My new favorite blogger, Amy S., posted this little nugget recently from Rebecca Lee, a White Mischief cheerleader:
“I went to Florida State University, and Cumberland School of Law, and I am actually a practising attorney. I have passed my board. I can do my work on the internet. I do a lot of boring contract stuff. Some people try to make us out as dumb girls, but cheerleading is on its way to become an Olympic sport, and so it’s quite a serious sport.”
Lee makes one good point and one bad one. She’s correct when she says people are wrong to paint cheerleaders as “dumb girls,” because, as Lee notes, we don’t really know a thing about their intelligence. On the other hand, Lee is wrong because cheerleading actively encourages this sort of discourse. It reduces women to dancing objects whose sole purpose is to celebrate and cheer the actions of the men. Cheerleaders have absolutely no agency; they are supporting acts and little more than eye candy.
So, if people wrongly say you’re stupid, Rebecca, it’s because that’s what cheerleading projects. Now, I’m sure it requires a fair amount of skill and verve and if it does become an Olympic sport, more power to it. But in the IPL context, cheerleading says only one thing: shut up, pretty woman, and dance for the men. And, by and large, it seems to have worked. After all, it convinced an apparently intelligent lawyer who contracts by day to dance for the Royal Challengers Bangalore at night.