The Silenced Cheerleader

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/Cowboys-cheerleader-knocked-over-by-Witten-force?urn=nfl-wp12519

Here’s a link to an article that I found online about a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader who was forced to her delete her Twitter account after tweeting a couple of harmless comments about an encounter she had with a football player during Thursday’s game. In the article, it is asked “Do the Cowboys believe that cheerleaders are only to be seen, not heard?”   Which is a question I couldn’t help to ponder as well. The fact that this cheerleader created a small following of her own after accidently being tackled by a football player, seemed to have posed a threat to the owners of the team. When the cheerleaders are being filmed by TV networks in their sports bras and workout shorts, it is ok for them to be admired and gain followers in that manners, but while being everyday people, and making jokes about unfortunate events, it is not ideal for them to be admired for that.

Reading this article led me the think about the countless arguments that are made on behalf of women and the fact that they are supposed to be silent figures, especially in comparison to men. Additionally, it was thought that women were to remain in the background, thus preventing women from having any form of personality at all. As a result of women being forced to silence themselves, they are left to only be seen and not heard, which is the case of this Cheerleader. She was forced to silence herself as a person, but to remain seen in her skimpy uniform, made-up face and perfect hair.

Although this cheerleader was not mocking the team in anyway in her tweets, why do think she was forced to delete her Twitter account?

Does the team’s action take away her rights to Freedom of Speech?

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5 thoughts on “The Silenced Cheerleader

  1. I think that her right to freedom of speech were violated because her “tweets” had the potential to ruin the team’s idealized performance. Tackling the cheerleader was clearly a huge mistake, and I’m sure the members of the team and the owners of the team do not want the incident to receive any more attention than it already had. It not only makes the football player look like he is clumsy and therefore not a good player; it also emphasizes the violence of football. Some people criticize football for the violence it involves and the serious injuries it leads to, and football fans/players/coaches/etc combat this criticism by arguing that the players choose to take part in the sport. The fact that someone was hurt who was not even participating in the sport emphasizes how risky football can be and reflects poorly on the entire team. As a result, I think they wanted to suppress the negative image this cheerleader’s comments might evoke, and I think it was also much easier for them to silence her because she is a woman.

    • I’m pretty sure this has nothing to do with the player being clumsy or drawing attention to the fact that football is a violent sport. Incidents like this happen every game where players run into reporters, cheerleaders, and other workers who are on the sideline. It’s just part of the game. Rather, I think “sociologyrus” raises more of the important issues that this incident actually brings light to. I think the analysis that the cheerleader was veering from her expected “role” of being a cowboy girl is spot. I believe the deletion of her Twitter account was more about “putting her back into line” than anything else. She started to garner attention for something other than her role of performing for audiences as a cheerleader, and I think the Dallas Cowboys organization saw this and panicked by pulling the plug on her Twitter. They obviously have very specific expectations for her as a cheerleader, and a lot of this underlies sex roles and discriminations. Like “sociologyrus” stated, all they want from her is to be a pretty girl in the background without a voice, performing for a male dominated crowd. As soon as she started to become an individual, they had to squash it. It’s pretty alarming the way women are still restricted sometimes in our society.

  2. I actually saw this article myself today, read through it, and read her tweets as well. I didn’t really see any reason why the Cowboys felt it necessary to sensor her comments as they seemed really playful and harmless to the organization. As a matter of fact, the whole incident seemed merely a boost to chivalry in my opinion. As mentioned above football is a rough sport and accidents like this unfortunately occur often when players are going full speed and having to come to a quick halt when they run out of bounds. Jason Witten wasn’t able to pull up in time before he ran over this ppor cheerleader, but he certainly felt bad and made sure she was alright when he helped her up. This is not the first time something like this has happened nor will it be the last. This cheerleaders tweets were in no way negative and only brought more popularity and attention to the team. A similar situation happened a few weeks ago when a Bills receiver caught a touchdown pass and the ran over and gave his girlfriend, a different Cowboy’s cheerleader the ball. I’d say that situation was a lot less positive for the Cowboys organization than this little accident.

  3. In regard to the Texas cheerleader who was forced to cheer for the man who raped her I am disgusted with the school and also the system that has allowed this to happen.
    First of all, the fact that he was not expelled from this school after raping a classmate is beyond me. In theory, committing any sort of violence against a classmate is responded to by administrators. However, when you look at recent articles on bullying, gay bashing and this cheerleader, you can see that some violences are ignored.
    To say that the cheerleader is a voice for the school and thus, if she is not willing to cheer for the man who committed a brutal sexual assault against her, cannot be allowed to continue as a cheerleader BUT the man who committed the assault can continue to play basketball with no consequences is beyond me.
    For me this emphasizes Smith’s bifurcation of consciousness- that there is a dominant view that we all must adapt to. Here, that view is privileging the male (rapist) over the female (victim). This is actually not unusual and contributes to the rape culture that we experience today. Further evidence of this is the fact that she was asked to not participate in the homecoming rituals and stay out of the cafeteria. Rather than isolating and alienating the man found guilty of the crime, she is the one who is told to stay away. Actions like these teach women that what happened to them is something to be ashamed of.
    As Eve Ensler says, I’m OVER IT. I’m tired of this system and disgusted that women are still being treated this way.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eve-ensler/over-it_b_1089013.html

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