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Why be a cheerleader when stripping pays better?

"Channel Solid Gold" by Abe Atri, CC-G, via Wikimedia Commons
“Channel Solid Gold” (a strip club in Mexico City) by Abe Atri, CC-G, via Wikimedia Commons
"Washington Redskin Cheerleaders" by dbking, CC-G, via Wikimedia Commons
“Washington Redskin Cheerleaders” by dbking, CC-G, via Wikimedia Commons

Seriously. This is a legitimate question, and I’d love some responses.

But first, let me tell you how I got to this question.

A news story popped up because some new cheerleader outfits were being called too skimpy and revealing.

I went to check out the article, and there was a great quote from a guy who claimed that there was nothing wrong with the outfits that bear a striking resemblance to something found in Victoria’s Secret or Frederick’s of Hollywood. But, he was careful to note, his daughter (also a cheerleader) would never be allowed to wear something like that.   “‘I think they’re a little overdressed. Of course, I’ve got a daughter who’s a cheerleader down there, and she will not be wearing anything like that,’ said Dennis Stanek.

Ah, the joys of hypocrisy!

This whole exchange got me interested, though, in the careers of professional cheerleaders. Just why is it worth it for them to engage in cheering on these sports teams? What do they get out of it? Is it just, as the article says, that they “[cater] to that 14-year-old boy or even that 30-year-old woman that they can inspire”? (Which, I’d like to assure you, I find hard to believe – perhaps men of all ages, but unless you assume all women are lesbians, that “inspiration” is lacking.)

So I went and found another article, one that talked about the Redskin cheerleaders, just to use as an example.  The cheerleaders who make the cut get paid – are you ready? – a whopping $75 per home game performance!  Wow, huge bucks in that field!  Now, to be fair, they also receive a pair of season tickets, but, of course, they’re working during the games, so they have to give those away.  Now, here comes all the unpaid work: two to five practices a week, lasting up to six hours each; practicing and studying the choreography outside of the practices; exercising, tanning, dieting, etc. and all those other goodies that they have to do to keep up their “look;” and eight days every year for a calendar shoot (they don’t receive any proceeds from the calendar sale, FYI).  Then there are the game days themselves, which means that most of the cheerleaders are up early in the morning to get ready and be at the field before 8 a.m. for a 1 p.m. game.  Then, assuming all goes well, the cheerleaders are done by 6 p.m.  On top of that, the Redskins won’t state how much the cheerleaders make for their personal appearances at various locations (which the Redskins charge for), plus any of the images of the cheerleaders are used without any fees going to the women, even though the football players are paid for the use of their likenesses.

Sounding like a raw deal?

Let me also note that the average salary for an NFL football player is $770,000 a year (as of 2010 figures), although the low end is a measly $200,000 and the high end a whopping $1.4 million.   To play a sport, and sometimes, I might note, play it really, really poorly.  I wonder if cheerleaders would get contracts like that if they fumbled and dropped the ball, so to speak…

Regardless, let’s get real now.

Strippers.

Forbes, in October of 2011, had an awesome series on strippers.  The strippers they talked to earned a whole lot more than those cheerleaders, and, depending on where they were, sometimes wore just as much.  (Remember, some areas, do not allow full nudity…)  So, one woman earned anywhere from $23 to $31 an hour.  When she worked anywhere from 75 to 96 hours per month (how many hours do you put in? 160 or more?), she took home about $2,200 to $2,900 a month.  On top of that, she was able to deduct all of her expenses for waxing, costumes, make-up, etc.  Another woman they talked to earned up to $4,400 a month, again working only 9 days that month.  The women admit that age can lower their earnings, and some months are worse than others, but we’re still talking about performing in scanty outfits.

Let’s look at it this way:
Similarities: Must be in good physical condition.  Must keep up their appearance.  Must wear skimpy outfits and perform in public.
Differences: $75 for a full day’s work.  $120 for about 4 hours’ work.

So, again, let me ask the question: Why be a cheerleader when stripping pays better?

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What the Hell are the “Glamour Women of the Year Awards”?

By H16794 U.S. Copyright Office. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By H16794 U.S. Copyright Office. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It’s kind of sad I have to ask, but I just do.

Here’s the thing: I read the news.  Lots of news.  And I saw a link on my local news for “Glamour Women of the Year Awards.”  And it’s just a slideshow.  Thirty-four photos.  And some of the “thumbnails” are of the women’s waists.  Others are just faces.  And there is nothing on the page anywhere about what these awards are for.  It’s just a bunch of pretty faces.  Nothing to identify what these awards are for.

Okay, that’s odd…normally people care about what awards are for, right?  If we were looking at “Men of the Year Awards,” wouldn’t we care about what they were for?  Wouldn’t there be a mention somewhere?  Somehow?

But going to Glamour’s website doesn’t help.  Instead, there are great headlines that tell me that I should own dresses, know sex tips, and will be judged by my body.  Thanks, Glamour, that’s exactly what I was looking for!

I went ahead and Googled it, thinking maybe eventually I would find the information.  I could find only a single page that wasn’t a bunch of photos.  Celebrity-Gossip.net actually listed the awards and the winners.

Hmmm.  Helpful, but not too helpful.  Then I found it – the best page that told me the true purpose of the “awards.”  The Huffington Post stood up and shouted it – “This Week in Beauty: Best & Worst From the ‘Glamour’ Women of the Year Awards 2012.”   And how awesome, you can judge the women and rank them!  Cause, you know, the awards were only about how they looked.  What else could they be?  And if you check out the comments, it’s clear that is the only point of the awards.  People –both male and female – insult the women in the photos, making fun of their eyebrows, eyeshadow, and roots.

Yes, this is another rant.  But it’s a worthwhile rant.  Why don’t we notice these things?  Why don’t we call them out?  Why don’t we argue and shout and tell these people that we mind what they do?  There are only two options: we don’t mind, or we do and we keep quiet about it.  So let’s not keep quiet.  Let’s talk about it and argue and shout.  Because if we don’t, who will?

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Time to get scared – feminist rant #876 part A

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / AnatolyMSo for those who don’t know, Augusta National has a male-only membership policy.  It only seems to hit the news when it comes time for the Masters Tournament.

First off, let me say that I don’t care about golf.  Really.  I have always agreed with George Carlin’s position – “you found the ball, be happy, now go home.”  But a lot of people do care about it.  Apparently, they care about it more than they care about the fact that the club is for men only.

CNN quoted a woman from North Carolina who said that “she sees no need for Augusta to open membership to women and would not let the controversy detract from the tournament.”  She, and her mother, both say that they have no issues with it because they like “tradition” and they’ve “never had anyone that [they’ve] met here who has a problem with the way things are.”

I am sooooo happy that we like tradition.  Like whites’ only water fountains?  Women not allowed to check themselves out of hospitals without husbands or fathers?  I suppose they also have no problem with human slavery – it’s still going on – because it’s a tradition, too.

The only way we’re going to start fixing the problems is if we start seeing them.  We can’t excuse things as “tradition” and move on with our lives.  I understand the concept behind having private versus public organizations, and how people can be refused service, but isn’t there a whole anti-discrimination law going on here?  Something about how you can’t refuse service to someone based on race, creed, or color? Federal laws prohibit discrimination based on a person’s national origin, race, color, religion, disability, sex, and familial status.

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Wonder Woman…Maybe Not So Wonderful…

Yeah, it’s from 1975, and, yeah, we can’t be all too surprised that it’s horribly sexist, but wow.  Just wow.

The group of us have recently begun watching the original Wonder Woman series.  And the lines in it make all of us groan and shake our heads.  In the first episode, Woman Woman is hired as a secretary to replace the evil Nazi secretary for the “Air Force” Major Steve Trevor after she is ousted and found out.  They hire her because they need to find an ugly woman who won’t distract them with their looks – so they hire her because, while she’s good at typing, she’s a dog.  (Okay, maybe they didn’t call her a dog…wait, no, I think they did!)

And, shockingly, the episode was written by William Marsten and Stanley Ralph Ross.

We’re only on episode four, but each episode has at least a few lines that seem to be completely against the point of Wonder Woman – there is no female empowerment.  While she may have to save Steve (who seems awfully incompetent…which might explain how he managed to become a Major) in just about every episode, Woman Wonder does such classic things as lose her lasso and enter a beauty contest.

Out of these four episodes, only one – Wonder Woman Meets Baroness Von Gunther – includes a woman in the writing credits: Margaret Armen.

They recently tried to do a reboot, which, sadly, was not even as good as the original series.

So will we keep watching?  Yeah.  And will we keep being shocked and horrified by the view of women in 1975?  Definitely.

And that’s probably a very good thing.  If nothing else, it lets us know quite how far we’ve come.