You Won’t Believe These Sexist College Cheerleader Dos and Don’ts

The University of Washington’s guidance on how to look for cheerleader tryouts.
The University of Washington’s guidance on how to look for cheerleader tryouts.

Take a trip back to the 1950s! On Monday, April 25 — four days before cheerleading tryouts at the University of Washington in Seattle — a flier was posted to the school’s Facebook page with some tips on how to make the Huskies squad. The infographic, which was first reported by The Seattle Times, pictured a scantily clad, blonde woman and included a tutorial on how to dress and groom.

Some of the Dos

Have a bronze, beachy glow

Rock “girl about town” lipstick, false eyelashes and flattering eye-shadow

Be physically fit, with an athletic physique

Come dressed in a solid black sports bra and mid-rise black shorts

Some Don’ts

Visible tattoos

Nude lips 

Distracting fingernail polish

Tops that cover the midriff

High-waisted shorts

Ponytails or trendy colored tresses

“I can’t believe this is real,” UW student Jazmine Perez, director of programming for student government, told The Seattle Times. “One of the first things that comes to mind is objectification and idealization of Western beauty, which are values I would like to believe the University doesn’t want to perpetuate. As a student of color who looks nothing like the student in the poster, this feels very exclusive.” She wasn’t alone in the sentiment. “Thanks UW for setting women back 100 years!” wrote one person on Twitter, while another posted, “And we wonder why women are treated differently everywhere.”

Following the social media outrage, the poster was removed on April 26. “Some of the details and descriptions provided were inconsistent with the values of the UW spirit program and department of athletics,” the university said in a statement, according to NBC News. “Athletic department officials have reinforced the values of the programs to UW spirit leadership, and look forward to an equitable and diverse tryout process for interested students.”

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