During any random NFL broadcast, a fan will be subjected to numerous quick views of cheerleaders before and after commercial breaks, only to be followed by beer ads featuring cheerleaders so prominently that a foreigner may assume that they are as pivotal to the game itself as the forward pass. Now, the “traditional” use of a cheerleader was to boost fan morale through their upbeat chants, but in stadiums that fit 75,000 fans, they are nothing more than a small group of insignificant ants in glorified bras and miniskirts. So why have them at all?
Well, the simple explanation is that men like looking at women to satisfy their sexual appetites, but in this case, it doesn’t go far enough. In reality, whether conscious or subconscious, the continued inclusion of cheerleaders in pro sports is nothing more than patriarchal society tightening its insecure grip in a male heavy setting immersed in power struggle. As a long time NFL fan, I’ve pretty much pitched tents at sports bars on Sunday autumn afternoons. And there have been countless times when random strangers ( due to their proximity or similar team allegiance) have made some snide comment about a featured cheerleader as if this proclamation was needed to help accumulate the necessary male capital in an attempt to become the world’s biggest asshole. As if an afternoon of watching grown men bash their heads together (in the company of other grown men) is so threatening to the strength of manhood that they have to prove their masculinity by making some comment about banging some chick he’s way to ugly to get. Plus, it seems that males need to use the female image as some kind of unifier, in the midst of all male competition, to further prove to themselves that they are truly masters of the universe by belittling/sexualizing the female and implying she is his inferior. I know why beer commercials plaster the cheerleader image and I know why male viewers feel the need to comment. It’s to save face and a false sense of security.