In the year 2014, we have cars that drive themselves, waterproof cell phones, a Pope who understands that Catholicism isn’t perfect and more solar panels than most people ever imagined. Yet, for some reason, the equality of females in sports is still lacking.
And I’m not talking about letting females play in the NHL or NBA or whatever, there’s a variety of women’s leagues that serve that purpose. What I’m referring to is the famous NFL cheerleaders. The group of girls who have suddenly been gaining a lot more attention. The NFL cheerleaders, namely the Oakland Raiderettes and the Buffalo Jills, have both spoken out about the poor working conditions of being in the NFL spotlight.
The Raiderettes make just $125 per home game, nothing for practices and nothing for photo shoots, the latter which makes up a majority of their time. The Jills, don’t make anything. Well, that’s not entirely true, according to the lawsuit former Jills filed, they were paid for home games with one game ticket, worth $90, and a $25 parking pass. They were often required to attend charity events, cheerleading camps, which they shelled out $250 to participate in and events at venues such as Niagara Fallsview Casino.
They estimated putting in 20 hours of unpaid labor per week, totaling 840 hours per year.
In addition to their lack of pay, the Jills are also given a set of guidelines they’re required to adhere to. Which is fine, my job has rules and I’d imagine most everyone’s job does. But the Jills’ rules include the proper pH balance for their “intimate area,” the type of feminine product they should use and the “jiggle test.”
The “jiggle test” is exactly what it sounds like, at any point in time, a squad member could be asked to perform five jumping jacks so their body jiggle can be assessed. And I’m willing to bet only one part of them is allowed to jiggle.
That doesn’t seem right.
Now, mind you, this isn’t the case across the NFL. The Seattle Sea-gals are paid for all the time they put in, including overtime, and treated like human beings.
One could make the argument that, like any professional athlete, cheerleaders need to be in a pristine physical condition. And I’d agree. But I don’t think the way to go about that is by demoralizing them. After all, don’t we get enough of that on a daily basis?
Between Hollywood and the never ending battle with Photoshoped magazine covers, females are constantly under the microscope to have a better body, or a better attitude. Standing up for what we believe in is often returned with taunts of bitch or feminist.
So, I’m happy to see that these girls have finally stepped up and filed lawsuits. And that earlier this month, the court ruled in favor of the Jills, stating that they are in fact an employee of the Bills and not an independent contractor like the Bills originally stated. And I’m happy that the Raiderettes will now earn $9 an hour, California’s minimum wage. And with all this, I can only hope that the next generation of females understand that they are worth something and that they have to be willing to fight for themselves. Even if some people just see them as something to watch during halftime.