Professional cheerleaders can be found across a range of sports including American football, basketball, rugby league and wrestling. They are particularly popular in the USA but can also be found in other countries. For example, many teams in the Australian National Rugby League are accompanied at matches by their own cheerleading squads. These squads are mainly made up of women, and are paid considerably less than the men who make up the teams that they support.
This debate is not about banning cheerleading as an extra-curricular activity in schools or at college, nor is it about banning amateur cheerleading competitions (those organised for cheerleading teams who are not paid). It should focus on the role of professional cheerleaders who exist specifically to support men’s sport teams, rather than to represent a school or college more generally.
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Hu, Winnie, ‘Equal Cheers for Boys and Girls Draw Some Boos’, The New York Times, 14 January 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/14/nyregion/14title.html?hp&ex=1168750800&en=372825a6878e22d5&ei=5094&partner=homepage
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Weeks, Adrienne, ‘The Health Benefits of Cheerleading.’ Livestrong.com, 14 June 2011, http://www.livestrong.com/article/418057-the-health-benefits-of-cheerleading/
Wikipedia, ‘National Football League Cheerleading’, en.wikipedia.org, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Football_League_Cheerleading
Wikipedia, ‘National Basketball Cheerleading’, en.wikipedia.org, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Basketball_Association_Cheerleading