Bob Kiralfy, chairman of the BCA, explained the change this way, "In Britain our rules are based on NFHS standards, so when the NF Spirit Rule Book tightened the definition of the uniform code to disallow bare midriffs in line with other sports apparel the British Cheerleading Association advised all clubs that this would apply here from 1 January 2007. We too would not like to see a trend towards ever skimpier uniforms with exotic dancer makeup. Cheerleading is an athletic discipline with a wholesome sporting image to uphold."
Although that sounds reasonable enough, one squad has a totally different opinion of the change. Hannah Jones, coach of the Spirit Shockers from Glossop, voiced her side of the controversy this way, "My thoughts are that it should be a squad choice and not a rule. My girls designed their uniforms themselves and are comfortable in them. We only purchased them 6 months ago, so we are fundraising like mad and looking for a sponsorship for us to comply with the rule by next January and not miss out on the competitions." She went on to say, "Fortunately, I am quite a small squad so replacing or adapting them won't be a major financial effort. I feel sorry for the larger squads and it would be a shame to loose squads or individuals due to a lack of money."
So, my questions to you are:
- Where do you stand on this debate?
- Is a uniform rule necessary?
- Should cheerleaders cover their midriffs?
- Does what you wear distract from your athleticism?
- Do skimpy uniforms put pressure on young women to lose weight and/or eat unhealthy?
- Do sexy uniforms and excessive makeup tarnish the image of cheerleading?
- Should what you wear be an association rule or individual/squad decision?
Personally, I feel the rule will help raise the overall impression people have of cheerleading and cheerleaders as a whole. Cheerleaders all ready have to deal with so many unfair stereotypes and misconception about their sport, why add more fuel to the fire?
Then again, as I play the devil's advocate here, does this new rule sound anything like the one the Texas Legislature tried to pass banning risque and suggestive moves in cheerleading? Who exactly should determine what cheerleaders do? Where do the coaches, the parents and cheerleaders fit in on all of these decisions and rules? Will this one small rule lead to others and if so, where will it stop and who will be responsible for the interpretation of them?