Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title:Interviews in the Field: Cheering squads and performances of visibility
Author(s):Thangaraj, Stan
Social Spaces
Abstract:This project focuses on the unique space of cheerleading where male and female bodies interact in the same athletic space intertwined in the fabric of performance and asks the following questions: How did they view their bodies before entering the cheering squad? How has it altered their views of sexuality? How do they train their bodies in a multiply gendered space? What role do these bodies then play in the health of the community? What outreach exists for the cheering squad? On the basis of interviews, observations, and review of university documents, the study finds that, although Title IX calls for gender equality in the arena of sports de jure, de facto reality proves otherwise in this case. The novices to the cheering squad initially cheer for the women’s basketball team while the senior cheerleaders work the men’s basketball games. The author also points to the prominence of the female cheerleader’s body on national TV, while the camera rarely confines its view to show only male cheerleaders. In addition, the success of the men’s team apparently directly impacts the success of cheering tryouts.
Issue Date:2005-05-15
Publication Status:unpublished
Date Available in IDEALS:2007-09-21

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Student Communities and Culture
    The university offers an extraordinary opportunity to study and document student communities, life, and culture. This collection includes research on the activities, clubs, and durable social networks that comprise sometimes the greater portion of the university experience for students.
  • Diversity on Campus/Equity and Access
    This collection examines ways in which the U.S. university and the American college experience are affected by diversity, and difference. In particular, these student projects examine experiences of diversity on campus, including important contemporary social, cultural, and political debates on equity and access to university resources.

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