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October 08, 2010

Hey, Did Anyone See The Penn & Teller Show on Cheerleading?

Content Warning because they say the F word a lot and of course have to have naked cheerleaders a couple of times.

But watch it when you can. Part two here and apologies in advance to the libertarians I'm about to piss off.

Here's the deal: The most dangerous sport in high school and college is cheerleading, except it's not, because no one will call it a sport and therefore put efforts into increasing safety and the like.

Penn & Teller are doctrinaire libertarians, and so they can't say here what I think they actually do want to say: There should be illegal moves in cheerleading, just as there are illegal moves in any sport. Like ice skating -- you can't do a backflip in competition. Why not? It's awesome, right? Because if you permit people to do backflips in competition, they will do backflips in competition, and the risk of spinal cord injury is too great. Hence, the move, while super-cool, is illegal. Can't do it.

Wrestling? Can't do a lot of things in wrestling. Sure, would be awesome to strangle your opponent, but guess what? Not allowed. Why? Because it's too friggin' dangerous.

Now, cheerleading isn't a sport, supposedly, but is instead an "activity" controlled by pretty much one company, and that one company doesn't make any cheerleading moves illegal. Like, say, a bunch of girls hurling a 90 pound girl 20 feet above the hard floor and then attempting to catch her.

And so on. Bottom line, cheerleaders are subject to more injuries than any other athletes including the worst-of-the-worst, the severed spine.

Yeah, I admit, those little girls flying 20 feet into the air are kinda awesome. But a lot of absurdly dangerous things are kinda awesome.

I am eh on Bullshit! most of the time. Sometimes I think it's interesting; sometimes I think they're being silly just for the sake of claiming a strong opinion about a sexy topic. I expected the cheerleading show to be lame. It's not. This is a frigging scandal. We are letting high school girls get paralyzed doing a bunch of utterly-unsafe circus moves for no particular reason other than watching people almost die is thrilling.

This is really sort of heartbreaking. I guess they are deploying the appeal to emotion here pretty strong, but this quadroplegic girl... in a wheelchair for life, only able to move from the jaw up, because no one bother to even have a spotter for her when she attempted a dangerous running flip in try-outs.

Spotters? Who needs spotters? Spotters are for sports.

OH! Gratuitous Anti-Feminist Political Angle!!! You know who's the biggest opponent of just deeming cheerleading a sport?


For two reasons. 1, they hate cheerleaders because they're feminine and feminity is bad. To borrow a joke from snarkandboobs, Because, Patriarchy.

But 2, because if cheerleading were a sport, it would be counted for purposes of Title IX -- as it is, it's excluded -- and thus all those cheerleaders would be counted for purposes of determining parity and equality of resources and programs devoted to female athletes and thus might impinge on their quest to shut down more schools' male hockey programs for lack of an equivalent female hockey program.

In other words, a cheerleading program could be used to offset one other female sport, and they won't have that. They just won't. If cheerleading were a sport, that's Girls +1 as far as sports, and thus they can't demand some made-up fake sport to offset the football team.

So there you go. Because feminists think cheerleaders are awful and want to shut down male hockey programs college and high school girls are subjected to an unregulated extreme freeform gymnastics sport without any of the typical rules and regulations of an admitted sport.

digg this
posted by Ace at 02:01 PM

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