Julia Lurie

A Not-So-Brief and Extremely Sordid History of Cheerleading

The following article first appeared in Mother Jones Magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Not all is sunny and chipper in the world of professional cheerleading this year. NFL cheerleaders from five squads sued their teams last spring, alleging sub-minimum-wage pay, mandatory "jiggle tests," and other degrading working conditions. Since then, some NHL "ice girls"—hockey's cheerleaders—have spoken up with similar complaints. All this got me wondering: How did we get here?

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