Oregon’s Cheerleaders Targeted For Being Too Sexual


In a piece by Diane Dietz at the Register-Guard it’s suggested that U of O Cheerleaders overtly sexual dances are not only making people uncomfortable but also leading to crime and the devaluing of women. Citing a topic approached by University of Oregon Trustee Ginevra Ralph in a recent meeting. Ralph thought they should discuss the dancing being performed by Cheerleaders at basketball games.

In the meeting the article states the conversation largely began and ended right there.  Dietz picked up there and decided to take the story further. There is a valid point; their music selection is very sexual. Maybe that’s where the conversation should be focused. Picking music that is less sexually suggestive. Beyond that it’s tough to argue the dancing is the biggest problem facing attendees.

The University of Oregon and Their Cheerleaders Are Attempting to Entertain, Not Parent

Apr, 27, 2013; Eugene, OR, USA; Ava Griffin age 3 poses with Oregon cheerleaders at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

The argument that people are uncomfortable largely falls on deaf ears with me. At a University of Oregon sporting event, or any sporting event if you have children you will have to navigate a slew of potentially problematic situations. Foul language, drinking and drugs and fights are commonplace. As a parent It’s my responsibility to shelter my daughters from anything that I believe they’re not old enough to understand (This is not one of my daughters pictured). It’s not society’s responsibility to adapt to my beliefs or comfort levels.

As for the dances and uniforms themselves they are a product of the culture of the University of Oregon. The tradition of the University of Oregon in innovation, and Oregon Cheerleaders acting as an ambassador for the school needs to be every bit as innovative as the shiny helmets and latest shoes worn by the programs they represent. Dancing in the latest equipment to trendy music is a fit for this program.

Oregon Dancers Targeted Without Their Point of View

“I watched some of the UO routines on YouTube, and there were a handful of moves that could be interpreted as “sexual” (booty pops, hair flips) but in this day and age those moves are so common in the dance world that they have honestly become somewhat “desexualized.” (-Erin Former D1 Dancer)

I decided to reach out to Erin, who was a cheerleader at a Division I college, and a pro team. I asked her to read the article and give me her reaction and I was surprised to hear that she thought there was some validity to the trustee’s argument.  Erin went on to say “I watched some of the UO routines on YouTube, and there were a handful of moves that could be interpreted as “sexual” (booty pops, hair flips) but in this day and age those moves are so common in the dance world that they have honestly become somewhat “desexualized.”

I asked if there was ever a time that she was asked to do something that made her uncomfortable?  Erin replied “Not one bit. We did tons of appearances (at gas stations, schools, nursing homes)…nothing was ever degrading or embarrassing. Our coach would NEVER have put us in any situation that would compromise our integrity or make us feel uncomfortable. I only have extremely positive experiences from my [College Dance] days!” 

Oregon Dancers Targeted as Driving Popular Culture on Campus 

More from Autzen Zoo

In the article Dietz reaches out to Dana Rogline, and uses some of her quotes to suggest that the dancing on campus is leading to that type of dance being used off campus. Rogline is quoted as saying “Women are just sexual objects that can be used and their way of being in the world can be dictated to them. That’s just not acceptable.” This feels unfair at best. The argument that if a woman decides to express her sexuality in any way is her simply conforming to what’s “expected of her” takes away her own choices. Does Dietz reach the same conclusion about Shakespeare leading to suicide pacts, incest or murder? Should the drama department stop doing any plays with any of these topics?

It seems Dietz and Rogline look down on women like Erin, which is sad. In the piece the suggestion is if you allow women to sexually dance they must be conforming to what’s expected of her. Wouldn’t reigning in the dancing and making it less “sexual” just mean they were conforming to another set of expectations? I think if the dancing by the cheerleaders bothers you don’t go to events you’ll have to see them. Watch the games on TV, you’ll rarely see the cheerleaders and when you do they’ll typically just be waving. Other places you might want to avoid are dance competitions, school dances, the internet, music videos, commercials, comic books and television in general because I’m not sure you can handle how sexual the world has become.