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Sep 27

Cheerleading Uniforms Today – A little too spirited for school?

Original photo by connor millin http://www.flickr.com/photos/connormillin/

I ran across an article today about a school, banning its
cheerleaders from wearing their uniforms to class.

Then, I checked out a couple of search engines, and found
several more.

It would seem that the current trends in cheer fashion are
not in line with the dress codes for many schools, and it sounds to me like the
cheerleaders are getting the short end of the stick here, getting muddled
expectations from different directions.

Now, really, I have sort of mixed feelings about this, and I’m
not sure that there is any one answer.

On the one hand, when I was in high school, my cheer skirt
was nowhere near as short as is popular today (and no, it wasn’t all that long
ago), and I still wasn’t entirely comfortable wearing it to school at least
once a week. I was pasty, I was skinny so I was always cold, it was seriously
not comfortable to sit in a high school desk with a plastic chair in a
polyester skirt, and the stupid thing was a pain to wash. I was thrilled when
we got to wear our warm ups. I can’t imagine my awkward teenage self having to
wear the shorter a-line skirts that some high schools wear now. Nor do I think
it’s appropriate to let some girls wear what amount to mini skirts, when every
other girl in school can’t wear shorts that come up above their knees.

On the other hand, it is a sports uniform. In most cases, an
administration approved sports uniform. At my high school, before football
games, the football players wore their jerseys to school, and the basketball
team wore t-shirts or something similar. I would argue that the cheer team is
just as much a part of the school, so they should be allowed to wear some
incarnation of their team uniform. Their function at school events and games is
to rally the students, spectators and crowd, and yes, a uniform is part of
that.

Oh, but wait, as Rita Arens points out in her article, “A
Former Cheerleader on the Piedmont Hills Cheerleading Uniform Ban in School
” on
the Blogher.com website, “Picture a high school boy walking through school in a
wrestling singlet. That is about as revealing as a cheerleading skirt. Would we
ask him to do it? Would we let him do it even if he wanted to?”

All things are not exactly equal in the wide world of high
school sports.

Cheerleaders are a part of the school, they’re a team, it’s a
sport, and if the administration approves their uniforms they should get to
wear them. But do they get to wear them everywhere? The football team doesn’t wear
their full uniform to classes on game days, the track team doesn’t wear their
shorts, the swim team doesn’t wear their suits, and, as Rita points out, the
wresting team doesn’t wear their cute little outfits. For schools where the
dress code is at odds with what it is practical for the cheer team to wear (or
what the cheer team has elected to wear, with both practicality, and the latest
cheer fashions in mind), what is a school to do?

Arens’ article about a ban on cheerleading skirts in school features
a high school in Northern California, but it would seem that other high schools
in Connecticut (Article by Stephanie O’Connell), and Florida (Article by news4jax.com) have been going through similar growing pains. Of
course there are probably many, many more across the country, and since I find
it doubtful that many parents would lobby to do away with school dress codes,
it begs the question, how far off are we from the start of a trend of longer
skirts, or uniform alternatives for high school squads?

I sense compromise, and interesting changes on the horizon….

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1 comment

  1. Reggie Higashi

    Good points. I don’t think any athlete whether they are a cheerleader or football player or basketball player should be in game uniform during school. It causes attention both positive and negative. I think warmups or other cheer related te apparel such as team t-shirts with jeans would be appropriate.
    Perception is big as cheer is increasing in athleticism and considered a sport in many venues. If u look at the Univ. Of Oregon’s Acrobatics cheer team uniform, it’s style is far from the skirt image. I think it will transition in the next 5 years from collegiate down. Just unfortunately professional cheerleaders have a different look that creates misconceptions and perpetuates the scantily clad eye candy stereotypes that have givw another perception.

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