Kenosha is hopeless: the coaches should be sacked, and the cheerleading program should be eliminated….Its existence will always be a pre-unethical condition.

13 thoughts on “Maybe Cheerleading Isn’t Unethical, It’s Just Useless And Encourages Unethical Values…Like In This Case

  1. I wonder if this squad cheers on the teams or is one if those competitive group gymnastics teams masquerading as cheer squads who engage in death defying acts of physical terror by throwing some one 38 feet into the air. Maybe that’s a distinction without a difference. Maybe it isn’t. I suspect it is the latter, which had taken on an obsessive character.


    • From what I have seen, team members are former gymnasts who are no longer able to compete in gymnastics because of one too many destroyed knees, ankles, backs, shoulders, and other crushed limbs.

  2. “a black addict” died under a white cop’s knee?…what is the nexus between George Floyd’s killing and his being an “addict”?…or is your point that he deserved to die because he was an “addict”, so Derek Chauvin was just doing him a favor?

    • My point is that there was and is no logical nexus between a local law enforcement incident in Minneapolis that had nothing to do with race and the need for the Washington Redskins to change their name. If you can identify one, please do…I’d love to read the argument.

      Why “addict”? Because the medical examiners said that Floyd’s death was al least in part due to all the controlled substances he had taken, including fentanyl. His drug habit, and not his race, was a major factor in his death. If the team was called the Washington Fentanyls, THEN the teams’s name change might have had some connection to Floyd’s death.

      And try to keep up: Since the evidence doesn’t show that Chauvin “killed” Floyd, I wouldn’t suggest he was doing Floyd a favor. You really haven’t been following that case at all, have you? Just repeating BLM talking points? In the end, it will be impossible to determine beyond a reasonable doubt that Chauvin “killed” Floyd, much less that he intended to do so, and even less that he was motivated by racism. So, again, it was absurd for the episode to have any influence on the Redskins cave whatsoever. Which is what I wrote. And it’s true.

      • “His drug habit, and not his race, was a major factor in his death.”? Quoting Blue LIves Matter talking points is equally unconvincing. So Derek Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 45 seconds, while he screamed for his mother, NOT because he was big & black, but because he was an addict? “But for” Derek Chauvin’s utterly inhumane conduct, George Floyd would still be alive. Derek Chauvin, NOT DRUGS, killed George Floyd.

        • That’s just not true, Kelly. The fact that he was big, ranting, and resisting arrest was indeed the reason that APPROVED police technique was employed. Your assumption that his race played a part marks you as a propagandist: no investigation, no past history, suggests that Chauvan is racially biased, and the news organizations have been searching.

          So this is presumed racism, because Chauvin was white and a cop—indeed anti-white racism. There is every reason to believe he would have treated a big white guy the same way.

          Floyd would be alive if he wasn’t stuffed to the gills with illegal drugs. He also had the Wuhan Virus, meaning that the CDC would list him as a pandemic victim, but that’s not really germain.

          You know neither the law nor the facts, yet you still defend a baseless opinion. Not good.

      • Are you seriously trying to argue that Chauvin’s conduct did NOT rise to the level of a “serious disregard for human life”, which is the standard for manslaughter? Last time I checked someone who commits manslaughter “kills” the other person.

        • I’m stating that 1.) in the U.S. you are innocent until proven guilty, so stating as fact that which hasn’t been proven is irresponsible 2) Since the knee on the neck is approved police technique on the force Chauvin belonged to, using it on Floyd is defensible 3) The medical report says that Floyd was overdosing on Fentanyl, which causes breathing difficulty.

          Yes, Chauvin’s conduct may not have risen to the level of “serious disregard for human life” gievn teh circumstances, and even if he is convicted on that charge, I doubt it can hold up on appeal.

  3. You missed the most important point of being a cheerleader; status. Cheerleaders are among the highest-status girls in high school. Being a cheerleader is to be important. Being a cheerleader means that you can have the valedictorian removed from the front of the line at graduation and sent to the middle of the line just with your word (still a little bitter about that). Being a cheerleader means not having to follow the rules and getting special treatment. If you are a cheerleader, you are going to get A’s in your classes no matter what you do. Their role on the field is negligible. The real benefit is the status and special treatment the girls get in school.

    • All of which flows from this, in the quoted essay, “Being chosen signifies, in the social strata of high school and college, that a student is desirable and an appropriate object of male lust.”

  4. I dated a cheerleader in HS; one of my closest friends was a cheerleader too. The unstated reason for the existence of the cheer-leading squad is the need for a status-granting group on par with the football team for males. While her being a cheerleader was not a reason for dating this girl, being with her gave me a status bump (I was not a football player, and my greatest status-granting position was as one of the organizers of the UN Model.) At least my HS/college kept the dangerous stunts under control, issued relatively modest outfits, and allowed males in the squad too. It would be great if there was an actual athletics team that granted the same social benefits as being a cheerleader, but forcing that seems a little too close to re-engineering society in ways I’m not comfortable with.

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