The Male Gaze in College Sports

Media Example


The 100 Hottest Cheerleader Pics in College Football

This article (if it can really be called that) is a compilation of pictures rating 100 college football cheerleaders on their attractiveness. It’s posted on the sports reporting website, Bleacher Report, which has a predominately male audience. I came across this when it was re-posted to the Bleacher Report twitter a few months ago. I was appalled that something like this exists.

It could be argued that the women in the pictures are just postfeminist. They chose to dress in tight clothes and put on a lot of make-up and put on a show for the spectators because it is what they wanted. However, coming from the perspective of a former collegiate dancer, I do not think this is the case. I joined dance in college to pursue the competitive aspects of an art form and sport that I really enjoyed in high school. Cheering/dancing at football and basketball games was something we did on the side because the school needed a “spirit squad.” The pressure to always look good for an audience that didn’t appreciate all the hard work and competition that goes on behind the scenes was the reason I ended up quitting the team. I can’t speak for the girls represented in the Bleacher Report article, but I’m willing to bet they didn’t put in hours of practice time and workouts every week to be judged on how good they look during football games. This is a perfect example of the male gaze being used, because the women on the other side of the camera have no say in the way their image is judged.


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