The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

Sexualized in Sports: Women Need Better Support

Quinn Rudnick
Members of Creek’s cheer hold up the opening banner during the homecoming football game on Oct. 6. During games, many members of the cheer and poms team face discriminatory comments that don’t match the amount of respect they deserve.

Most male athletes don’t worry about being sexualized when playing a sport. But for many female athletes, including the award winning poms and cheer teams, this harassment isn’t an anomaly. 

“[When we are dancing to a] Justin Timberlake or Britney Spears type of song, where it’s more sensual, people take it a little bit differently. They take it more as a sexual dance rather than just a dance to be shared amongst our peers,” senior and captain of the varsity poms team Annika Rouse said.

During the majority of the school year, most of the girls on these teams are used to receiving uncomfortable and dehumanizing comments, as well as getting constantly sexualized and harassed. But because the comments don’t stop, most of the athletes learn how to move past and ignore these comments.

“It doesn’t really phase me personally when comments are made,” senior varsity cheerleader Elena Pombo said over text interview. “Sure, there are comments here and there, but it’s pretty normal for a performance-based sport where we’re always on display.”

For a lot of athletes, the constant feeling of needing to hype up the crowd and properly represent the school is difficult. Working to always impress students while feeling like they’re on ‘display’ often leads to an uncomfortable feeling when performing.

“[The poms’ team is] publicly displayed in front of our student body every single Friday or every single day. It just kind of sucks.” Rouse said.

While cheer and poms are both popular sports, they are both severely underappreciated because of this outlook.  

“[It] breaks my heart that they’re subject to that and it breaks my heart that they don’t get the recognition for what they’re actually doing,” head poms coach Alex Limberius said. 

The girls on these teams are just like any other athlete. Athletes that have little free time because they spend multiple numbers of hours a week practicing to make sure that they can perfect their skills and become the best they can be. But these comments deteriorate the respect they deserve. 

On top of this, when hearing these sexualizing comments, they have severely limited options on how and if they are allowed to respond. 

“We have to keep dancing, because obviously, when you’re dancing, you don’t have that time to talk to people,” Rouse said.  “Usually when we get those types of comments during our dancing, or if we hear things, it makes us want to do better and to go bigger.”

While girls on the poms and cheer teams get sexualized because of what they wear, they should be able to participate in their sport without being forced to adapt to disrespect.

Pom uniforms have to allow dancers to kick high without having extra material bunching up and getting in the way of their performance. Cheer uniforms have to be out of the way so that when they are flying or lifting others up fabric doesn’t cause distractions or  injuries messing up their performance. And while the uniforms are designed to make the team look better, they are mostly for function. It’s ludicrous that a uniform designed for practicality is causing girls to get sexualized.

“We pay lots of money just to get those [uniforms] and we want to be able to show them to our student body,” Rouse said. 

These girls have pushed past this constant sexualization, however, it shouldn’t be something that is normalized, and rather, needs to be stopped. This problem extends past the field and past just the cheer and poms teams. 

“Women get sexualized no matter if they’re wearing swimsuits or sweatpants, so I think it’s better to alter our uniforms to fit our needs [with both looks and function] than to avoid the comments and judgment of others,” Pombo said. 

The athletes should be able to wear what they want, without feeling nervous about getting sexualized, especially when participating in school events and sports. There should be no reason why girls should hear inappropriate and sickening comments about their uniforms which they pridefully strive to wear.

Everyone should be able to participate in their sport or go about their daily activities no matter the outfit without getting sexualized. Students need to start having respect for one another and allow for a safe environment for people to participate in their sports without harassment.

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About the Contributors
Ava Segale
Ava Segale, Staff Writer
Hi, my name is Ava Segale and I’m a senior at Creek. This is my first year in the USJ and I love to write, spend time with my family and friends, and ski.

Serenity Hurtado
Serenity Hurtado, Assistant Features Editor
Hello, My name is Serenity. I’m a sophomore and this is my first year with USJ. I love to write because it shows the different perspectives and can create a deep meaning. I really enjoy theater, science, animals, biking and hanging with family.
Quinn Rudnick
Quinn Rudnick, Editor-in-Chief
Hello, my name is Quinn Rudnick, and I am the USJ's Editor-in-Chief. I am a senior at CCHS - and this is my fourth year on staff at the USJ. I hold a strong passion for both journalism and photojournalism, and intend to pursue a career in politics and law. As a journalist, I strive to present information to the student body and beyond in a factual and digestible fashion. The importance of journalism is based in allowing the public to understand what's happening around them, so that is what I strive to do. I write a lot about local and global politics, as well as local theatre and events around the school. You can find me at a lot of Creek sports games, fueling my passion for sports photography and reporting. Outside of the USJ, I follow Formula One racing, the Nuggets and the Avs, and I love being outside, whether that's on hikes, or by snowboarding and mountain biking. 

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