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Emily E. West

Emphasized femininity

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Full-Text Articles in Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication

Cheerleading And The Gendered Politics Of Sport, Laura Grindstaff, Emily West Jan 2006

Cheerleading And The Gendered Politics Of Sport, Laura Grindstaff, Emily West

Emily E. West

Cheerleading occupies a contested space in American culture and a key point of controversy is whether it ought to be considered a sport. Drawing on interviews with college cheerleaders on coed squads as well as five years of fieldwork in various cheerleading sites, this paper examines the debate over cheerleading and sport in terms of its gender politics. The bid for sport status on the part of cheerleaders revolves around the desire for respect more than official recognition by athletic organizations; cheerleaders recognize the prestige associated with sport, a function of its historic association with hegemonic masculinity, and they claim ...