Ready? Ok! Jim McMullan from MTV's Made gives the scoop1 on the sport everyone loves to hate.
Why Are Cheerleaders Popular?
Although the short skirts probably grab all the guys' attention, the main reason cheerleaders are so popular is “they're very involved, outgoing and energetic,” says Jim. “Plus, there's an entertainment value. You're the star of the show and everyone's eyes are on you.” And why do cheerleaders seem so darn2 confident? “They get confidence by being in front of people and being the center of attention,” Jim adds. We know plenty of celebs who get a boost3 from being in the spotlight, too!
You Want to Be Popular. Should You Try Out4?
If you want to cheer just to gain popularity, consider this: “Girls who want to be popular should see that it is a sport and you can get hurt,” Jim says. “I just broke my nose at practice!” Plus, cheerleaders give up a lot of social activities for practice, which can be up to five days a week and three hours at a time! (That doesn't count competitions and school games.) So make sure you're willing to sacrifice Friday night parties before you try out!
What If You Don't Fit the Stereotype5?
No worries! Even President Bush was a cheerleader back in the day—so don't assume they're all just blonde Barbie dolls. “I have girls on my team who are total alternative rock fans and I also have complete girlie-girls who love Louis Vuitton and makeup,” Jim says. “I like the individuality because it gives the team an edge6 and personality.” Jim even has guys on his squad7. “When the crowd sees the guys come out, they love it!”
Is It All Fun in the Game?
Surprisingly, cheerleaders have to deal with criticism and self-doubt just like everyone else. “People say cheerleaders are airheads8, that they only care about dating guys and being popular,” Jim says. “People think they can be very cliquey9 and don't let outsiders in, which I know is false.” And not only do cheerleaders have to deal with haters, but they put tons of pressure on themselves. “The problems are mostly about weight and self-esteem10. They think they're not good enough.” Even worse, the moms can get more competitive than the girls! “Sometimes a mother will go up to a teammate and say, ‘You messed up11,’” Jim says. Yikes12, sound harsh!
Forget the nasty14 stereotypes and misconceptions! Cheerleading can be a tough sport, but there's room for everyone (even you!). Remember—not everything is what you think!