Top Myths About Cheerleading and Cheerleaders

They're as old as the sport itself: those pervasive stereotypes about cheerleaders and cheerleading. Read on for a list of the top myths and whether they're true or false.

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Cheerleaders Have to Be Thin or Skinny

Two High School cheer leaders and a nerd
Getty Images/Rubberball/Mike Kemp

It is a common misconception that cheerleaders have to be thin. However, cheerleaders come in all sizes. What's more important than size? Their skill and ability.

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Cheerleaders Can't Be Tall

Height is not a major factor for cheerleaders. It may affect your position on the squad, but not whether you'll make the team.

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You Have to Have Small Feet to Be a Cheerleader

Again, cheerleaders come in all shapes and sizes as do their feet. Don't let your shoe size discourage you from trying out. Instead, concentrate on the size of your heart and your love of the sport.

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Cheerleaders Are Not Intelligent

83% of all cheerleaders have a 'B' grade point average or better. A cheerleader has to be a fast thinker and able to concentrate on the task at hand.

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Cheerleaders Are Not Atheletes

The skills involved in cheerleading leave no doubt that cheerleaders are exceptional athletes. To perform their activities, they must be as strong as any football player, as poised as any dancer and as flexible as the best gymnasts. They are athletes by every definition of the word.

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Cheerleaders Are All Blondes

The color of your hair does not make you a cheerleader, nor will it get you a place on the team. You have to have the drive and determination to be a cheerleader, not a certain hair color.

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Cheerleading Is a Popularity Contest

Cheerleading takes an extreme amount of physical work as well as a lot of practice. Most cheerleaders practice an average of 8 hours a week. Cheerleaders also have to be in top physical condition. Sure, they may be popular, but that's because they possess outgoing personalities, not because it's a popularity contest.

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Cheerleading Is for Girls, Not Guys

Do you think you can lift a girl three feet in the air above your head with nothing between her and the floor but you? You're expected to catch her and to save them from any injury. Cheerleading originated with men and male cheerleaders are a significant part of cheerleading.

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Cheerleaders Are Snobs

Take for instance a school squad. The members spend a lot of time together, they practice after school many days a week, they attend games together and they might even go to competitions. They share their love of cheerleading and their goals are similar. The squad has become their second family. It would be natural for them to want to hang out together at school, lunch and breaks. But just because you see them talking as a group, that doesn't make them snobs.

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Cheerleading Is Not Dangerous

With all the tumbling, stunting and dancing that present day cheerleaders do, there has been some speculation that the sport has become too dangerous. As with any athletic activity, cheerleading possesses some dangers, but if done correctly and if all safety guidelines are followed, it is not any more dangerous than any other sport.