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.