Women found on sidelines

Once upon a time, the female half of the human race was considered the inferior sex. Women, considered so frail they were not allowed to do a an’s job, were left barefoot, at home and in the kitchen. Further, they were encouraged, not in reality but in theory, to bow down to mankind. while this tale might sound medieval, there is presently a place on this planet where women actually get on their knees and bow down to men.

Until I arrived at IU, I never would have guessed that women literally bowed down to men in the United States of America.

Seventeen-thousand witnesses cheer on an event in the second half of every men’s basketball game that serves only to degrade and demean women.

Yes, and only the most progressive of organizations, the cheerleaders, carries out this pitiful dance in which women are reduced to bimbos at the alter of strong and powerful men who form a human pyramid and beat their chests in support of the Hoosiers.

This is not, of course, how the numerous fans in attendance view the event.

They view it as the penultimate moment of the second half when everybody, except those cheering for the visiting team, stands up and makes enough noise to carry the Hoosier basketball team on to victory by the resulting adrenaline.

The fans are, of course, absolutely correct in their assessment of the situation. The whole song, dance and parade of flags spelling out “Indiana Hoosiers” is a wonderful moment and I certainly come away feeling energized, certain my Hoosiers will carry the day.

It’s not so wonderful when you contemplate the effect it could have on young girls in the audience. The subtle message is young girls should aim to be cheerleaders when they grow up, and they will need to bow down to men.

“It sets up and epitomizes a hierarchy,” Dean of Women’s Affairs Jean Robinson pointed out to me.

“It’s not the specific postures of being a cheerleader, it is being on the sidelines leading cheers,” Robinson added. She believes young girls should “aim to be a player.”

That said, it is important to remember that cheerleaders are, and will continue to be, an integral part of IU sports. Their presence adds significantly to the enjoyment of hoops games. All I am asking for is for cheerleaders to eliminate their more damaging routines. In this case, keep the flags that spell out “Indiana Hoosiers” and dump the women bowing down to a pyramid of men.

Women are not inferior to men. They are equals.

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