When men pick up the pom-poms: The all-male cheerleading team hopes to challenge gender norms

A women’s roller derby tournament held in Belgium had a halftime show that most viewers won’t forget: a cheerleading squad of a different kind.

With glittering make-up, red sweatbands, super tight shorts and a soundtrack full of Katy Perry and Britney Spears, the men’s cheer squad ‘Scrimmage People’ put on a fantastically camp, acrobatic and very funny performance.

But their aim is not just to make audiences laugh; they are after something much more meaningful.

Today, cheerleading is a sport dominated by women, and men or boys who express an interest in the activity can be looked at as strange.

Scrimmage People want to end this stigma and show that cheerleading can be an inclusive activity for men and women.

Challenging gender norms

Among one of the first groups of male cheerleaders in France, he launched the Scrimmage People in 2016, and trained with the movement’s pioneers, the Austrian group ‘Fearleaders’, who also use cheerleading to subvert gender stereotypes and expose the ridiculous. This may interest you : Photos: Kassidi represents Saints Cheer Krewe in Las Vegas | 2022 NFL Pro Bowl. toxic male behavior.

“The message behind the cheerleading group is that we are fighting against toxic masculinity,” explains Thomas Pecuwe, one of the members of Scrimmage People.

“We’re here to ask questions and show that everyone can do it, whether you’re young, old, or with different physical conditions,” he adds.

The group also hopes it can shed light on how female cheerleaders are often over-sexualised.

“Women who cheer are hyper-sexual, because they wear little dresses, little tops, little skirts,” says Pecuwe.

“Well, we’re going to take that in our stride. So we’ll have very short shorts and tight T-shirts as well.”

The group of eight male cheerleaders received a warm show of appreciation from the crowd in attendance at the skating competition in Belgium.

“They shake the codes, and at the same time as they make us laugh,” said Raphaël Göbbels, a chicken farmer from France.

“They offer us a bit of reflection, which is long overdue, which feels good, and which is not often enough.”

Check out the video above to see the all-male cheerleading squad strut their stuff!

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