What’s Current: Redskins cheerleaders say they were ‘pimped out’ on trip to Costa Rica

What’s Current is Feminist Current’s daily news roundup.

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  • NFL cheerleaders describe a promotional trip as being pimped out to male sponsors by the team’s management:

“‘They weren’t putting a gun to our heads, but it was mandatory for us to go,’ one of the cheerleaders said. ‘We weren’t asked, we were told. Other girls were devastated because we knew exactly what she was doing.'”

  • Iowa has passed the most restrictive abortion ban in the US, prohibiting abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detectable, which is often around six weeks, before many women even know they’re pregnant.
  • Approximately 450,000 women in England were not informed that they were due for breast cancer screenings due to a failure of the notification system. Up to 270 women may have died as a result.
  • In Ireland, the government is investigating 208 cases where women with cervical cancer received false negatives after pap smears. Seventeen of those women have since died.
  • Ashley Judd is suing Harvey Weinstein for slander, sexual harassment, and for sabotaging her career after she refused sex with him.
Lisa Steacy
Lisa Steacy

Lisa Steacy is an Assistant Editor at Feminist Current. She has a B.A. in Women & Gender Studies from the University of Toronto. However, the women she met in her five years as a frontline worker and collective member with Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter deserve almost all of the credit for her feminist education. She lives in Vancouver with her partner and their cats.

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  • lk

    Even as a kid, there was always something about the whole cheer leading thing that bothered me…I always thought it was odd that the women wore so little clothing while the men were always fully clothed.

    “Many Redskins cheerleaders understand the team’s approach — sex sells — and remain enthusiastic supporters of the team.”

    I hate the phrase “sex sells”..its not about sex..its about selling women—–as sexy things to have around for you to look at, have at on your arm, have sex with and in some cases…rape.

    “I have five sisters,” he said, adding that at his boat parties “no one was allowed to be disrespected.”

    Lol, I hate when men say things like this…what does you having 5 sisters have to do with anything? I’m sure lots of rapists and misogynists have sisters…

    • Alienigena

      I have never understood the desire to be a cheer leader either. I was never a member of the Booster Club (I think it is called the pep squad in the US) in junior high (not sure if my high school had one). Funnily, only the female athletes (usually track athletes or volleyball players) in my junior high were cheer leaders (I assume for male teams only, the females probably only had fans to cheer them on) and they weren’t that skimpily dressed. I definitely did not have team or school spirit. I didn’t attend a single sporting event (outside of mandated attendance at a yearly track meet) at my junior high or high schools and think others like me (non-athletes) felt the same. Cheer leading wasn’t that popular.

      What these people did to these women is horrible. You don’t take someone’s passport away unless you plan on controlling them. If the women had wanted to leave would they have been able to do so? Did they have the funds to re-arrange flights and further could they have gotten their passports back in time to make their changed flights. My brother has two sisters and women apparently find him acceptable (wives, girlfriends) but he is a dick in my opinion and I wouldn’t trust him with my personal safety.

  • Can’tUnseeIt

    From Iowa to Ireland they need to stay out of women’s business and stop trying to legislate in our wombs. Pisses me off to no end that over 200 women will die of cervical cancer that could have been prevented except for what? They hire some Texas firm (were they the lowest bidder?) that was worthless to do the screenings. No firm in Ireland could do it? And then the victims shouldn’t tell anyone about it!!! So criminal in my mind.

  • All the major newspapers of the northeast are calling for the end to NFL cheerleaders. The Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Cleveland Browns refuse to have cheerleaders (each has a kind of old style ownership) All the other teams do.

    The editorials I looked over all cited the sexualization factor… no way there could be a male equivalent. A couple mentioned the influence of porn… annual swimsuit calendars (as in Playboy of old). Others cited drunken male fans with binoculars who were present more for sex thrills than football.

    The Chicago Tribune editorial says that the Bears female owner did away with the Honey Bears in 1985, and recommended that all teams follow her lead. It adds: “Generations of men — and women — have been implicitly told that women’s only suitable role in sports is to be a sexual object, a prop…. To view the Eagles cheerleader page, one must agree to acknowledge an understanding that ‘mature content’ will appear.”

  • Lucy Potato

    Weird that people running a team called the “Redskins” would also treat women so poorly.

  • Hekate Jayne

    If you have the time, Hulu has a most excellent doc called “birthright” about American abortion law.

    I don’t see any way to do anything at all about abortion law. The people that control our bodies are the people that own them. And the owners are never going to let our bodies go.

    I mention Jane a lot because it is the most revolutionary action that women practiced in my lifetime. Sonia Johnson says in one of her speeches (easily found on youtube) that roe v. Wade was not “earned” by women. That males saw that women were taking control of their own bodies and they freaked the fuck out. Males knew that if we bypassed them that they would lose the ownership and control of our bodies, and they also knew that we were already too far down the road to be stopped completely.

    So in typical, manipulative male fashion, they lied. And they pandered and said how much they cared about us, and that they would cave and let us control our own bodies. Which was just one big lie. Males could have done away with legislating our bodies right then. But when they succeeded in gaining the trust of women, they did what they always do, which is “be patient, ladies, we will give you your rights in bits and pieces, a little here, a little there. It is just too much change for us emotional doods to handle if we give up owning and controlling you all at once. Please be patient and we promise that, eventually, that your great grand daughters may have 1 or 2 more rights than you. Don’t selfishly demand rights for yourself! FEMINISM isn’t about improving YOUR life, it is about your daughters. Keep on working and asking and begging. We totes promise. For realzies.”

    The master will never willingly give up ownership of the slave. To gain freedom, we will have to take it.

  • OldPolarBear

    The Iowa politics blog Bleeding Heartland has a detailed history and analysis of how this horror unfolded in the legislature. Kind of long, but an informative read if you can stand it. Aside from it just plain being a bad idea, the bill is a mess in the legal sense, with undefined terms, contradictory provisions, a lot of tacked-on amendments, etc. The Lege should have been done and adjourned a month ago, but they haven’t even passed a budget yet and still they spent days and days on this.

  • Hekate Jayne

    From the article:
    “What bothered them was their team director’s demand that they go as sex symbols to please male sponsors, which they did not believe should be a part of their job.”

    Isn’t the entire job of cheerleader existing as “sex symbols to please male sponsors”?

    What the hell are cheerleaders doing? If they aren’t servicing the male gaze?

    I understand that there is a line between being a cheerleader and “escorting” males as a cheerleader in that they signed up for the first thing and were coerced into the second.

    Unfortunately, when we say that there is a line, males say that there is NO LINE. When a woman is a commodity for sale, she has no autonomy or power. She is the object. The buyer and the seller are always both male.

    Males don’t care about the commodity on a personal level. They can’t. We are just things for them to buy, to sell, to enslave, to fuck.

  • Hekate Jayne

    Reductress had an article a while back called something like “David has a daughter, and now he understands that rape is bad!”

    And like you are saying, it was MY daughter, *I* don’t want MY daughter damaged.

    I constantly and consistently get the message that rape is very bad for males, because they own us. And I also get the message that ladies whine about rape, but we ask for it, it’s our own fault, and it’s just part of being female.

  • M. Zoidberg

    Right? J-freaks are all about how unwanted pregnancies are a “gift from God.” But second they’re out and mama needs money to actually raise baby, the J-freaks change their tune to “should have kept your legs closed, whore.”

    The self-righteousness from these folks, mouth so tight around God’s cock, they forget that even if there was a God, he isn’t doing shit for anybody and never has. Extra-dimensional super-being that he is, he’s probably at a parallel universe orgy, fucking extra-dimensional supermodels, and not listening to anybody’s sad prayer about their dead cat.

  • Po21

    Me too, Gun-takers is way more catchy. I loved that episode 🙂