Focusing on the cheerleader as an American icon gives an interesting insight into the different ways cheerleading is viewed in the United States. The blog is well written and offers good analysis of the sport, highlighting the sexualisation and stereotypes that cheerleaders often face.
The blog offers insightful comparisons between high school cheerleading; where the organisations tend to be ‘high skill and competitive’, and professional organisations that ‘largely depend on physical appearance and moderate dancing skills’. This suggests that in high school and college, actual athletic ability matters in the sport, whereas in professional teams the focus is more on appearance and the attractiveness of the cheerleaders themselves.
Cheerleading being derogatory towards women is suggested in the blog, and despite this fact, young girls still desire to be a cheerleader. This is not necessarily for wanting to take part in the sport, but wanting the attention and popularity that cheerleaders get. The blog points this out well by using a lyric from Taylor Swift’s You Belong With Me, in which Swift ‘suggests that she craves the status of the cheerleader for her ability to attract the attention of others, yet the cheerleader is clearly not someone who Swift desires to emulate’.
The author contributes an interesting point to the debate in which they bring in the view of their French study partner, who states that ‘she associates the cheerleader with the derogatory symbolism identified’ and these ideas have been shaped by American TV and films. The use of this international opinion reinforces the idea of the American icon, as since cheerleading is recognised in this way in different countries across the world, it becomes a truly iconic symbol.
Overall, the blog was brilliant and offered well-researched points about the culture of cheerleading in the United States. It would be interesting to see these points expanded on in an extended essay as the blog was interesting to read.
 Melissa Wagoner, ‘The Cheerleader’, published 27th April 2016 <https://americaniconstemeple.wordpress.com/2016/04/27/the-cheerleader/>, accessed 22nd February 2017.