The reason that I picked this article, however, is that it shares perspectives from the cheerleaders (granted, only a select few of them) and other women in the sports industry. According to Joanne Gerstner, a past president of the Association for Women in Sports Media, "It's entertainment, it's Hollywood, it's spectacle." Missy Mooty, a 26 year old member of the Minnesota Vikings cheerleading squad, states, "I think it's everyone's dream, if you're a dancer, to pursue that passion at a professional level."
According to the article, however, the Vikings pay the cheerleaders but "not enough to make a living, meaning cheerleading is combined with a career, full-time studies or balanced with family responsibilities." Compare this with the lowest salary on the Minnesota Vikings team to be $450,000, which is certainly enough to make a living (link here).
These two cheerleaders don't really have a problem with the presentation of the cheerleaders, but Gerstner has a more critical view. She says that "when the whole essence of your job is basically hanging out in a tiny bikini and a bandeau top, it kind of undercuts the rest of your argument that you are a well-rounded person... it's almost like, in Paris, having the dancing girls doing the cancan while the guillotine is going down." Gerstner also says that "they might be intelligent, grounded amazing women but we're solely left to judge them by the outside packaging, which is getting skimpier and skimpier as cheerleading evolves in the United States."
And a male perspective on the issue? David Tossell, NFL head of communications, told CNN that "cheerleading has a long tradition in the majority of American sports at both professional and amateur levels. Cheerleaders are part of American football culture from youth leagues to the NFL and are part of the game day experience for our fans."
I suppose what stuck out to me the most is the quote from Gerstner, that ""if cheerleaders are necessary, why are there no cheerleaders for any women's sports?" from my perspective, that makes it pretty clear-cut that cheerleaders are not there to encourage the team, nor are they there for themselves; the pay for cheerleaders seems to be low, and if it was about giving a professional dance job to women, then they would also be in women's sports, but they are not.
The takeaway from this is that cheerleaders are utilized solely for men, and even then that assumes a very heteronormative perspective. Considering Mooty's claims about the dance world, it seems pretty obvious that these girls are there for the pleasure of heterosexual men, and really have no relation to the team. While Mooty and Munson don't see themselves as objects or as performing in a negative culture, it seems that they are being used that way and being robbed of all features beyond "looking sexy."