Male Cheerleading is a Sport!

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Male Cheerleading is a Sport!

Against popular belief, females were not the founders behind the sport of cheerleading; instead males who were so eager to cheer while watching sporting events created this sport. In the 1890's the first pep club was organized at Princeton University, and it was there where the first organized yell was recorded. The University of Minnesota organized cheerleading and the first school "fight song." Women didn't get introduced to cheerleading until the 1920s when gymnastics was slowly introduced to the sport. Cheerleading didn't become a predominantly woman sport until the 1950's. Today there are more then three thousand high school and college cheerleaders in the United States. 97% of all cheerleaders are female; however, approximately 50% of collegiate Cheerleaders are male. Although males were the founders of cheerleading they have different social and cultural costs and benefits than females involved in this sport today. There are many different stereotypes that males need to face; and these labels stem from the current day problem of homophobia.

When a man enters the world of cheerleading he is immediately labeled as being effeminate. These males are faced with the task of overcoming society's stereotypes of a male Barbie figure. Ken, Barbie's male counterpart is a muscular, preppy, and all American boy. These qualities often lead society to label those males that have these characteristics as gay. Many generalizations are made that gay men are not athletic and therefore would turn to cheerleading as their sport of interest. To many homophobic people cheerleading is therefore deemed as a sport for sissies. They claim that cheerleaders are there solely for looks and entertainment purposes out...

... middle of paper ... because they provide them with strength needed to perform difficult stunts.

Society often labels an activity a sport if it is rugged, requires endurance, strength, and masculine qualities. Because cheerleading is a predominantly women sport and is characterized by attractive uniforms and cheers, society often shuns the idea of men participating in this activity. Often times the activity is not considered a sport and the males and females are not considered athletes. Both males and females have to fight to encourage others to perceive them as athletes. In 1997, only one all female division participated in the NCAA all-collegiate cheer and dance team national championships. This proves the point that despite the social and cultural costs involved, males are still eager to participate in the sport that they originally founded and feel many more benefits as well.

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