There are almost four million cheerleaders in the United States, but whoever made a new promotional poster at the University of Washington must believe they should all look the same.
A flyer posted on the official Facebook page of the University of Washington cheerleaders listed dos and don’ts for students looking to join the team.
It showed a picture of a thin, blonde cheerleader not wearing much clothing. There were arrows pointed to each one of her body parts, with a tip for each one.
Potential cheerleaders were told to have a bronze, beachy glow, voluminous hair, flattering eye shadow, and “girl about town” lipstick.
The “body do’s” included having a physically fit athletic physique with a natural or spray tan.
The poster also advises young women to show up at tryouts in solid black sports bras, mid-rise black shorts, and cheer shoes. Girls were not allowed to try out if they wore a shirt covering their midriff.
This controversial image caused negative comments to be posted on their Facebook page from cheerleaders all over the country. They complained that over-sexualizing cheerleaders is only adversely impacting the sport and the reputation its participants have fought so hard to get.
Reported on Syracuse.com, the Associated Students of the University of Washington released a statement saying, “An advertisement such as this completely objectifies women and creates barriers that only perpetuates the inaccessibility of opportunities that should be open for every student on this campus.”
In response to the backlash, the university withdrew the poster.
A spokesman for University of Washington athletics department backed up the graphic, saying it was only created to answer questions the students were asking about tryouts.
Officials at the University did not address the debate any further.