It’s halftime at a basketball game. Like most of the crowd, you probably get up to use the lady’s room, grab a beer, or just stretch after sitting for a while. These concepts apparently seem foreign to University of Oregon Board of Trustee member Ginevra Ralph. At a recent meeting, Ralph blamed the cheerleaders for people leaving during halftime, saying, “I have watched people be incredibly uncomfortable with the U of O cheerleaders, and they actually leave the basketball arena during intermission because of the overt sexual dancing, or whatever you want to call it. It’s one thing if someone is doing any of that on their own, but we are making a public statement. I’d like to see us analyze it a little bit.” I’d like to formally invite Ginevra to my middle school’s monthly dances so she can actually see what vulgar dancing looks like (and I went to a Catholic school). The concerns are raised a year after a freshman student at University of Oregon claims she was gang-raped by three basketball players at the school. Ralph said she is trying to understand those who might think the dancing supports a “rape culture.” Like most cheerleading teams, the UO girls bare their midriffs and wear heavy makeup, not unlike any girl you pass at the beach in the summer. Ralph further complained that the songs they perform to, such as Jessie J’s “Bang Bang,” have overtly sexual lyrics. Check out one of their routine from December 2014 for a taste of their style. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5tjotbEviM&w=640&h=360] No one can deny it’s sexy, but they’re cheerleaders. They’re supposed to be sexy. Who wants to watch a cheerleader that doesn’t smile and shake her ass a little?
UO psychology professor Jennifer Freyd and a graduate student, Marina Rosenthal, are in the middle of a study that examines how college students react after they watch UO sports. Participants watch 30-second video clips of UO teams including men’s football, men’s basketball, men’s and women’s volleyball, and cheerleading. They plan to examine if watching the cheerleaders increases acceptance of rape.
Until they conclude their study, make sure to stay for the halftime show.