Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Bloomin' Shame (I Think)

Recently, on Yahoo, there was an article about teenaged cheerleaders in Connecticut who protested their exceedingly revealing uniforms to their school officials. Like anyone else, I cheer the cheerleaders for not wanting to be sex objects, especially when the world around them seems to encourage them to do so. You might imagine that the writer of that article is in their corner, but then you can see that the "read more" link on the opening paragraph says: "see their get ups."

See their get ups? So, the lure for reading the full article about cheerleaders who are protesting being treated like pieces of meat is to tempt the reader into wanting to see . . . more of their . . . meat. Uh, right?

Or, was the writer trying to teach us something about our lascivious selves? Maybe? I dunno.

Within the article, there is a link that entices us to "see professional cheerleaders in action," while, directly above this link, the writer discusses the correlation between anorexia and bare-midriff uniforms worn by college cheerleaders.

But maybe instead of blaming the writer, we should wonder if there is some automated program that shows "relevant" links (as far as the computers know). Are the Yahoo machines finding articles related to cheer leading and, in perfect computer fashion, totally missing the irony of what they are advertising in conjunction with this article about these refreshingly self-respecting girls?

Whatever the source, the melange of messages here is fairly indicative of the shape our cultural morality is in -- maybe that it has always been in. Just loads and loads of paradoxical signals. And loads and loads of arbitrary decisions about what is considered appropriate.

Bloomers, for instance. One day after school, in high school, I was sitting with some friends and some of the cheerleaders in the hallway outside our gym. The cheerleaders were goofing around and one of them turned a handspring in her short uniform skirt, which, of course, flew up. Another cheerleader exclaimed, "Oh, no, Carla! You forgot to put your bloomers on!" Carla turned beat red, and nearly cried, until the other girl revealed that it had been a joke -- she'd had them on. But it got me thinking: What, exactly, was the difference between the bloomers and underwear? Then it occurred to me: a societal definition. That was it.

In short, someone, somewhere, had decided it was okay to do back flips in a short skirt, as long as a girl wears underwear over her underwear. Ah. I get it. This must be the same reasoning that makes it okay to show two people moaning, sweating and bouncing around in a bed (under covers) at one in the afternoon on a soap opera, but makes it not okay to show a woman or a man naked on a Discovery Channel documentary about evolution at eleven o'clock at night.

At any rate, the school board of the Connecticut high school is going to purchase black body suits for the girls to wear under their revealing uniforms. Which makes perfect sense.


  1. I couldn't agree more, Mr. Mat. This whole generation is so over-sexed it's gotten to the point where any so called act of "physical love" has lost all meaning. Sex and Love are just clever marketing ploys nowadays.

  2. Unfortunately, Mike, no one is to blame but the "grown-ups" for sending a barrage of conflicting and damaging images out. You're right -- marketing is the goal. See my wife's blog (Karen's Blog) at the right -- she did a cool article today on marketing to kids.