11 Cheerleading Stereotypes Debunked
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11 Cheerleading Stereotypes Debunked

It's time to set the record straight.

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11 Cheerleading Stereotypes Debunked

As retired competitive cheerleader, naturally, I was glued to my phone last weekend awaiting the results of UCA College Nationals. Coincidentally, while I was anxiously waiting for Twitter updates, I came across a "Bring It On" marathon. While watching, I realized how many things in cheerleading were falsely portrayed and felt it was my personal responsibility to put a stop to this.

It's time to debunk these atrocities.

1. You don't have to be permanently peppy to cheer.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F01%2F20%2F635889130698907102-814141222_cheer%25201.gif&ho=http%3A%2F%2Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com&s=441&h=a8162c4c7824f135f20e7e756eb6165097557aa0d3dca7ca7eb1060fc038cb3f&size=980x&c=2509505968 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F01%252F20%252F635889130698907102-814141222_cheer%2525201.gif%26ho%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com%26s%3D441%26h%3Da8162c4c7824f135f20e7e756eb6165097557aa0d3dca7ca7eb1060fc038cb3f%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2509505968%22%7D" expand=1]

Are we supposed to smile? Yes, but that doesn't mean that we like it all the time.

2. Cheerleaders don't only cheer at games.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F01%2F20%2F6358891316144199951278805500_cheer%25202.gif&ho=http%3A%2F%2Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com&s=966&h=cada9a354501736cc7629129eae3e5cd027bdfcaad190d47cb92343a877dc74f&size=980x&c=3787996807 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F01%252F20%252F6358891316144199951278805500_cheer%2525202.gif%26ho%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com%26s%3D966%26h%3Dcada9a354501736cc7629129eae3e5cd027bdfcaad190d47cb92343a877dc74f%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3787996807%22%7D" expand=1]

Some cheerleaders like to cheer on the sidelines, but many of them live to compete. Cheering at games is just a stop along the way.

3. Cheerleaders are athletes.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F01%2F20%2F6358891337362268961774234073_cheer%25203.gif&ho=http%3A%2F%2Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com&s=415&h=2530351ef11d6e9b65f02eba26b32933a8251720abd29eadbf37f4d035b00da8&size=980x&c=1201380041 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F01%252F20%252F6358891337362268961774234073_cheer%2525203.gif%26ho%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com%26s%3D415%26h%3D2530351ef11d6e9b65f02eba26b32933a8251720abd29eadbf37f4d035b00da8%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1201380041%22%7D" expand=1]


They run, they lift, they condition, they stunt, they tumble. They also happen to occasionally throw people in the air (sometimes two at once). These things do require athleticism.

4. All male cheerleaders are not gay.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F01%2F20%2F6358891521672697521396364114_cheer%2520100.gif&ho=http%3A%2F%2Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com&s=647&h=34fb2f5a4b6d2d28e34039dcc4303696c3d706de3dc02d3e5873be2859920fa2&size=980x&c=915410932 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F01%252F20%252F6358891521672697521396364114_cheer%252520100.gif%26ho%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com%26s%3D647%26h%3D34fb2f5a4b6d2d28e34039dcc4303696c3d706de3dc02d3e5873be2859920fa2%26size%3D980x%26c%3D915410932%22%7D" expand=1]

Can they cheer, stunt, and tumble? Yes. But that does not mean that they're gay. Male cheerleaders are awesome, no matter what their sexual orientation is.

5. Spirit sticks are not like our gods.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F01%2F20%2F635889138683827474962487299_cheer%25205.gif&ho=http%3A%2F%2Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com&s=4&h=9d5998692f721134178df2b1be7576d3f14eef9ff603b17396e727073bfe1996&size=980x&c=2993594643 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F01%252F20%252F635889138683827474962487299_cheer%2525205.gif%26ho%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com%26s%3D4%26h%3D9d5998692f721134178df2b1be7576d3f14eef9ff603b17396e727073bfe1996%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2993594643%22%7D" expand=1]

Spirit sticks exist, but no cheerleader cares about them after middle school. You don't get cursed if you drop one on the floor either.


6. Cheerleading is very dangerous.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F01%2F20%2F6358891410967223811673562976_cheer%25206.gif&ho=http%3A%2F%2Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com&s=432&h=a82c4d1b3b602d389bb054e7f7477246c18f2fd94a9821fb1c5d17750ef37194&size=980x&c=1289541199 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F01%252F20%252F6358891410967223811673562976_cheer%2525206.gif%26ho%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com%26s%3D432%26h%3Da82c4d1b3b602d389bb054e7f7477246c18f2fd94a9821fb1c5d17750ef37194%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1289541199%22%7D" expand=1]

Cheerleading is deemed the most dangerous sport for girls, and with good reason. According to alligator.com, a recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics in October found that cheerleading is the most dangerous sport for females because of the high risk for concussions and “catastrophic” injuries.

7. If another team does the same cheer as us, the world will not end.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F01%2F20%2F635889149946702797269686188_cheer%252099.gif&ho=http%3A%2F%2Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com&s=782&h=33dcc79fcd59acdb4bf2ec6c5255d0b244f41930318f53fa6fce245eb5b33171&size=980x&c=1947009473 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F01%252F20%252F635889149946702797269686188_cheer%25252099.gif%26ho%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com%26s%3D782%26h%3D33dcc79fcd59acdb4bf2ec6c5255d0b244f41930318f53fa6fce245eb5b33171%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1947009473%22%7D" expand=1]

In "Bring It On," the Clovers hated the Tauros for stealing their cheers. In real life, nobody would care. However, if a team steals part of another team's routine that is a huge deal... not cool.

8. Cheerleaders are not girly girls.

Not all cheerleaders love all the bows, glitter, and lipstick. We lift weights, take ice baths, and get black eyes, too. Just because we wear skirts doesn't mean that we like it.

9. All cheerleaders are not popular bitches.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F01%2F20%2F635889148498711031-1881352581_cheer%252088.gif&ho=http%3A%2F%2Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com&s=686&h=501d971ee259de96a21d024a4b180ca5313e0f69552fa88fd1f9c2aa73a7a7df&size=980x&c=2589733928 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F01%252F20%252F635889148498711031-1881352581_cheer%25252088.gif%26ho%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com%26s%3D686%26h%3D501d971ee259de96a21d024a4b180ca5313e0f69552fa88fd1f9c2aa73a7a7df%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2589733928%22%7D" expand=1]

As cliche as it sounds, don't judge a book by its cover. Just like any other team, if there are 25 people on a team, that means there are 25 different personalities. Don't assume -- get to know them.

10. All cheerleaders don't like to dance.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F01%2F20%2F635889153772368708-316832307_cheer%2520998.gif&ho=http%3A%2F%2Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com&s=331&h=357322832f8f8d810a952bb38c1dacf46d8a80a72815a8d515596ed0711a0543&size=980x&c=2754123296 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F01%252F20%252F635889153772368708-316832307_cheer%252520998.gif%26ho%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com%26s%3D331%26h%3D357322832f8f8d810a952bb38c1dacf46d8a80a72815a8d515596ed0711a0543%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2754123296%22%7D" expand=1]

I can personally attest to the fact that this is true. I have never cared for dancing and neither do many of the people I've cheered with. There is a reason that certain people are always in the back.

11. Cheerleading is hard.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F01%2F20%2F635889146398544814-1216846127_cheer%25207.gif&ho=http%3A%2F%2Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com&s=411&h=b5baafbd33d0a1b6ba05d422b89a3161a1d095debbcb968d833a0f5185cf5125&size=980x&c=1147351944 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F01%252F20%252F635889146398544814-1216846127_cheer%2525207.gif%26ho%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com%26s%3D411%26h%3Db5baafbd33d0a1b6ba05d422b89a3161a1d095debbcb968d833a0f5185cf5125%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1147351944%22%7D" expand=1]

Like any sport, cheerleading at a high level is challenging. Tumbling and stunting require mental and physical strength. Good teams work hard and put in long hours to get the results that they want. Just because they use pompoms doesn't mean that it's easy.

Also, congratulations on my favorite teams for winning nationals. Go University of Kentucky, Indiana University, and Hofstra University!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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