Is Cheerleading in Sports Degrading to Women and Should It Be Continued

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This broad topic of Sports will primarily include debates on more specific, yet controversial sub-topics. Sports are some of the most universally loved, popular and admired forms of entertainment and/or exercise in the world. The world’s most popular sport, football, has an estimated 4 billion fans alone. Cricket is another great example with roughly 2.5 billion fans. Therefore, it isn’t hard to see just how influential sports can be. With millions upon millions of fans supporting different teams, it’s also not hard to see just how divisive sports can be; brawls, fights and even riots can originate from a sour sports match.

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Large scale competitive sports have been around for hundreds of years, with the first Olympic games being hosted in Athens in 776 BC. Since then, the digital age has brought out more viewers and fans than ever before, which naturally means that the amount of money and politics involved in sports, as well as the influence it brings, has grown enormously.

With sports being so popular and easily viewable, large numbers of viewers tune in, leading to a larger spectrum of political views that sports appeal to. As such, opposing political views have clashed over sports, with one example being the participation of transgender athletes in certain gender categories. This has led to sports being the battleground for larger political arguments, as well as being more controversial. Sensitive issues like racism are frequently brought up with regard to sports. Furthermore, a rise in the trend of women coming out about past sexual assault cases (MeToo as an example) has reeled sports in as a target as well. From coaches to players to medical personnel, sexual assault accusations have sprung up like never before within the past 2 decades. These have also given way to new arguments about the over-sexualization of sports, particularly for women, such as the appropriateness of clothing, and cheerleaders. The subject of the use of illegal drugs and steroids to boost performance and provide an unfair advantage to the athlete, has also been under heavy scrutiny recently with the banning of Russia from all international sporting events for 4 years for doping, on the 9th of December, 2019. However, this isn’t an isolated incident; over the past few decades there have been dozens of cases and controversies about drug use in sports, such as cyclist Lance Armstrong’s admission to doping, which led to him getting stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles.

With so much money in sports, corruption has emerged as a growing threat. With large profits and a limited chance of detection, sport manipulation is seen as a lucrative way to make lots of money. The manipulation of match results for a sum of money (Match Fixing) is a prime example; where teams or individuals are paid to play in a way that skews the result of the match.

Due to the sheer popularity and controversy of sports, the sub-topics to be debated upon will require sufficient knowledge of the implications of it, as well as the historical and societal relevance.

Cheerleading is an organized sports activity involving short routines that combine dance, gymnastics, and stunt elements to cheer on teams. It traces its origins to Great Britain in the 1860s and was first introduced in the US in the 1880s when Princeton university decided that it would help boost team morale. Female cheerleaders were first introduced in the 1920s due to the fact that there weren’t many sporting options available to them at the time.

Recently, there have been calls to outright ban cheerleading from professional sports as it can be viewed as degrading to women. Critics claim that the short clothing articles worn by cheerleaders and the more than obvious sexualisation of the cheerleaders makes them be regarded as objects purely for display on the sidelines of the game. There have also been cases of harrsassment, discrimination and wage theft.

However, others may argue that cheerleading should continue since cheerleaders are there at their own will and completely consent to their performances, it is completely ethical and appropriate to have them continue. Proponents also argue that cheerleaders do in fact boost team morale, and increase demand and viewership. 

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