Redskins cheerleaders deserve more than ‘pimping out’

A topless photo shoot turned into a game of peek-a-boo for VIP men

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Redskins cheerleaders deserve more than ‘pimping out’

The Washington Redskins cheerleaders recounted an uncomfortable night in 2013, reiterating the importance of gender equality in sports.

The Washington Redskins cheerleaders recounted an uncomfortable night in 2013, reiterating the importance of gender equality in sports.

Photo by SUBMITTED

The Washington Redskins cheerleaders recounted an uncomfortable night in 2013, reiterating the importance of gender equality in sports.

Photo by SUBMITTED

Photo by SUBMITTED

The Washington Redskins cheerleaders recounted an uncomfortable night in 2013, reiterating the importance of gender equality in sports.

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A 2013 scandal involving the Washington Redskins cheerleading squad has recently surfaced in numerous news outlets, and it’s not the kind of thing a progressive America is looking to hear.

Five years ago, the Redskins cheerleading squad took a trip to Costa Rica for a photoshoot that they reportedly would normally be comfortable doing. Although no nudity would appear in the calendar they were doing the shoot for, the cheerleaders were topless and some were completely naked and wearing body paint for the picture. What they didn’t expect was that there would be men nearby, gawking at their nudity as if it were a spectacle. According to ESPN, the cheerleaders were also not paid for this week long trip.

Worse yet, Juliet Macur from The New York Times detailed how nine out of the 36 cheerleaders were forced to act as a sort of escort to suite-holders and sponsors of the team, all of whom were male. According to CNN, these men were invited by the Redskins team to go on a night out at a nearby nightclub. Although there was no sex involved, many cheerleaders felt as if the team was “pimping” them out.

“As the Redskins’ losses have mounted in recent years and the demand for high-end luxury seats and suites has declined, the team is using the cheerleaders as a sales inducement.” Liz Clarke and Adam Kilgore of the Chicago Tribune wrote.

My bones shiver at the description of women as a “sales inducement.”

“We weren’t asked, we were told,” one cheerleader on the team said. “Other girls were devastated.”

No kidding.

The Redskins President, Bruce Allen, said that they respect all of the cheerleaders and they will be investigating the situation.

“From the work they do in the local community, to visiting our troops abroad, and for always representing the Redskins organization in a first-class manner, these women are exemplary members of our organization and are worthy of our utmost respect,” Allen said. “We will continue to take all necessary measures to create a safe and respectful work environment.”

However, the actions of the league speak louder than Allen’s words.

Throughout the league, the discrimination on the basis of gender against cheerleaders of the teams is becoming increasingly evident. CBS Sports documented how one New Orleans saints cheerleader, Bailey Davis, was fired over her scant clothing in an Instagram photo from a “dance shot”  that she posted on her private account.

Davis described how the cheerleaders unjustly have rules that players do not.

One reporter described how it was unfair how these rules, intended to protect the cheerleaders from unsolicited sexual advances, are not in the rulebooks for the players even though the players, and the male VIPs of the league, have more control over hindering their own creepy advances.

It is infuriating to hear of the discrimination that these talented athletes face in a highly competitive field. Cheerleading is by no means an easy sport, and it is made increasingly difficult when faced with objectification of their bodies from men.

News flash: women are not objects.

They cannot be dragged along to parties against their will. They should not be subject to strange men (or women) gawking at their half-naked bodies without their consent. They should not have different rules from the football players on the league because they are women.

The objectification of women in any field is simply unacceptable, and I thought that by now this fact would be self-evident: women deserve respect, particularly when they work as hard as the Redskins cheerleaders do.

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