How The Cheerleader Became Sexy
The Takkle Squad
Posted by Michelle Sibley
When people think of cheerleaders, their mind wanders to pretty girls with short skirts, midriff-revealing shirts and sexy dance moves. The cheerleader, in fact, is an American icon of popularity, beauty and sexuality. However, cheerleaders weren’t always sexy. In fact, the first cheerleaders wore long sleeves, long pants and bowties…they were males!
It wasn’t until 1923 that the first woman became a cheerleader, and at that point, the sport began its transformation. The first female cheerleaders wore turtleneck sweaters and long skirts. They didn’t wear revealing outfits, let alone dance or perform stunts in a provocative manner, but instead, they lead the crowd in organized cheering for college sports.
It wasn’t until 1960, when the NFL’s Baltimore Colts (now the Indianapolis Colts) hired models to be cheerleaders for their football games, that cheerleading transformed sports into sports entertainment. In 1972, when the models proved to be too “dainty” for the harsh weather conditions, Tex Schramm, the General Manager of the Dallas Cowboys, hired 7 dancers to “lead the crowd.” Eventually, college and high schools followed, perpetuating the notion of cheerleaders are entertainers.
With the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders leading the way, the skirts became shorter and the shirts became tighter. The uniform change had two purposes: 1) to entertain the crowd and 2) to allow for dance, gymnastics and athletics to be fully incorporated into cheerleading.
And thus….the modern, SEXY cheerleader: