Meagan Pravden reflects on the body shaming of CMT’s Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders making up the team

Meagan Pravden reflects on the body shaming of CMT's Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders making up the team

Meagan Pravden can recite every word people have said to her about her body: “You kind of physically look stockier;” “she has more of a curve down the back of her thigh;” “Today we had a bit of hip and butt running together, so we call it thutt”; “Meagan had a bit of a thutt;” and “I don’t think our dress fits your body.”

That outfit was the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders outfit, the one Pravden competed in in 2014. Her experience and the words she was told about her body were nationally televised on Season 9 of CMT’s Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making The Team, a reality show documenting the rigorous process of becoming a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. However, Pravden never made the team. The bespoke suit did not “fit” Pravden’s body, as Kelli Finglass, DCC director, said on the show.

“We think you’re a great performer and a great style dancer,” Finglass told Pravden on the show. “I don’t think our dress fits your body, and that was very evident in the dress fittings yesterday. You can’t change your body, and you don’t need to lose weight. This dress. “

“It wasn’t my weight,” Pravden told the Observer from her workplace in Florida. “[Finglass] says it on the show. It was in my legs. It was my building. It was my thutt. I said, ‘I’d hang upside down if it made my legs longer.'” The Dallas Cowboys did not respond to a request for comment on this article.

Although it had been six years since Pravden had watched her training camp experience on television, she wanted to revisit the pain it had caused her. Pravden told her therapist that she wanted to work through her body image issues before the quarantine ended and before she started interacting with other people and dating. In an effort to raise awareness about body image, Pravden posted a collection of clips about her body from DCC:MTT on her Instagram.

Self-acceptance and positive body thoughts are a difficult reality for many of us. I recently started my own healing journey after years of unhealthy body image stemming from my background in fun and dance. My aim is quite simple; to share my story in the hope that whether you reach out to me or not, you know you are not alone in this. I was lucky to grow up in a dance studio and in a home that was positive and accepting of all body types. I still remember the first time my weight was brought up to me at 18 on my first professional team. The reality is that many people can still remember everything they were told by a trainer, ex-boyfriend, peer, parent, or complete stranger on social media who attacked or judged them about their body weight. We fight those scars every day when we look in the mirror. I don’t think we are doing enough to support women’s mental health as they age or leave professional cheerleading teams, dance, modeling, pageants, fitness competitions and a litany of other places where our weight is so harmfully talked about and n body image. I am hopeful that many of these things are starting to move in a more positive direction across all these industries. But what happens to myself and all my former players and girls who still remember every criticism from a coach whose words bother us every day we look in the mirror and don’t look like we used to do? I will always advocate for a healthy, active lifestyle but we have to be kinder and more careful with our words and even our thoughts about others. Fight the urge to think “oh she’s let herself go” or “wow she doesn’t look like she did when I first met her.” I promise you that those individuals myself include fighting the fear of those thoughts and judgments from men and girls EVERY SINGLE DAY. Regardless of your story or background I think most of us struggle with this and my aim is to improve myself through community and support others. Feel free to share with others and DM me I w I’d love to hear your stories. We’re all in this together #bodypositivity #postpartum #cheerleading #dance #nba #nfl #empowerment #DCC #dallascowboys #self-acceptance #dallascowboyscheerleaders @dccheerleaders

A post shared by Meagan Pravden (@megprav) on May 8, 2020 at 12:25pm PDT

She made the post to improve and open dialogue among professional dancers and other cheerleaders – and for anyone struggling with body image.

“Nothing I was doing felt good enough, and I never understood WHY or the greater purpose of not doing Cowboys,” Pravden wrote on Instagram. “6 years later after much reflection and work on myself I see exactly what that purpose was for…THIS! Empowering other women who are on their own body journey to heal and embrace their bodies right as they are! so excited to share my story and turn my pain into purpose.”

Elizabeth Daniels, an associate professor at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, says she was “horrified” by the video Pravden posted on Instagram.

“They kept using the word stocky,” Daniels said, “And I kept thinking, ‘Do they know what the definition of stocky is?’ She was so ridiculous that her body was somehow too big for the aesthetic they were going for.

“I think that really highlights that this is not about anything real and important,” Daniels continued.

The look of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders is modeled after 1960s “exotic dancer” Bubbles Cash, according to the 2018 documentary Daughters of the Sexual Revolution: The Untold Story of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. When then Cowboys President Tex Schramm saw Cash walk down the stadium aisle in her miniskirt and hands full of cotton candy, he had a vision to turn the cheerleaders – who were once high schoolers is a stunt on the sidelines – something more. Schramm suggested the cheerleaders were models, according to a Dallas Cowboys video detailing the history of DCC’s uniform. That idea has survived almost 50 years. During an episode of DCC:MTT within the last few years, Finglass said that DCC’s ideal body shape is like an old pin-up girl, 36 inches at the bust, 24 in the waist, and 36 in the hips.

Pravden wasn’t the first to be body-shamed on the show. Since Season 1 in 2006, the directors have said all sorts of things to the girls about their bodies. Rachel is tall and lean. I wish she was a little more curvier. Kathleen looks a little too little perhaps. If they have a really square body, it doesn’t work in our dress. Her short legs really bother me. Pravden says body shaming words are not unique to the Cowboys organization; it’s a problem throughout most of professional cheerleading and dancing – something Pravden knows because she’s been dancing all her life and joined her first professional team at 18. It was then that she had her first feeling of thinking that her body was not good enough.

“Like, literally, (team directors) saying, ‘Well, your weight is here, and we’d like it to be more here,'” Pravden said as she moved her hand down to symbolize her weight going down. “Before the first photo shoot it was said, ‘Cover yourself in hemorrhoid cream, wrap yourself in Saran wrap because your body will look tighter tomorrow.’ And that was said to all the teammates.” (Pravden was not referring to the Cowboys.)

What message is DCC sending when they call this woman “stocky”?

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making The Team has moved the dialogue about women’s weight throughout its 14-season history. In earlier seasons, there was always an episode or two focused on working out with the team’s personal trainer, Jay Johnson. But in more recent seasons, the show has replaced workout sessions with segments featuring nutritionists teaching the women how to eat a healthy diet.

Still, a woman can be cut for gaining weight or not looking “ideal” in the famous outfit. The latest season of the show included a segment focused on healthy cooking. The same episode showed a cheerleader dying at the team’s evening practice because she hadn’t eaten since noon that day.

Alexis Conason, a psychologist in private practice and founder of The Anti Diet Plan, says Pravden’s story is causing outrage because Pravden meets “traditional beauty standards.” But Conason points out that people should be outraged by all body shaming.

“It’s one thing to be angry when something like this happens to a thin woman, but we also have to remember that this is a very privileged woman who really meets the traditional ideals of beauty ,” Conason said, “and we also have to be angry with the ideals that disproportionately harm people who don’t look like her.”

Conason says body shaming can affect someone for the rest of their life and lead to eating disorders and mental illness. Pravden says she was “lucky” never to have had an eating disorder, but struggled with body dysmorphia, a mental health disorder in which a person constantly thinks about the “perceived flaws or flaws” in their appearance, according to Clinic Mayo.

“I don’t want those girls coming off teams, my friends, or girls coming off any team, to sit there and compare themselves to the girls they were when they cheered and doing this to themselves for a decade,” he said.

Mhkeeba Pate, a former NFL cheerleader and host of the Pro Cheerleading Podcast, says that when women finish their pro dancing careers, they often struggle to come to terms with their new image.

“When you’re a professional fan, the stress on your body, the frequency of what you practice, dance, and you can’t repeat that after you retire,” Pate said. “When you look at how your body is changing, it’s really hard to embrace the reason why your body looks different, but you’re not doing as much in terms of physical activity. You can work out like crazy, but it’s different.”

Being one of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders – or any pro dancer – takes stamina. The DCC’s opening dance at football games lasts more than four minutes and ends with a high-powered kick line. Once the game starts, the cheerleaders dance every time a piece of music comes on. Pravden says if a woman can dance her best and keep up the stamina, then all body types should be accepted.

“Your best physical shape can look different than someone else’s shape, and that’s what I want to see change,” Pravden said. “A perfect example was Kelli (Finglass) saying, ‘It’s not your dance. Your dancing is good.” And I felt like I could have contributed as a great teammate, as a great community role model and unfortunately, my journey ended early specifically because of my symmetry, which was something I couldn’t do. really affect.”

She currently lives in South Korea in a military family. The DCC came to Korea for their U.S.O. trip, and they did a cheer clinic for her cheer team, and she was very inspired and loved everything they do.

Do you have to be skinny to be a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader?

Do you have to be skinny to be a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader?

We do NOT have specific height and weight requirements. To see also : A cash-strapped NYC cheer team heads to nationals. Are there any age requirements? You must be at least 18 years old by the time of the preliminary auditions.

What are the requirements to be a Dallas cowboy fan? Requirements

  • Must be at least 18 years old at the time of the preliminary auditions.
  • Must be a high school graduate (or Spring 2020 graduate) or have a G.E.D.
  • You must be able to attend all training and other related activities.

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