April 26, 2014
NFL CHEERLEADERS DON’T DO IT FOR THE MONEY:
But should people be outraged? For that, we still need to know why these women do it.
They are not, after all, being forced. They audition for spots on the team, and the reason that management can get away with being so obnoxious is that for every woman who makes it, many more would love to take her spot. So they must get something out of their performance: status, the joy of dancing in public, esprit de corps.
It seems conceivable to me — indeed, likely — that women who get a spot on the local cheerleading squad enjoy better job prospects and enhanced dating opportunities. Forget whether these women should want to date men who want to date them because they like telling people that their girlfriend is a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. I’m sure cheerleaders like the oohs of appreciation they get when someone drops the name of their squad, just like journalists don’t mind the reaction when they tell folks they work for the Economist or the New York Times. And while you wouldn’t want someone whose only interest in you was your prestige employer, you probably wouldn’t really mind if they considered that a small plus factor.
The team, then, has something these women value. Should we be angry that the team trades it on the best possible terms?
It’s basically the athletic equivalent of an unpaid internship.
They also get access to NFL players, which may have significant value.