Extreme Cheerleading

‘I am an adrenaline junkie,’ proclaims the broad-shouldered man eating Ethiopian food at my dinner party, ‘but I would never wear a squirrel suit!’ I am a little confused. What could be dangerous about a furry outfit, other than the ‘about to come loose’ fan whirring away inside the oversized head? Even I would risk donning a rodenty costume, and I am too afraid to have my ears candled. 

I bet I would get lucky in about five minutes, especially if I adopted the same limp-wristed submission pose pictured above, at least according to the ‘How to Read Sexual Signals’ Web site. Here is an insightful tip for straight ladies: Men like cleavage. Any kind of cleavage. Any at all. [Gratuitous aside: Just the other week, I said to my partner: ‘I know how to increase traffic on my web site! I will start posting pictures of me with my tits out. Because they are great! He couldn’t have agreed more]. Back to my magnificent Saturday night: It turns out that the manly-man-guest—Fitbabe calls him ‘Ginger R’—was referring to those aerodynamic flying outfits worn by crazy fuckers who like to jump off cliffs and out of planes, waiting until the last minute to deploy their parachutes. Like this guy.  

Hey, didn’t I see him playing ‘Unmagic: The Nutsack Gathering’ at Warp 1 Comics and Games last weekend?

Now which character would you rather get jiggy with, fur fingers or bat basket? Obviously it would be the former, so I rest my case. Still, I am not one to judge. Consider the hirsute man who sported a tight bib suspender cycling outfit in spin class the other day. He looked kind of like the doofus below, but even worse because he was pale and skinny, covered with a thick layer of black hair. But then I thought: You never know; he might have a good reason to be so attired on a Sunday morning at the local gym. Maybe he is performing with David Lee Roth in a hockey arena later. 

I will wear this outfit proudly, despite  understanding that I will thereby never have sex again. Not even with myself.

‘Hold on there, FFG.’ You might be wondering, ‘what does all of this have to do with cheerleading?’ Well, my non-poetic, linear-thinking friends, it should be perfectly clear. Rodent mascots are often the official cheerleaders of various sports teams. It’s interesting that critters considered pests, loathed and targeted by government bounties, shot in the head, trapped and poisoned, can also cutely represent the entire region, bringing joy to one’s heart along with chants of ‘rah rah rah.’ I am completing a chapter on that fascinating topic, but I won’t bore you with the details. Actually, I probably will bore you with them, just not right now.   

Gainer the Gopher (Saskatchewan Roughriders) regrets eating at the food court.

It occurs to me that personal trainers are first and foremost cheerleaders. They must be fit, energetic, wear form fitting outfits, and make other people shout, cry, and jump about. They need to have expertise in sports training, physiology, and nutrition; but they also need to understand psychology, especially if they are female. As far as I can tell, women trainers are often used as sounding boards by their female clients, who unload all of their personal problems while doing push ups and burpees. Don’t get me wrong, these women have serious issues that they need to discuss. I am not certain, however, why they choose to pay for a personal trainer rather than a therapist. Or just talk to their sympathetic lady friends. I doubt that men engage in similar behaviour at the gym, but male trainers should feel free to correct me about that assumption. Anyway, I have a few female friends who are professional personal trainers, and they are exhausted by the emotional labour that they are forced to perform day in and day out. Women generally bear the burden of such labour in most service industries and I think that is bullshit!

I was also thinking about cheerleading as a ‘sport’ after having coffee last week with Deepika Mittra, who blogs at www.openingspaces.ca. I met her at a fundraiser and once we realized that we both write blogs, we planned a post-swap session. I am going to write something like ‘Bodybuilding is my Yoga, Bitches!’ for her yoga loving fans, and she will no doubt antagonize you in her own special way. In any case, Deepika mentioned that her niece participates in something called ‘Cheer,’ encouraging me to look it up. I immediately did so, finding that cheerleading has recently been transformed into an organized sport for (mostly) young girls. While they perform acrobatic feats in frequent competitions, they also wear skimpy outfits, make-up, fake nails and so forth. What an outrage! I would never participate in such an activity. … Oh, hold on a minute. What’s more, these cheerleaders always perform for an-other, not for themselves, at least in theory. They cheer for (mostly) male sports teams, providing eye candy and diversion from the main event. ‘Oh no,’ you might object. ‘Cheerleading is now a sport in its own right, on its own terms.’ But is that really the case? Don’t cheerers perform for an audience, becoming aesthetic objects, and giving voice to the desires of others? Are they not ultimately supportive of others in the usual feminine (not feminist) approved fashion? I would rather put my daughter in soccer. If I had a daughter. That would be better for her self-esteem, and would also bring me closer to hot European men with shapely legs and hairbands.

As usual, I will end with some chants liable to motivate you for the rest of the week: 

Fly high, do or die, dare to dream, cheer extreme.

Yeah bitches!

Cheer-ability is a talent for deciding something quickly and getting everyone in the stadium doing it.

And if that didn’t cheer you up, these orchitis squirrel balls will.

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About feministfiguregirl

I am a 51-year-old professor named Lianne McTavish who receives as much satisfaction from working out at the gym as from publishing my academic research. About eight years ago, I decided to combine my two primary identities (scholar/gym rat) to create "Feminist Figure Girl," a fictional character who both analyzes and participates in bodybuilding. I competed in my first figure show in June of 2011, and then wrote a book inspired by the process, published by SUNY Press in February 2015. In this blog I will write about and consider my ongoing research on the body, while regularly making fun of myself. I recommend that you start reading my first post from August 2010 (available on the home page), instead of backwards from the most recent one, in order to get the full FFG effect.

5 thoughts on “Extreme Cheerleading

  1. Just stopping in to read this week’s blog. I checked for updates 3 times yesterday! Enjoyed your post… always makes me laugh unless, of course, you are writing about the Russian history and culture. My girls are in cheering and they love it. Not sure we will ever do the compete part but having them learn that advanced tumbling is pretty cool to watch. I wish I could just take off doing backwards handstands!

  2. Cheerleading didn’t go through this transformation all that recently. You may want to check out the 2000 film “Bring It On” (which film critic Roger Ebert called “the ‘Citizen Kane” of cheerleading movies”).

    At my gym, it seems as though a lot of the women who work with trainers (male and female) are really paying for gym buddies. There’s a lot of chatting going on, and not a lot of focus on working out. I fly solo in the gym, and one of the things I like is mentally zeroing in on the weights and leaving behind all the other crap for a while – meditating with barbells, basically. I imagine if I hired one of these trainers, I’d have to explain at the outset that if I don’t chat during our sessions, it’s not because I’m unfriendly but because I really want to focus on training.

  3. I am a Certifited Fitness Consultant, I am a Personal Trainer, Life coach, bartender, therapist, friend, yet an enemy when my client is physically uncomfortable by exercise. My clients DO NOT stop moving during any part of my training sessions….if they want to talk, they talk to me while they train…while in the plank, while doing walking lunges, in between heavy breathing, they express their emotions, their sex lives, their fears, their loves, their heart breaks ect ect…..all of these things are effecting their weight loss or fitness goals. I can’t help anyone lose weight if their stressors in life are taking over! As long as they are getting a wicked workout, feeling good about themselves, and I see progress in their training….I will let them vent! I do however, need a person to vent back to in return. Enter FFG! I just love you girl! Love Lift and Bitch….LOVE DINNER PARTIES hosted wth 144 cloves of garlic and copious amounts of red wine…..sigh! Thanks for letting me into your world!

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