University of Washington is currently in a hot water after it released a flyer on their cheerleader tryouts that detailed what a cheerleader wannabe should or should not do to get a spot. The list was claimed to be both sexist and racist.
The cheerleader tryouts flyer was posted on the university’s Facebook page and immediately received harsh comments. The said poster seemed to reinforce sexual and racial stereotypes and as a result, it quickly gained objections from the people who had seen the poster.
Shown in the poster was a young woman wearing skimpy shorts and sports bra with arrows each pointing in different part of her body with advice on how to groom and what to wear. In a report by Seattle Times, those who wanted to be part of the Husky cheer and dance team should come to the tryouts with “bronze, beachy glow, false lashes, girl about town lipstick, flattering eye shadow.”
They also encourage the wannabe’s to have “natural and spray tans.” For the makeup, they do not need to have flash “dark, smokey eyes” or wear “too much makeup.” What was not allowed were “nude lips” and “hair in a ponytail”.
Jazmine Perez, director of programming for student government at the University of Washington said via email, “One of the first things that comes mind is objectification and idealization of Western beauty, which are values I would like to believe the University doesn’t want to perpetuate.” To which she added, “As a student of color who looks nothing like the student in the poster, this feels very exclusive.”
Husky athletic officials said that the graphic poster was created due to a lot of inquiries about the cheer and dance tryouts. It was removed after they had “determined that some of the details and descriptions provided were inconsistent with the values of the UW spirit program and department of athletics.”
A resident of Seattle had posted it on Facebook so that the university could address the issue of racism implied in the poster. For him the poster was “offensive, exclusionary and ignorant. Those are not values of Seattle or the Puget Sound community.”
NBC News reported, University of Washington said, “An advertisement such as this completely objectifies women and creates barriers that only perpetuates the inaccessibility of opportunities that should be open for every student on this campus.”
U.S. Education Department’s Title IX regulations mandated equality in public institutions. Most public colleges and universities have categorized cheerleading and spirit dance as sports. A representative of the Varsity shared that she had never heard of any visually bold depiction of what a cheerleader must be.
There are also some who cannot see what is so racist and sexist about the advert though. Some said everyone is just being sensitive and much ado about nothing!
Below are some of the interesting reactions.
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