I will grant you that competitive cheerleading at the high school and college level is a real sport and that what we see on NFL sidelines is just an excuse to sell calendars. So when I saw this story out of Nebraska, I was confused. An 11-year-old girl who was thrown off a Nebraska elementary school’s junior cheerleading squad because she refused to “shake her booty” says that while the gyrations may get the bleachers rocking, she doesn’t think young girls should be moving their bodies like that.
“It just felt wrong. I don’t know why,” Faylene Frampton said last week during an interview on TODAY. “It just didn’t feel it was a cheer that was appropriate for kids of my age or younger.”
The cheer calls upon Faylene and younger members of the squad — including some in the second grade — to turn their backs to the bleachers, bend over, and move their pelvises from side to side.
My question is why did she join the squad in the first place? We’re a patriarchal society that likes to have the womenfolk dress up in skimpy outfits and shake their moneymaker as long as they’re under 50 (and in some states 35). What did she think they did on the cheerleading squad– other than do dance and gymnastics routines and shake pom-poms?
Maybe she has a point I’ve never been to Ashland, Nebraska perhaps young girls run the risk of exciting the town’s dirty old men. Frankly, unless you are in grade school or junior high the thought of an 11 year old cheerleader bumping and grinding should repulse you. But then again this is America where we like to tart up out little girls and then we get shocked when confronted by a tragedy like the slaying of child “beauty queen” JonBenet Ramsey.
Ok, so things are bit racier than I imagined in Nebraska. Good for Ms. Frampton for saying no to early indoctrination into our shallow appearance based patriarchal society. Then what’s up with the 6 year old in Michigan who got tossed off her pep squad?
Apparently, 6-year-old Kennedy Tesch was removed from her cheerleading squad in Michigan because she didn’t like the wording of a cheer — which included the term “booty.” Did we all forget the 1970s, when booty was a frequent sitcom punchline? It showed up in popular songs!
When did everyone become a prude? I can think of a lot of words and phrases that are much more offensive than “booty”. Frampton is right for wanting control over her body; Tesch is being overly sensitive. If the pep squad called it, a “backside” or a “backfield” would that be more in keeping with her delicate sensibilities.