Stereotypes hindering boys from joining cheer


Senior Amira Johnson. SR

A stereotype is a belief that is represented upon a specific type of individual or a group. In its simplest form, a stereotype is an expectation that an individual perceives about a person or a group. 

There are the general stereotypes like dumb blondes, millennials are lazy and so on. They are imposed everywhere: in movies and TV, the workplace, and school. Stereotypes reflect the dangerous notion that a hair color or age group could define a person as a whole. People categorize girls as people who cry all the time, and often categorize men as having little to no negative emotion. 

One stereotype that is embedded into sports is that boys cannot be cheerleaders. This is not only completely false, but also a rude assumption. There are many boys on various cheer teams. 

Stereotypes will play a role in how people create judgements, but time has changed and it has become a more common thing for boys to be a part of cheerleading. According to consumer data firm Statista, there were 3,938 males participating in high school cheer last year, compared to the more than 161 thousand females across the country.

 Although there are no boys on the Pumas cheer team, there are at other schools.

“We’ve only had one boy tryout in the nine years I’ve been here,” said head cheer coach Desiree Houg.

So why are boys not trying out for the cheer team? It may be gender stereotypes playing a role in boys becoming apprehensive about trying out. These stereotypes can strand from people who are not familiar with the cheer world. Some just want to imply something negative about boys being in cheer. 

Many support the common belief that guys only play male dominated sports, and cheerleading is only for females. Categorizing sports on a gender-by-gender basis is absurd, considering the universality and accepting nature that most sports advertise.

“Guys were always labeled as hyper-feminine and our relationship with the girls is always hyper-sexualized,” Former football player and 2017 graduate Cameron Rua-Smith said.

Instead of playing football at the college level, he is part of the cheer team over at the University of Arizona. Male team members should feel welcome to try out for the cheer team if they want to. They should not feel unaccepted by the team because of the stereotypes. 

So why do people make stereotypes? People feel the need to make stereotypes because it helps better understand the social world we live in. It is easier to judge a book by its cover rather than the contents inside.

Rua-Smith has learned a lot over the years, one being patience. When he started, he was not skilled with all the stunts and had to learn. However, being patient paid off, and now, three years on the team gave him the role of cheer captain. 

Boys in cheer has become widely accepted by society. No one can keep you in a box, as long as you continue to break out of it.