High School Bans ‘Revealing’ Cheerleading Uniforms From Class But Makes Girls Wear Them to Games

Say What!? 19

cheerleadersCan we talk about high school sports uniforms for a second? Specifically the uniforms for teenage girls? A community in Florida is in a tizzy at the moment after the school banned cheerleaders from wearing their uniforms to class -- because they don't meet the dress code.

Turns out it's perfectly OK for the girls to shake their hind ends in the short skirts and sleeveless tops in front of fans at a Countryside High School football game, but the school has put the kibosh on actually letting them into class.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

If it ain't good enough for the classroom, why are you letting the kids wear it at a school function? More to the point, why is this the outfit you are providing?

For years I worked as a reporter on the sidelines of high school sporting events. The dichotomy between the uniforms for female athletes and male athletes was striking.

Girls' outfits were always form fitting, always revealing. Boys' outfits were sometimes form fitting (generally wrestling and cross country) but not always, and very rarely did they reveal much more than one would expect to see in a classroom.

Often as I set up my camera to take photos of teams, I would notice girls -- generally girls who weren't stick thin, although not necessarily obese by any means -- uncomfortably yanking down skimpy shorts to try to cover more thigh or trying to adjust impossibly short skirts.

It always bothered me, the photographer. Now it bothers me, the mom. My daughter is currently in youth soccer, where uniforms are unisex. Over-sized shorts and ballooning t-shirts are just the name of the game.

But my memory of my own awkwardness as a teenage girl, my discomfort with my body (and eventual plunge into the world of eating disorders), makes me fear the day she may decide to take on a high school sport and be forced to put her body on display because, well, she's a girl and that's how it works for female athletes in high school.

This is my own personal battle, I'll admit, but it dovetails with the case in Pinellas County, Florida quite well, doesn't it?

Here we have a school where the girls seem to be OK with their cheerleading uniforms, proud of them even. They want to wear them to class to show their school pride -- much as teen athletes do in many schools across the country. But the uniform isn't "appropriate," at least not according to this high school's dress code.

Hello, McFly!

Parents are calling for the school to give these girls a break on the dress code, but the answer seems to be the very opposite.

It isn't the dress code that's the problem. It's the uniform.

Do we really need cheerleading uniforms that can't pass muster with a basic school dress code? Do we really need to put girls who are already dealing with the myriad issues of puberty in outfits like this?

I recognize that athletic uniforms can only be so loose -- for safety's sake -- but if a skirt is so short that it isn't allowed in the classroom, then it is probably a little too revealing. And if it's a little too revealing, why are you forcing girls to wear it? What message are you sending those girls? And what about the girls you're keeping out of sports -- girls who could probably use a safe and positive means of weight control like exercise -- because of uniforms that are made only for the stick thin?

What do you make of this situation? Should teenage girls be wearing athletic uniforms that don't meet the dress code? Would you let YOUR daughter wear a uniform that she couldn't wear to class?


Image via Dunlap23/Flickr

body image, school


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ktobin2 ktobin2

Theoly revealing spors uniforms are for volleyball and cheer. If your daughter playssoccer or basketball, she won't have to put her body on display and still be able to play sports. Cheer uniforms are short and tight because cheer involves gymnastics and that's hard to do in a loose uniform, which is why gymnasts wear leotards.

nonmember avatar MoJo

Cheerleader's uniforms are designed to be tight and with as little fabric as needed because it is easier and safer to do acrobatics without excess material potentially interfering with the athlete's moves. The uniforms are sports gear. Swimsuits are sports gear as well. However, no one needs to remind swimmers that their athletic apparel is not appropriate attire for the classroom. The same principle is applied to both.

Zande... ZanderBomb

I was a swimmer. I don't think I'd be able to wear my bathing suit to class. And yes, that think was halfway up my butt every time I wore it, bc that's just what happens. But since I grew up wearing it, around other athletes, we never thought anything of it. And lets the honest, the boy's suits weren't any better.

Kaela Wheeler

I see your point Jeanne, but at the same time, I was a swimmer and we didn't wear our our team uniforms in the hallways at school (neither did the volleyball players, and the basketball teams wore t-shirts under their jerseys). Sometimes things are appropriate in one setting, but not in another, especially when it comes to functional sportswear (rest assured though, I'd be having a hissy fit if my daughter wanted to be a cheerleader and her outfit was one of the unnecessarily revealing styles you see at some schools. No one's midriff needs to be showing to perform gymnastics!)

MrsRo... MrsRoberts413

My high school and middle school always chose skirts that came down to mid-thigh (enough to satisfy the dress code on almost all their girls), and made them wear mock-turtleneck type, long-sleeve underarmour tops under the uniform tops. Always satisfied the requirement first!

ltc9958 ltc9958

I cheered in high school, and for the longest time we were allowed to wear our uniforms to school. As varsity football cheerleaders, our coach pretty much made us wear them every Friday. However, the school did try to stop it, because other girls were upset that we were allowed to wear too short skirts since it was our uniform while they couldn't. Long story short, my coach wears the pants in her relationship with the school, so we were allowed to keep wearing them. I do think a lot of the bans have to do with the fact it's not fair to everybody. 

Christina Osborne

When I was in high school, I cheered from Jr High all the way through my senior year. We were never allowed to wear our uniforms to class without pants underneath. We never thought the rules needed to be bent. We also only wore our uniforms to school on days that our away game bus left directly following last period or when there was a pep rally. The uniforms were hot and uncomfortable to wear more than once every couple of weeks. 

Shelly Johns

cheer uniforms are made that way because cheering involves gymnastics. You can't do gymnastics with baggy flowing clothes. If they need something to wear to class to show their school pride then why not designate a shirt/wind pants or something they can wear.

mrssu... mrssundin

We only wore our cheer leading out fits to school when we had a pep rally or a game right after school and no change time. And I don't blame the school for doing the right thing. Its a sports out fit not school clothes.

catng... catngabsmom

i have read many of your "articles" in the stir, i think you are a little misguided on this big bad world that you are raising your daughter in. i have two girls that i am raising also, it is the foundation we provide our kids inside of our home, that will be what guides them in the world, it will be what gives them their self worth whether they wear a cheer uniform, a soccer outfit, or a costume from the drama department. lighten up!!!!

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