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But it's an honour to be leered at; what would you need decent pay for?
May 8, 2014 2:29 AM   Subscribe

"NFL teams stepped easily into the creepy patriarch role. Today, they enforce expectations for the way their cheerleaders look (according to the suit, the Jills’ guidebook mandates everything from the cheerleaders’ nail polish color to how they clean their vaginas) while rewarding them, not with money, but with the supposed prestige of appearing as one of their city’s most desirable women."
[...]
"The old stereotype of cheerleaders as bimbos has also worked in the NFL’s favor. NFL cheerleading is such an obviously raw deal, some might assume that women must be stupid to agree to it. (Tell that to Dr. Monica Williams, who cheered for the Tennessee Titans while fulfilling a research fellowship at Vanderbilt.) That’s not a stigma that, say, coal miners fighting against unfair working conditions have to overcome to get what they’re owed."
Amanda Hess for Slate writes about the cheerleader revolt against low pay and humiliating working conditions. (previously)

Teams sued by cheerleaders or ex-cheerleaders include, apart from the Raiders, also the NY Jets (low wages), Cincinnati Bengals for (low pay, "jiggle tests") and Buffalo Bills (low pay and being told how to use a tampon, amongst others).

Deadspin has the lowdown on the ridiculous rules the Bills subject their cheerleaders to, for less than minimum wage:
This is what it means to be a Jill. A Jill is told what tampons she should wear and how she should keep certain "intimate areas" fresh, and in general has to submit to a series of byzantine and comically infantilizing requirements and guidelines governing everything from "appearance etiquette" to "etiquette for FORMAL dining" to "communicating with people with disabilities." A Jill is paid next to nothing—no money for gameday cheering, none for practice, none for the bulk of her minimum 20 personal appearances, none from the tips she receives but must turn in during the mandatory Jills Golf Tournament—and is classified by the team as a volunteer/independent contractor, though the thickness and thoroughness of the handbook makes you wonder just how independent she is.
All of this is legal and above board though, as according to the Department of Labor being a cheerleader falls under seasonal work.

Cheerleading meanwhile also accounts for more than half of serious injuries to women athletes.
posted by MartinWisse (113 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
(Still, one former Raiderettes cheerleader—who opposes the class-action suit because she fears it will compel teams to disband their cheerleading squads instead of paying up—told me that she thinks these lawsuits are a feminist conspiracy to attempt to end cheerleading for good.)

I believe that the post title also nicely captures the odd feminist schizophrenia that this issue induces. Anybody here read Playing the Whore, the book linked in the article?
posted by Going To Maine at 2:53 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


I've nothing helpful to add except to say that it's about time this gets dealt with. You can't expect elite performers—and essentially, that's what they are—without paying them. Money isn't exactly tight in professional sport leagues.
posted by flippant at 3:01 AM on May 8 [6 favorites]


Would they be able to join a union? The AGVA, for example, represent the Rockettes.
posted by pipeski at 3:07 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


[One comment deleted; let's not immediately derail this into a football brain injury discussion? Thanks.]
posted by taz at 3:24 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


I find it telling, predictable, and utterly wrong that in an industry rolling in money and where the men are paid millions while being essentially allowed to run wild with no restrictions or penalties on their behavior the women are paid next to nothing and held to absurd standards and restrictions.

Patriarchy in a nutshell.
posted by sotonohito at 4:17 AM on May 8 [59 favorites]


I find myself on board with the feminist conspiracy.
posted by Segundus at 4:22 AM on May 8 [19 favorites]


Let me preface by saying I don't know a whole lot about sports, but do women approach cheerleading as a professional career investment? What's next on the ladder? Surely cheerleading at this level is more than just an elite pool from which the rich may draw trophy wives, right?
posted by oceanjesse at 4:34 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


I find it telling, predictable, and utterly wrong that in an industry rolling in money and where the men are paid millions while being essentially allowed to run wild with no restrictions or penalties on their behavior the women are paid next to nothing and held to absurd standards and restrictions.

There are plenty of ways in which the men (players, at least) are treated as badly as the cheerleaders (Combine, basically all of their minor-league indenture during college, non-guaranteed contracts, post-career medical care). There's just a much bigger paycheck for them, so they generally shrug and ignore it.

That's not to say that the treatment of the cheerleaders isn't offensively patriarchal; just that "no restrictions or penalties" on the men isn't really the case either.
posted by Etrigan at 4:37 AM on May 8 [3 favorites]


Can we not do the thing where we take a discussion of labor abuses that apply to women and make it once again all about some situation that applies exclusively to men? Please?
Cheerleading meanwhile also accounts for more than half of serious injuries to women athletes.
That's a completely different meaning of cheerleading. Competitive cheerleading is basically synchronized gymnastics. Professional cheerleading is more like dance. It's not risk-free, because dancers do get injuries, but I think it's the tumbling and aerial moves that make competitive cheerleading so dangerous.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:59 AM on May 8 [10 favorites]


So given how obviously appalling the working conditions are, and how the pay is next to nothing, why do women keep signing up to do this?
The old stereotype of cheerleaders as bimbos has also worked in the NFL’s favor. NFL cheerleading is such an obviously raw deal, some might assume that women must be stupid to agree to it. (Tell that to Dr. Monica Williams, who cheered for the Tennessee Titans while fulfilling a research fellowship at Vanderbilt.)
"Because doctor"? That's not even a reason, it's just like, "Well, obviously this woman is intelligent, so I'm sure she had good reasons." It seems like a pretty big thing to leave out of this.
posted by indubitable at 5:04 AM on May 8 [3 favorites]


Surely cheerleading at this level is more than just an elite pool from which the rich may draw trophy wives, right?

Is it not rather bullshit to assume that the default is that women who cheerlead are doing so to make themselves available to penises with dollars?

Anyhow, my team-of-choice is the Pittsburgh Steelers, and they haven't had cheerleaders since the 1960s so at least Roethlisberger isn't responsible for that.
posted by mr. digits at 5:08 AM on May 8 [18 favorites]


I find it telling, predictable, and utterly wrong that a discussion about a group of exploited workers leads to criticism about another group of exploited workers instead of the actual people exploiting them.

Because eating into the profits of fucking Billionaire team owners is once again just too high a price to pay.
posted by fullerine at 5:10 AM on May 8 [48 favorites]


Let me preface by saying I don't know a whole lot about sports, but do women approach cheerleading as a professional career investment? What's next on the ladder?
I don't think I've known any professional cheerleaders, but I have known some dancers, and it's pretty rarely a viable career. There aren't too many people who make much money as a dancer, and those who do have really short careers, because you're unlikely to stay injury-free past your early 30s. I think that cheerleaders, like a lot of other performers, are basically in it for the opportunity to perform, and if you're a dancer then you're probably relatively used to performing for not much pay or no pay. I had a roommate for a while who was a professional dancer in New York, and I think she spent more money on her dancing than she made. (She paid the bills by working at Starbucks.) But she was performing at non-profit art spaces where nobody was raking in the big bucks, and it's different when the performers are involved in huge, profitable industries. Also, nobody told her what tampons to wear or how to clean her "intimate areas," so there's that.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:12 AM on May 8 [7 favorites]


So should I feel guilty about the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders poster I had on the wall of my bedroom when I was 10?

Seriously though, the Cowboys cheerleaders were arguably more popular than the football team for a while.
posted by COD at 5:13 AM on May 8


Meanwhile the French (men's) football team Clermont Foot 63 has appointed seasoned coach Helena Costa as its manager

She's the first female manager to be appointed in the highest two divisions of any professional European football league
posted by DanCall at 5:14 AM on May 8


This is appalling. As a non-American, I always assumed they were the sports equivalent of professional dancers, paid at least something halfway decent, and certainly not subject to intimate hygiene rules. Every cheerleading squad subjected to this should stage a mass walk-off five minutes into their team's next televised match to force the commentators to talk about it. What have they got to lose? A few hundred bucks a season? Start busking outside the stadiums and they'd make that back in no time.
posted by rory at 5:16 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


The idea that the Bills cheerleaders are "independent contractors" is so farcical that in a better world they would be able to win a suit over that alone.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:37 AM on May 8 [8 favorites]


oceanjesse: "but do women approach cheerleading as a professional career investment? What's next on the ladder?"

Most do not, but some do. Gregg Easterbrook writes a column for ESPN (used to, I assume still does) and focused on one cheerleader each week, and liked to pick ones that were professional in other disciplines, such as nurses or doctoral candidates. The ones that are using cheerleading as professional career investment usually have an academy for young girls, where people can take their pre-high school kids for cheerleading. These places it helps to be able to say "Run by a Cheerleader for the local sports team!"
posted by I am the Walrus at 5:40 AM on May 8


As a non-American, I always assumed they were the sports equivalent of professional dancers, paid at least something halfway decent, and certainly not subject to intimate hygiene rules.

Believe me when I tell you that as an American and a Football fan I always assumed the same thing. Now I wonder if the NBA dance squads have the same deal.

The NFL is flat out the worst league for its players (and now it turns out other employees)

One of the owners is pretty much going to be indicted for a major fraud any day now and another owner was just busted drunk driving with hard drugs on him - and yet no punishment.
posted by JPD at 5:45 AM on May 8 [5 favorites]


Let's just outlaw pro sport, ok? It costs us all millions and no one really likes it.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:49 AM on May 8 [5 favorites]


Seasonal employment in general is a pretty terrible deal. Never been sure of the reasoning why overtime and minimum wage laws don't apply.
posted by geegollygosh at 5:52 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


Let me preface by saying I don't know a whole lot about sports, but do women approach cheerleading as a professional career investment? What's next on the ladder? Surely cheerleading at this level is more than just an elite pool from which the rich may draw trophy wives, right?

I am one of those who never understood the concept: being there as eye candy to just cheer the men who are the *real* stars. The idea horrified me as a kid as it still does. It is pretty much saying, "This is the woman's place while it still jiggles in the right places."

It is a Playboy Bunny mentality in almost every aspect of leisure culture -- archaic, and tiresome...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 5:55 AM on May 8 [13 favorites]


I'm generally annoyed by a whole lot of this (mostly the no-pay) but despite the splashy click-baitiness, I have a hard time being annoyed by the tampon thing or some of the other etiquette and hygiene stuff specifically.

The Deadspin article says this about it:
Advice to live by, I'm sure—but stuff your mother probably told you about before you showed up to cheerleader tryouts.
And I am, uh, not so sure about the stuff after the emdash being true for a lot of people.

If the team is actually enforcing some kind of supervised tampon changing schedule then I'd certainly change my mind, but as part and parcel with other general instructions on how to present yourself, I just don't find it all that problematic. The whole concept of cheerleaders as they exist is problematic, but if you accept the concept then focusing on those particular details is just sensationalism. Not having a smelly crotch or smelly feet is part of presenting yourself well, probably particularly if your jobvolunteer labor-of-love is to stand around in spandex hot pants and go-go boots.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:55 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


It's a problem because I doubt the Bills' player handbook has requirements for how often the players have to wash their jockstraps.
posted by freshwater at 6:05 AM on May 8 [9 favorites]


The wife and I were discussing this the other day. The argument could be made for the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders that it's analogous to an internship, that's a national brand and many of the former cheerleaders have gone on to extremely lucrative careers in the entertainment industry. But the Bills? Please.

Regardless they should be getting fairly compensated, the money that would be required would amount to a rounding error for most franchises. And if the franchises have a problem with it I'm sure the advertisers would step in. The entire reason the cheerleaders are there is so that they can get every guys eyes to the TV right before they cut to the commercial break.
posted by slapshot57 at 6:09 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


It wouldn't really surprise me if it did. Football teams tend to be extremely paternalistic.

You're talking about a league that will fine people for how they wear their socks.

RE: Jockstrap requirements
posted by JPD at 6:09 AM on May 8


My understanding is that the pro sports leagues do a lot of development on etiquette, personal presentation, business sense, etc for new players. I would actually not be at all surprised if that included guidelines on personal hygiene.

Some of it is even part of their contract negotiations, apparently.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:10 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


Back in the 80's I was given a tour of the (now defunct) Playboy Tower in Los Angeles. Current and former Playmates did a lot of promotional and advertising work for the company. There was a room with all sorts of rules, requirements and standards posted that had to be met to stay employed. There were also scales where they were regularly weighed and measurements were recorded. Also a Playmate Mother hovering about who appeared to run a tight ship. Sounds like a similar deal but I imagine the pay was better. But maybe not. Oh, and while there, I asked if there was a bathroom I could use and I was ushered into the inner sanctum of the excessively pink Playmate private loo...
posted by jim in austin at 6:11 AM on May 8


Seriously though, the Cowboys cheerleaders were arguably more popular than the football team for a while.

the cowboys cheerleaders are one of the reasons teams get away with this - the way it's always been explained away is using the cowboys as an example - "sure, you get shit for games, but you get all these opportunities!" and that's true for the cowboys cheerleaders - reality show, calenders, appearances - but the other teams don't really get the same huge endorsement deals.


Surely cheerleading at this level is more than just an elite pool from which the rich may draw trophy wives, right?

you can look up any pro cheerleading squad on wikipedia and get some idea - but for those not working towards doctor or whatever, the next step on the ladder is model, actress, presenter, choreographer, etc.


Also a Playmate Mother hovering about who appeared to run a tight ship.

same for the cheer squads - and the leaders are often former cheerleaders themselves and seem to delight in putting the women through the shit they had to endure, instead of making it better for those that come after them.
posted by nadawi at 6:14 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


It's a problem because I doubt the Bills' player handbook has requirements for how often the players have to wash their jockstraps.

Well of course not, the team pays people to wash their jockstraps for them. (which is obviously a form of the problem)
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:17 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


They do it for just $2.85 an hour, and for just two or three hours a night, two or three nights a week? I don't get why they do it at all. I guess restaurant jobs and the like must be a lot harder to find than I thought. Or are they in it for something other than the money? If people compete for the chance to do it for $2.85 an hour, I bet there are people who would do it for no money at all.
posted by pracowity at 6:20 AM on May 8


Cheerleadering is a strange thing. We constantly hear about how NFL games are "for the whole family" and how it is family oriented entertainment, unlike, say, the EPL. And then you have this gross spectacle of cheerleading at the games! Honestly, if you want to see semi-naked women, go watch porn, If you want to watch sport, go watch sport. So so demeaning, and it sends out the wrong message to young girls.

re: their dress/washing requirements - christ that is too far, but it is similar to low pay workers everywhere - the management think we are too stupid to wash and dress ourselves. Seriously, I worked in a kitchen in a hotel recently, and on the wall in the toilets was a laminated sheet with some lame-ass clip art and rules about what to wear, how your nails should look, and even what denier tights/stockings women should wear. In another place there was a chart above the sink showing how to wash your hands properly.

Welcome to the modern world, where low pay workers are mere chattels of the company.
posted by marienbad at 6:32 AM on May 8 [3 favorites]


If they're going to have official cheerleaders then they should obviously pay them properly; but, really, wouldn't most of us rather they got rid of cheerleaders altogether? Which is just to say that from the perspective of the women who clearly really want to go out there and do this (so much so that they are essentially volunteering their services) they don't have a terrific support base to draw on--I would guess that the higher your support for "having cheerleaders at NFL games at all" the lower, typically, is your support for fair pay for the cheerleaders and vice versa. If the NFL owners are going to listen to the "support for fair pay" lobby, why shouldn't they listen to the same people when they say "having scantily clad cheerleaders at these games is demeaning to women"?
posted by yoink at 6:41 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


Anecdotally, I've recently worked with an ex pro football cheerleader, and her horror stories were way worse than the video or IT guy stories I've heard. As far as I know, only one person perused my junk when I was bent over doing my job, not thousands.

She mentioned that they get paid something utterly absurd like seventy five dollars a game. They have to buy their own overpriced outfits, they have to spend hilarious amounts of money on personal grooming, and they have to deal with stupid NFL rights issues about their own image.

This is beyond patriarchy, this is ludicrous.
posted by Sphinx at 6:42 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


She mentioned that they get paid something utterly absurd like seventy five dollars a game. They have to buy their own overpriced outfits, they have to spend hilarious amounts of money on personal grooming, and they have to deal with stupid NFL rights issues about their own image.

Did she say why she did it?
posted by yoink at 6:45 AM on May 8


The previous batch of articles about this (and earlier FPP) was a huge surprise to me -- chalk me up as another person who had always vaguely assumed that professional cheerleaders were paid in proportion to their profile and stature. Learning that they are mostly unpaid was not what I expected at all, whereas the weird crotch washing rules and so on seem more like vestiges of how airline stewardesses and Playboy Bunnies were treated back in the 1960s.

I hope that they are successful in changing this. Along with the current labor organizing in college sports, this highlights how even though crazy amounts of money are being earned, most of the people performing the work are wildly underpaid and treated poorly.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:48 AM on May 8 [3 favorites]


The reasoning here calls to mind the description of creepers who target women who don't enforce their boundaries. The line of thought would go something like "Well, if they're stupid enough to work for us, then they must be desperate enough to not enforce their boundaries with regard to pay and working conditions."

Paternalism = Creepers
posted by I-Write-Essays at 6:49 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


The line of thought would go something like "Well, if they're stupid enough to work for us, then they must be desperate enough to not enforce their boundaries with regard to pay and working conditions."

Paternalism = Creepers


Assuming women don't dominate employees = pleasant misogyny?
posted by mr. digits at 6:53 AM on May 8


yoink: "Did she say why she did it?"

She didn't come right out and say it, but I got the implication that she grew up in the "Southern Football Culture" and is too short/smart to be a model. She wanted to get into television, because on TV it doesn't matter how tall you are.

During a wardrobe change we had a fantastic discussion about WW1 transitioning into WW2.
posted by Sphinx at 6:53 AM on May 8


If the NFL owners are going to listen to the "support for fair pay" lobby, why shouldn't they listen to the same people when they say "having scantily clad cheerleaders at these games is demeaning to women"?

They have to be seen as running a legal and ethical business, so now they'll probably increase cheerleader pay (and maybe reduce the number of cheerleaders to compensate for it), but they won't eliminate cheerleading completely unless someone shows them it's the profitable way to go.
posted by pracowity at 6:58 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


> Assuming women don't dominate employees = pleasant misogyny?

If we define creepers as people who seek personal gain (monetary, physical, or emotional) by taking advantage of other people's lack of boundary-setting, then women can be creepers just as effectively as men, as demonstrated by the Playboy Mothers anecdote. We would simply call that maternalism instead of paternalism.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 6:58 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


One of the "why does she do it" is an obvious one; the transitory praise, fame and attention you get for doing it. There's a lot of glamour in the job, and certainly you get treated by other people differently if you say "I'm a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader." Women, especially women who are already conventionally beautiful, are taught that these things are important, that they are worth pursuing, that you must make the most of your beauty while you can. And yes, maybe it can push you into a job on TV or at least a profitable cheerleading clinic. And maybe your family, or your boyfriend or husband, pushes you too, because then they can boast about you and watch you on TV.

But in the meantime all the free drinks and worshipful gazes in the world don't make up for not being able to pay your rent while being treated like crap, whatever the franchises want you to believe. And I'm glad to see more women speaking up about that.
posted by emjaybee at 6:59 AM on May 8 [16 favorites]


the patriarchy at many levels is enforced by women. that doesn't make the patriarchy any less real.
posted by nadawi at 7:00 AM on May 8 [12 favorites]


that doesn't make the patriarchy any less real.

My objection -- which I-Write-Essays corrected succinctly -- was that it sounded as though creeper-ism (patriarchy included) was being minimized, which you'll note is the opposite of denying it.
posted by mr. digits at 7:03 AM on May 8


Why don't the owners join the teams that don't have them (Green Bay, Pittsburgh, New York, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland)? Would the elimination spark fan outrage or would the players notice? Eliminate them all, NBA, NFL, and see how fast the lawsuits come to defend the jobs. Missing from the "why do they do it for so low pay?" is the interviews with the players now wives, which is against most teams rules of being on the squads.
posted by brent at 7:11 AM on May 8


I don't get why they do it at all.

Despite the (lack of) pay and the supermax prison level personal scrutiny, it's still something of a prestige position. There are probably girls growing up right now watching football games and thinking how cool and awesome being an NFL cheerleader would be. Even if the financial reality has more in common with migrant laborer than movie star, you're part of this big name franchise, surrounded by celebrities, treated like a celebrity yourself, and constantly being reminded that you are exceptionally good-looking (albeit with the implied threat of "you better stay that way"). Lots of people do lots of things that aren't in their ultra-rational self-interest, particularly when it means being a part of something bigger than yourself and forming at least part of your identity from that connection.
posted by Panjandrum at 7:11 AM on May 8 [3 favorites]


Basically, what emjaybee said, on not-preview.
posted by Panjandrum at 7:12 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


As a sports fan, I always found cheer leading to be a distraction that I could do without. This makes it seem even more so.
posted by jonmc at 7:13 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


eating into the profits of fucking Billionaire team owners is once again just too high a price to pay.

As I've pointed out before, it's not like paying the cheerleaders a reasonable amount of money would even eat into team profits in any meaningful way. Honestly, I don't understand why they don't pay something reasonable, except for the fact that women are lining up to do it for free and many dancers are already used to being paid practically nothing.

This last bit is important, I think, because accepted "industry norms" can be really hard to break. I have a friend who performed professionally in opera for 20 years and has transitioned into "classic American popular" and jazz singing (e.g., Jo Stafford) over the last 6 or 7 years. We have been consistently appalled at the extent to which the "industry norm" is for everyone to get paid except for the singers, who seem to be expected to fund the entire genre out of their pockets. People who have attempted to book her for events have actually said that their understanding of how things work is that the instrumentalists are paid and the singer is not. Singers are expected to do it for nothing out of a combination of "love for the art" and the "opportunity for exposure." And, of course, there are hundreds upon hundreds of singers lining up to do just that. So, to bring this back around to cheerleaders, given the forgoing, which is by no means unique to singers but exists in many pursuits that are done on both a professional and avocational basis, it is entirely unsurprising to me that cheerleaders for NFL teams are paid practically nothing.
posted by slkinsey at 7:16 AM on May 8 [3 favorites]


I don't get why they do it at all.

Generally because other options are even worse.
posted by jessamyn at 7:17 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


Generally because other options are even worse.

Really? I could be wrong, but it's not my sense that anyone becomes a cheerleader because they're desperate to make that miniscule paycheck. It's not like they've been turned away from the factory door and took up cheerleading to try to make ends meet. The vast majority of those women could find better-paying jobs elsewhere relatively easily. I think the comparisons with conventional low-wage employees are strained. The trap these women are in is that this really is something they inherently want to do (unlike slinging burgers, say, which is something you only do because someone is paying you). They're not doing it for the paycheck, which is why the owners can get away with paying them such an insulting amount.
posted by yoink at 7:29 AM on May 8 [5 favorites]


>>I don't get why they do it at all.

>Generally because other options are even worse.


I can't imagine this was your intended implication, but I have my doubts as to whether any NFL cheerleaders are doing it because it's better than stripping or go-go dancing (etc.) and they need to put food on the table. Especially since they aren't earning much money.

If you're implying that cheerleading may be better than their other options to dance, my experience is that this just isn't so. My sister has been a high-level avocational performing dancer for going around 30 years, having cycled through a variety of dance styles and disciplines as her body changed with age, etc. Today, she performs just as frequently as she did 20 years ago, if not more.
posted by slkinsey at 7:35 AM on May 8


Is it not rather bullshit to assume that the default is that women who cheerlead are doing so to make themselves available to penises with dollars?

Who said anything about penises?
posted by oceanjesse at 7:36 AM on May 8


they're doing it for the same reason that scumbags can convince artists/musicians/etc to do their shit for free - "exposure." the successful former cheerleaders are held up and women, after the teen pageants end and their mall talent agent flakes off with all their money and they send those creepy snaps to a dude who swears he can get her into a movie, are told they could be the next bachelorette, or actress, or presenter. they're shown the success stories from those who have gone before. they don't balk at the ridiculous grooming standards because chances are that has been part of their life to some degree since they were 3 or 4 years old.

yes, they could just go flip burgers if money was all that we were talking about - but no one is selling them a bill of goods about how mcdonalds leads to hollywood.
posted by nadawi at 7:36 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


Seems like "NFL Cheerleader" on a resume could open up a lot of doors in certain industries: PR, Finance, etc simply out of curiosity and uniqueness. If a young cheerleader does this for a few years and also manages to get some kind of degree, having NFL Cheerleader on a resume is going to make her a much more desirable candidate in a lot of industries, particularly PR.
posted by spicynuts at 7:52 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


NFL cheerleading is sold to girls as a desirable dream job when they're 11. 10 years later, and still young by my standards, the emotional weight of a decade's worth of dreaming lets them blind themselves to the less-desirable aspects of the reality of it.
posted by tyllwin at 7:54 AM on May 8


Some of you here are not understanding the way many Artists think. Artists don't care about money too much. Artists care about performing, exposure, creating, reaching the top of their profession. To paraphrase Bobby from Taxi: "an actor will sleep on the floor, go hungry, rehearse for hundreds and hundreds of hours, only to line up with a hundred other people only to be told 'next, please'." My mother, at age 70, constantly attends writers' workshops and meets with editors and is constantly told "meh", and yet she still aspires to be published in the New Yorker.

Yes, the women have lousy work requirements and should be paid more. But it's the NFL. For an aspiring actress/model/dancer, it's a dream come true.
posted by sockerpup at 7:57 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


Funny thing is, no matter how much you love Art, you still can't eat exposure or pay rent with it.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:02 AM on May 8 [5 favorites]


i think it's ok to demand that those exploiting this sort of dreaming start paying the cheerleaders what they're worth. artists put up with all sorts of shit, but if you're on tv, doing your art, surrounded by millionaires and billionaires who are telling you how to clean your genitals and you're making basically nothing, something is fucked.

i mean, getting into one of bryan singer's parties is apparently a way to get into the industry for some, but maybe that price is too high.
posted by nadawi at 8:02 AM on May 8 [3 favorites]


I do think it's crazy that this is all because they wouldn't even pay them minimum wage. If they had paid them just $7.25 an hour, like they pay the ushers at the stadium, they would have no grounds to sue.
posted by smackfu at 8:06 AM on May 8


Incidentally, the cost to pay the Bills cheerleaders (of whom there are 36) a minimum wage for 20 hours of work a week - which is probably an overestimate even counting all practices and promotional appearances - would be $270,000 a year. The Bills' current roster makes seventy million dollars a year, and that's before you add in what their rookies will make after the draft.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:13 AM on May 8 [3 favorites]


$270K is also less than two-thirds of the league minimum salary for a single player who never sees a single play of action.
posted by Etrigan at 8:18 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


I danced with a few women who ended up cheerleading or dancing for various pro sports teams in the area, both small (Arena football in southern NH!) and large (the Patriots and the Celtics!). Both of these women used their initial "jobs" (with shit pay, no benefits, etc.) as stepping stones for other things. The AFL dancer now owns her own studio and can advertise that she has professional experience as a dancer/cheerleader; the one cheering for the Pats and the Celts has also gotten gigs dancing for the USO around the world, danced in music videos, and gotten a lot of jobs teaching workshops.

Most of the jobs available for the high number of great dancers who graduate high school are shitty and kind of exploitative like cheering and dancing for pro sports teams, or modeling, or being a "brand girl" (yep, I have a friend who went from Sugar Plum Fairy with visions of Boston Ballet to Corona Girl taking pictures with middle aged men in gross bars while she wears a low cut shirt and teaches at four local studios). Given the low number of options and high competition, cheering can be a pretty desireable way to fill out your resume. I went to one of the best ballet schools in my area, which turned out well-trained dancers (though nothing as rigorous as Nutmeg or academies associated with professional companies). I know one women who successfully got a contract with a professional ballet company, one woman who got a contract with a modern company, and one man who is now dancing on Broadway.

Everyone else... either you have to give up dance, you have to teach dance, or you have to grub for what's left. And getting a professional cheerleading job is nearly as competitive as some of the other positions ... just with (apparently) fewer benefits and more exploitation.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:18 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


Some of you here are not understanding the way many Artists think.

Actually quite a few talented artists stop making art because it's impossible to live without enough to eat or a place to live. Artists just starting out may think this way, because it is the stereotype of how artists are, but there is a pushback among artists in many industries, and I think in their own way these dancers are part of that.

On Tumblr, for example, I follow a lot of comic-book artists. There are constant reposts of exhortations by older, established artists not to give your work away, or even sell it too cheap, not just because you lose, but because you drag down the value of everyone else's art as well.

My husband is a musician and nowadays he does not take gigs without a guarantee, and simply refuses to play for certain places that have screwed him over in the past. And he doesn't play any fewer gigs, oddly enough. There is a weird psychological dynamic at play; when you value yourself and refuse to be cheated, you are more likely to get paid. If you allow yourself to be exploited, it never improves.

Yes, artists are driven to create. That does not mean they have no pride, or lack the ability to say "fuck you, pay me." Artists who manage to build a career are the ones who develop that skill.

The internet is pretty integral to this, in my opinion. Artists can compare notes, and get a better idea of the going rate in different places (and also who is likely to cheat you). They can share advice and support each other. They can point out scams to each other and promote each other in ways they never could before.
posted by emjaybee at 8:20 AM on May 8 [6 favorites]


I don't get why they do it at all.

I was a cheerleader from ages 10-22 (for my school teams, not professionally), and I totally get why someone would want to keep doing it - even without getting paid. I like sports, so it was always fun to be at the games up close. I like dancing. I like being part of a team and most of my best friends are girls that I met through cheerleading.

I know there are lots of hoops that these professional cheerleaders have to jump through, but I think sometimes the reason they keep doing it is because it's really, really fun.

I hope that the system changes and they start getting paid a fair wage, but I don't think they'll ever run out of women that are happy to do it for free.
posted by elvissa at 8:28 AM on May 8 [8 favorites]


$270K is also less than two-thirds of the league minimum salary for a single player who never sees a single play of action.

And this is why unions exist and are a good idea for anyone who does labor work. The NFL doesn't want a minimum player salary, the NFLPA does.

I took a Learning Annex-like course once on voiceover work. When the instructor starting explaining AFTRA and SAG, there was a lot of grumbling from the other students. Without missing a beat, the instructor mentioned that there was an open job for voiceover work that weekend that paid nothing for the whole day, and asked for a show of hands as to who was interested. When most of the hands in the room were raised he said, "And that's why the unions exist."
posted by hwyengr at 8:32 AM on May 8 [20 favorites]


People are getting worked up over the wrong thing. NFL cheering is no different from interning at Vogue or at Sony Pictures etc. -- like them, it's a gig which, despite being non-exploitative in a moral sense due to the huge value it can be expected to throw off for the participant, nevertheless has no good cause to be exempt from minimum wage, worker comp or other baseline protections.

I am actually quite curious how AFTRA got comfortable with on-screen cheerleaders not being covered by a guild contract of some sort, to say the least of not getting minimum wages.
posted by MattD at 8:51 AM on May 8


Has anyone studied the question of whether the cheerleaders "add value" to the franchise for most pro sports teams? Are the teams that choose to do without cheerleaders pulling fewer fans as a result? If you're a team owner and your options are either to pay the cheerleaders $250,000 p/a or just to drop cheerleaders altogether, which is the smart move from a purely financial perspective?
posted by yoink at 8:52 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


Well, for starters, when the cheerleaders do those promotional appearances they don't get paid for, the team is still pulling in a fee to arrange the thing.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:57 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


Asking for free labor in exchange for "prestige" is increasingly common, isn't it? But, then, I'm a writer...
posted by touchstone033 at 8:57 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


The cheerleaders serve as ambassadors in the community, from what I've seen. I saw the Raiderettes at the starting line of the Oakland Marathon this spring, with their sparkly pompoms and perfect makeup, cheering the runners as they went by.

I don't know if they got paid to stand around all morning and watch sweaty people collapse in a heap, but I hope they were. Can't have been all that much fun.

None of the Raiders showed up, though. Just the cheerleaders.
posted by suelac at 8:59 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


Generally because other options are even worse.

I doubt that. Any woman strong, smart, healthy, fast, and photogenic enough to get a professional cheerleading spot could, at the very least, work at a restaurant or store for more money, better hours, less stress, and no one checking to see that her tampon is inserted properly.
posted by pracowity at 9:02 AM on May 8


People keep asking why women do this and talking about it as money-related. When I was little (and the Cowboy Cheerleaders were more of a thing), this was the way you could be a girl and be involved in sports. Football wasn't the only sport when I was little, back in the dark ages, but it was THE sport, and if you were a girl, you couldn't grow up to coach or play. You could only be a cheerleader.

(There were some sports leagues for girls. I took gymnastics lessons and played a little after-school basketball but none of that had nearly the same prestige as FOOTBALL.)

Many children now grow up with more exposure to different options for little girls, like sports of their own, and many children grow up in places where football isn't a near-religion, but I wouldn't be shocked to know that there are still girls who cheerlead because it's what they can do to be near a sport they love (whether or not you think it's worth it or loved them back; obviously my answer to both is going to be no).
posted by immlass at 9:08 AM on May 8 [3 favorites]


Has anyone studied the question of whether the cheerleaders "add value" to the franchise for most pro sports teams?
it is reported that a squad does bring in an extra US$1 million per season.
...
The team makes a reported US$500,000 per season through appearances, as they charge US$200 per hour, per cheerleader. Despite being the most famous cheerleaders in the world, the Cowboys cheerleaders only make a reported US$50 per game, roughly US$200 per month, which is towards the bottom-tier of the league in salary.
link to the rest of the story
posted by nadawi at 9:08 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


I actually wrote Hess an email and thanked her for covering this story. Whether we're talking about cheerleaders or interns, if you're adding value to an organization, you should be compensated appropriately.

To those asking about the motivations of NFL cheerleaders, I was very briefly interested in auditioning because it sounded like fun. Getting paid anything to do something I like sounded like a good deal. My mother was a high school cheerleaders and since I went to a girls school, I ddn't really have that opportunity so it was exciting when I thought that as a college student, I could finally be a cheerleader. And make more than $0? Awesome! Also, I love football. Football is a thing in my family - we've held season tickets for 40+ years and my mother used to volunteer at games running a snack stand to raise money for our high school. I didn't think I could make the time commitment work though. And I almost definitely would not have survived the audition anyway.

Some have suggested that the idea of paying interns and cheerleaders is an outgrowth of the Occupy movement. I'm not sure that's true but I think it's a good development in any event.
posted by kat518 at 9:09 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


Any woman strong, smart, healthy, fast, and photogenic enough to get a professional cheerleading spot could, at the very least, work at a restaurant or store for more money, better hours, less stress, and no one checking to see that her tampon is inserted properly.

With that level of prestige? Bullshit.

The whole thing that makes this so complex is that these jobs--for which they are not even paid minimum wage--have intangible benefits associated with them that make them worth having, as ChuraChura outlines above. It's like being a Supreme Court clerk or doing scutwork for a Congressperson. The jobs suck in terms of pay and hours and, often, dignity. But they return in future potential, networkability and other stuff that make people more than happy to jump at the chance and even compete for them.

Owners/teams know this and the jobs are basically as poorly paid as they can make them with a whole bunch of lifestyle policing tossed on top of it because of institutionalized sexism, if not out and out general creepiness. The fact that there are better paying jobs with better hours for different work doesn't obviate the very reasonable request that these jobs have decent pay and less creepiness to them which was the point of this overall post.
posted by jessamyn at 9:10 AM on May 8 [12 favorites]


Women, especially women who are already conventionally beautiful, are taught that these things are important, that they are worth pursuing, that you must make the most of your beauty while you can.
Bingo.
And instead of focusine on solidarity, the focus is on divisiveness.

It's a buiness. As much fun as it may be, as much fame and attention you might get, at the end of the day, you better be looking at your bottom line.

And they're taught not to. So, no unions, if you complain about money you're a troublemaker (and easily replaced). ... oh, cheerleading? I thought we were talking about fighting.

Kind of funny how the same game gets play in different areas.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:12 AM on May 8


it is reported that a squad does bring in an extra US$1 million per season.

Unfortunately, that's the sum total of the analysis in that article. "It is reported that" (we're not even told by whom it is reported). But even if we assume that figure is correct, that poses something of a problem: if the most famous cheerleading squad in the entire world (the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders) only bring the team an additional $1 million in revenue, it's hard to imagine that $250K is worth it--on a strictly financial basis, for almost any other team.
posted by yoink at 9:16 AM on May 8


it doesn't itemize the sponsorships, or the reality show, or the merchandise. i'd honestly believe that a million is low. regardless - at appearances they charge $200 per cheerleader, while not paying the cheerleaders for those appearances. the idea that the cheerleaders shouldn't get a cut of that is ridiculous.
posted by nadawi at 9:19 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


looking around it seems like nfl team mascots are paid anywhere from 23k-65k per season, with bonuses and benefits. i'd wager the cheerleaders bring in more money than the mascots, but the mascots are paid an actual wage. i wonder why that is.
posted by nadawi at 9:23 AM on May 8 [4 favorites]


if the most famous cheerleading squad in the entire world (the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders) only bring the team an additional $1 million in revenue, it's hard to imagine that $250K is worth it--on a strictly financial basis, for almost any other team.

Which would be a fair argument for eliminating the programs that don't make money if that's what it comes to, but the idea that cheerleading is inherently unprofitable doesn't lead to "therefore it should be exempt from the minimum wage so NFL owners can profit from it anyway."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:29 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


i'd honestly believe that a million is low

I'd be happy to believe that, too: I'm just surprised no one seems to have actually crunched the numbers. The one thing that makes me dubious, on the other hand, is why seven NFL teams would leave that easy profit on the table, if it's really so valuable. Are the owners of the Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, and the Pittsburgh Steelers just committed feminists or what?
posted by yoink at 9:30 AM on May 8


Well, the Bills' cheerleading program exists, it's just suspended in response to the cheerleaders suing over low pay.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:31 AM on May 8


the idea that cheerleading is inherently unprofitable doesn't lead to "therefore it should be exempt from the minimum wage so NFL owners can profit from it anyway."

As I said in my first comment, I think that if you have official cheerleaders, you should pay them properly. I'm just trying to understand what the actual economic situation is. If the cheerleaders who are suing win their suit, will the consequence be the general disbanding of pro cheerleading squads because they're essentially unprofitable extras or will it be the creation of a remunerative career option for all those millions of girls who do cheer or dance as teens?
posted by yoink at 9:33 AM on May 8


the packers have college volunteers for cheering home games, the giants and the steelers are ethically opposed, the bears, browns, and lions mostly cite weather or being "more traditional" as the reason.
posted by nadawi at 9:39 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


Of course professional cheerleaders aren't compensated as professionals or treated as anything other than girls who need to look a certain way/do certain things in support of their team. It starts in middle school.

Every junior high school I know of that has a 7th-grade football team also has 7th-grade cheerleaders. Every high school I know of that has a junior varsity football team has JV cheerleaders. Every high school that I know of that has a varsity football team has a varsity cheerleading squad (co-ed, in some cases, but not where I grew up). Every college I know of that has a football team has a cheerleading squad (usually co-ed, from what I can tell).

Even beginning in 7th grade, the message is that these girls are here to look pretty and cheer on these boys, who are the main attraction after all.

I'm a football fan, and you will find me in my living room watching football every Sunday during the season. I also believe that women ought to be compensated fairly for any work they do, even if I find that work to be kind of demeaning to women in general. But really, this isn't an NFL problem. This goes all the way back to junior high school, where folks are comfortable having young girls dress up in little skirts and jump around to work up collective enthusiasm and crowd support for the boys on the field, and where there will always be girls willing to do that and for whom doing that gives them some sort of sense of accomplishment and worth. (Which I have never understood, but to each her own.)
posted by mudpuppie at 9:43 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


Even beginning in 7th grade, the message is that these girls are here to look pretty and cheer on these boys, who are the main attraction after all.

This is much less the case nowadays. Cheerleading is a sport of its own at the high school level (and to a lesser extent at the collegiate level) that is only tangentially related to the "boy" sports.
posted by Etrigan at 9:47 AM on May 8


Even with the absurd seasonal worker loophole, how can they justify confiscating tips?
posted by ckape at 9:49 AM on May 8


Cheerleading is a sport of its own at the high school level

There is cheerleading for sport, yes, but I'd argue that it's different from cheerleading for the football team. No one buys tickets to the high school football game to watch the cheerleaders. (Well, except for the cheerleaders' parents.) They're kind of extraneous and they fill the same role on the sideline that they've always filled.

Anyway, my point is that it's a problem that isn't really unique to the NFL, and I wish that the context for the discussion (not here, but in general) could broaden to reflect that.

Also, I'm admittedly old middle-aged, and things have certainly changed since I was in high school in a football-loving state, but I carpool with a woman whose daughter is a cheerleader, so at least some of my anecdotal evidence is current, if not exactly universal.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:01 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


Spicynuts: Seems like "NFL Cheerleader" on a resume could open up a lot of doors in certain industries: PR, Finance, etc simply out of curiosity and uniqueness.

But wouldn't, say, the Disney College Program do just as well?
posted by wenestvedt at 10:07 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


The NFL is trying super hard to attract women fans, but I join the loud chorus in saying that they would have an easier job of doing so without the cheerleaders.
posted by wingless_angel at 10:19 AM on May 8


“Philosophically we have always had issues with sending scantily clad women out on the field to entertain our fans,” said John Mara, the Giants co-owner. “It’s just not part of our philosophy.”
posted by Area Man at 10:30 AM on May 8


They're certainly not doing it for the money, but it's not too much to expect that they at least break even on the job. The NFL isn't a charity, much as it tries to get people to work for it for free. I refused to crochet Super Bowl scarves when that was A Thing. The idea was that our voluntary work product would be given to the volunteer workers at the game. I questioned why any of it was volunteer, considering how much money was involved. Same applies here, only more so.
posted by asperity at 10:32 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


My (brief) experience reporting on high school sports indicates that even a robust competitive cheerleading program isn't going to be nearly as visible as the sideline dance/cheer activities they do at other teams' games. The year the local team won a state championship there was some debate over whether it should "count" in our later story on the four (or three) teams that won state titles that school year.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:33 AM on May 8


In another place there was a chart above the sink showing how to wash your hands properly.

That's actually a public health requirement in most jurisdictions.

I like the idea above of every cheerleader just walking off five minutes into the game.

looking around it seems like nfl team mascots are paid anywhere from 23k-65k per season, with bonuses and benefits. i'd wager the cheerleaders bring in more money than the mascots, but the mascots are paid an actual wage. i wonder why that is.

a) patriarchy, b) because if you don't take the job at the rate offered, there's a hundred girls waiting in line behind you.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:39 AM on May 8


of course. you'll note that comment came while i was talking about whether it's worth it for the team to pay them - well,it's worth it for the mascot and i bet the mascots bring in less in appearance fees and charity writeoffs for the team.
posted by nadawi at 10:47 AM on May 8


Seems like "NFL Cheerleader" on a resume could open up a lot of doors in certain industries: PR, Finance, etc simply out of curiosity and uniqueness.

It's also a highly effective way to say on your resume that you are extremely attractive, by general society norms anyway. And that will certainly open doors.
posted by COD at 10:47 AM on May 8 [3 favorites]


what is the operational knowledge base for a man writing a manual addressed to women, about how to clean their vaginas? asking his wife seems a little awkward, but not nearly as bad as asking his mother or daughter.
posted by bruce at 11:06 AM on May 8


The NFL is trying super hard to attract women fans, but I join the loud chorus in saying that they would have an easier job of doing so without the cheerleaders.

I don't know about other non-cheer-led teams, but in 2007 the Steelers boasted the most female fans (with Green Bay second).

Also, the NFL has recently been studying how to increase female fan rates. Apparently merchandise apparel is a big deal, but I suppose if one will drop enough for tickets a shirt is cheap.
posted by mr. digits at 11:15 AM on May 8


The NFL is trying super hard to attract women fans

The Boston Red Sox caused a lot of tongue-wagging several years ago when they introduced pink baseball hats and T-shirts. It seems to have worked, more or less. (Some of the lazier sportswriters, i.e. CHB, often make snide remarks about the "pink hat constituency.") I assume the NFL is trying similar things.
posted by Melismata at 11:35 AM on May 8


Indeed -- not only pink, but associated with breast cancer and/or Alyssa Milano.
posted by mr. digits at 11:41 AM on May 8


And the Steelers appear to have 205 items of merchandise classified under "Ladies".
posted by mr. digits at 11:43 AM on May 8


the nfl has done great the last few years in womens merch - not only pink, but also regular colors jerseys cut into women's shirt shapes, tank tops, bathing suit coverups, and all sorts of other things. they've also started making women focused ads, and including women as fans in their more general ads.
posted by nadawi at 11:44 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


The new stadium in Dallas now allows for blocking your view of the field with cheerleader backsides.
posted by JanetLand at 11:53 AM on May 8


One assumes those seats are a) more expensive, and b) come with kleenex at every seat.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:59 AM on May 8


Obviously I can't speak for everyone but if I had to go to Texas Stadium I'd pay good money for them to put anything opaque between me and the Cowboys. I'd think a pillar would be more cost-effective but given the OP the cheerleaders may indeed get paid less than concrete.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:20 PM on May 8 [4 favorites]


One assumes those seats are a) more expensive, and b) come with kleenex at every seat.
c) are actually a time machine to the 1950s, because otherwise, WTF America?
posted by fullerine at 1:45 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]


jerry jones and the cowboys are a lot of the reason the system is like it is, and they're the ones that benefit the most from it.
posted by nadawi at 1:57 PM on May 8


I tended bar in the 90s at a restaurant where the local NFL team would go immediately following games. The players were almost without exception impatient, demanding and snotty. They'd do things like grab food they did not order off our trays (screwing their own teammates) and run up astronomical bills in record time, which they would eventually dispute. It was hellish chaos, followed by mostly horrible tips, if there were any.

The cheerleaders on the other hand were patient and gracious, and this is when I learned how they made about $20/game, and that they mostly did it as a résumé builder. They were invariably intelligent and interesting, and they tipped exceptionally well.

There would be the occasional customer who'd say something like "hey is that [jersey number or famous player]?" and I'd give them a cold who-cares look and shrug and say, "I have no idea. But that's Christy, and that's Vanessa, and that's Sharon... and they're AWESOME."

I still have a team flag they gave me with signed lipstick prints and notes of thanks. Never bothered to get a player's autograph.
posted by hypersloth at 4:24 PM on May 8 [15 favorites]


ckape: "Even with the absurd seasonal worker loophole, how can they justify confiscating tips?"

Must be a "all proceeds to charity" sort of thing, the women "donate" their tips and the team does it to increase the total from the event.
posted by Mitheral at 8:14 PM on May 8


what is the operational knowledge base for a man writing a manual addressed to women, about how to clean their vaginas?

Oh I guarantee yoii the lifestyle policing is done by older women, not men. Probably under the guise of "you have to be good enough for our young men!". I doubt the male managers and executives know or give a shit.
posted by fshgrl at 9:27 PM on May 8 [3 favorites]


SUUUUUUUNDAY!! HERE COMES THAT FEEEEEVER!!!!
posted by JanetLand at 10:17 AM on May 9


Oh ffs. What is it about jobs that involve women's sexuality that when these women advocate for better working conditions one of the first responses from everyone else is "well why are these women stupid enough to want those jobs in the first place?"?!

Victim-blaming much?

Why does it matter why they wanted the job? Whether it's a resume builder or they love football or they really enjoy dancing but don't want to/can't go through the professional artist route or because they followed a fortune cookie slip - WHATEVER. That's not at all grounds for exploitation and draconic control.

The job market is fucked for everyone that's not the 1%. It's not that easy to get a restaurant job (and even if it is there's no guarantee you'd be treated any better). And it's not like you always know what sort of pay situation you'll get upfront (I didn't know about this until this FPP). Come on. Let's not try to disparage the women here and make it somehow their fault they're being exploited.
posted by divabat at 9:16 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


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