University Tells Would-Be Cheerleaders How to Look

University of Washington infographic goes over like a ton of bricks
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2016 4:03 AM CDT
College Tells Would-Be Cheerleaders How to Look
The offending graphic.   (Facebook)

Newsflash: Cheerleaders should not sport ponytails. This according to a now-pulled infographic posted to Facebook by the University of Washington cheerleading team on Monday. It was ostensibly a guide for would-be Huskies, as cheerleader tryouts begin Friday. Instead, the list of Dos and Don'ts—which specified that "nude lips" are out, as are "tops that cover the midriff," while "natural tan/spray tan" and Girl About Town Lipstick (a $17 option from MAC) are in—sparked a backlash, and was wiped from Facebook early Tuesday. The Seattle Times reports that Husky athletics officials said they came up with the graphic after fielding "a high volume of student questions about cheer and dance team tryouts." Now they're fielding something else: complaints about racism and objectification.

"As a student of color who looks nothing like the student in the poster, this feels very exclusive," student Jazmine Perez, director of programming for student government, tells the Times. Louisiana State University and Washington State University have produced similar graphics, with NBC News pointing out the other two schools did so "apparently to little controversy," even though all three "are remarkably similar, boasting women with relatively straight, shoulder-length blonde hair." At Sporting News, Haley Sawyer makes the "exhausting argument" she's made ad nauseam: Cheerleading is a sport. Girls "put in hours on the mats, they get banged up doing all kinds of stunts, and they have to memorize hours of choreography." But that reality will continue to be supplanted by a layer of superficiality "until mistakes like Washington's are stamped out." (More cheerleaders stories.)

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