Infographic Suggesting Cheerleaders Need to Look a Certain Way Sparks Body Shaming Controversy

The University of Washington posted an infographic that is angering many. (Photo: Facebook)

Want to be a cheerleader at the University of Washington? Well never mind your ability to perform a high flying basket toss or catch a flying hunan, your appearance is of the upmost importance.

The Husky cheer and dance team released an infographic on their Facebook page listing do’s and don’ts for all of those trying out. The dress code is as follows:

Makeup do’s: Bronze, beachy glow, false lashes, girl about town lipstick, flattering eyeshadow
Makeup don’ts: Dark, smokey eyes, nude lips, too much makeup, harsh lines/contours/colors

Body do’s: Physically fit, athletic physique, nude or no fingernail polish, natural tan/spray tan
Body don’ts: Jewelry of any kind, visible tattoos, distracting fingernail polish

Hair do’s: Hair down, curled or straight, volume, partially off face
Hair don’ts: Ponytails, slicked back, trendy colors

Attire do’s: Solid black sports bra, mid-rise black shorts, cheer shoes, jazz shoes
Attire dont’s: Colors other than solid black, tops that cover the midriff, high-waisted shorts, running shoes

Athletic officials noted that they made the guide “in response to a high volume of student questions about cheer and dance team tryouts.” Yet shortly after being posted on Facebook, it was removed after commenters complained.

“I think it’s really upsetting and kind of disheartening the way it’s basically asking these women who want to try out to perform their femininity — but not too much,” Signe Burchim, a UW senior, told the Seattle TimesClay Thompson, a Seattle resident, shared the image on his Facebook page in order to “ensure that the University of Washington addresses the overt racism (I know there’s more, but let’s start there) in the ad, but also addresses it with whomever created this and approved it and thinks this way.”

Others expressed their dismay as well, includingJessica Bruce who noted that superficial requirements for a sport “are problematic aspects of cheerleading in the first place, but having them as “criteria” for try-outs seems like a way to arbitrarily decide some girls are just not hot enough and then blame the decision on “the wrong lipstick.”” Marja Moore noted that some hopefuls who “don’t subscribe to the magazines that promote this type of profiling in society” are discriminated against. For Leslie Martinka, the post was personal. “When I was a cheerleader we worked so hard to be considered a sport,” she wrote. “This infographic goes against what we fought for. We don’t ask the same of any other athletes.” Red McPanda agreed and noted that this is “just another obnoxious aspect of college football culture.”

In a statement, the school said that it came to the determination “that some of the details and descriptions provided were inconsistent with the values of the UW spirit program and department of athletics.”

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