From Sidelines to Center Stage: The Development of Collegiate Competitive Cheer
Olson, Sarah Elizabeth
Cheerleading has undergone a number of significant transformations since its nineteenth century, collegiate, male-dominated roots. Tracing its genealogy through the twenty-first century, one finds a unique set of co-mingled processes including institutionalization, feminization, commercialization, sexualization, and sportization. In this project, I seek to understand competitive cheerleading's current transition in the athletic community. In the past four years the University of Maryland and the University of Oregon have created varsity women's competitive cheer teams and their decision to recognize competitive cheer as a sanctioned sport has caused much debate. While many of those within the cheer community push for its varsitization, others from both inside competitive cheer and the larger women's athletic community dispute its status as an organized sport. In this project I will analyze why competitive cheer is making this transition at this historical moment and how Title IX has propelled this process.