franklin-roosevelt

The manly origins of cheerleading.

By Lisa Wade, PhD

You might be surprised to learn that at its inception in the mid-1800s cheerleading was an all-male sport.  Characterized by gymnastics, stunts, and crowd leadership, cheerleading was considered equivalent in prestige to an American flagship of masculinity, football.  As the editors of Nation saw it in 1911:

…the reputation of having been a valiant “cheer-leader” is one of the most valuable things a boy can take away from college.  As a title to promotion in professional or public life, it ranks hardly second to that of having been a quarterback.*

Indeed, cheerleading helped launch the political careers of three U.S. Presidents.  Dwight D. Eisenhower, Franklin Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan were cheerleaders. Actor Jimmy Stewart was head cheerleader at Princeton. Republican leader Tom DeLay was a noted cheerleader at the University of Mississippi.

Women were mostly excluded from cheerleading until the 1930s. An early opportunity to join squads appeared when large numbers of men were deployed to fight World War I, leaving open spots that women were happy to fill.

When the men returned from war there was an effort to push women back out of cheerleading (some schools even banned female cheerleaders).  The battle over whether women should be cheerleaders would go on for several decades.  Argued one opponent in 1938:

[Women cheerleaders] frequently became too masculine for their own good… we find the development of loud, raucous voices… and the consequent development of slang and profanity by their necessary association with [male] squad members…**

Cheerleading was too masculine for women!  Ultimately the effort to preserve cheer as an man-only activity was unsuccessful.  With a second mass deployment of men during World War II, women cheerleaders were here to stay.

The presence of women changed how people thought about cheering.  Because women were stereotyped as cute instead of “valiant,” the reputation of cheerleaders changed.  Instead of a pursuit that “ranks hardly second” to quarterbacking, cheerleading’s association with women led to its trivialization.  By the 1950s, the ideal cheerleader was no longer a strong athlete with leadership skills, it was someone with “manners, cheerfulness, and good disposition.”  In response, boys pretty much bowed out of cheerleading altogether. By the 1960s, men and megaphones had been mostly replaced by perky co-eds and pom-poms:

Cheerleading in the sixties consisted of cutesy chants, big smiles and revealing uniforms.  There were no gymnastic tumbling runs.  No complicated stunting.  Never any injuries.  About the most athletic thing sixties cheerleaders did was a cartwheel followed by the splits.***

Cheerleading was transformed.

Of course, it’s not this way anymore.  Cultural changes in gender norms continued to affect cheerleading. Now cheerleaders, still mostly women, pride themselves in being both athletic and spirited, a blending of masculine and feminine traits that is now considered ideal for women.


* Adams, Natalie & Pamela Bettis.  2003.  Commanding the Room in Short Skirts: Cheering as the Embodiment of Ideal Girlhood.  Gender and Society 17, 1: 73-91.

** Davis, Laurel. 1994. A Postmodern Paradox? Cheerleaders at Women’s Sporting Events.  InWomen, Sport, and Culture, edited by Susan Birrell and Cheryl Cole.  Human Kinetics.

*** McElroy, James. 1999. We’ve Got Spirit: The Life and Times of America’s Greatest Cheerleading Team. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Photos borrowed from How to be a Retronaut.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

caitlinfaith asked:

Have there ever been any presidents without either prior military service or congressional experience?

While most Presidents have had experience in either the military or Congress, there are definitely some (and some quite good ones) that haven’t had at least one of those things on their resume:

•Bill Clinton
•Franklin D. Roosevelt 
•Herbert Hoover
•Calvin Coolidge
•Woodrow Wilson
•William Howard Taft
•Grover Cleveland (was drafted during the Civil War, but paid for a substitute to serve in his place – something that was legal and accepted at the time)
•Thomas Jefferson
•John Adams

Technically, Adams and Jefferson never served in the United States Congress, but they were members of the Continental Congress prior to the ratification of the Constitution. Adams, Jefferson, and Coolidge were presidents of the U.S. Senate due to their Constitutional responsibilities as Vice President of the United States.

In nearly every case, these Presidents had Gubernatorial experience rather than Congressional or military experience.

To reach a port we must set sail –
Sail, not tie at anchor
Sail, not drift.
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
📷: @ennkay_digi
Tags: boats, perseverance, progress, sailing, sea
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Before 1939 no reigning British Monarch had ever set foot on American soil since America’s Independence in 1776. But that all changed when King George VI (the one that stutterer and has that movie kings speech made about him) was invited by FDR to visit. In hopes to win over the sympathy and support of the American people towards the UK for the inevitable war ahead. And it work Americans welcomed the royal couple heartily and came from all over to just get a glimpse of them. 

So I just wanted to draw the reserved slightly shy royal couple being unconformable and overwhelmed with the the american presidential overly friendly family’s big personalities.

[via Zinn Education Project]:

On Dec. 17, 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Korematsu v. United States that the denial of civil liberties based on race and national origin was legal. Fred Korematsu (Jan. 30, 1919 – Mar. 30, 2005), a U.S. citizen and the son of Japanese immigrants, had refused to evacuate when President Roosevelt ordered the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. Korematsu was arrested, convicted, and sent to the Topaz Internment Camp in Utah. Korematsu unsuccessfully sued the U.S. government for violating his constitutional rights.

Learn more from: (1) Tracked in America website: http://bit.ly/18O7xUL (2) Unsung Heroes lesson for middle and high school: http://bit.ly/1guKnub (3) Of Civil Rights and Wrongs: The Fred Korematsu Story: http://to.pbs.org/18O7Ajj (4) More stories of protest of the internment in the film Conscience and the Constitution: http://bit.ly/18O7Dvu

Image courtesy of Karen Korematsu and the Korematsu Institute

So President Teddy Roosevelt gave away Eleanor at her wedding but he also stole all her attention (not intentionally I don’t think). It was so bad that the only attention the couple could seem to get was when they gave Teddy a slice of their wedding cake or when he finally left the party all together. Which miffed FDR, while Eleanor didn't mind because she was use to being pushed in the background at that point in her life.

In all honestly I just wanted to try drawing young  Roosevelts 

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February 19th 1942: Japanese internment

On this day in 1942 US President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed executive order 9066 which allowed the military to relocate Japanese-Americans to internment camps. Japanese-Americans were considered a national threat due the attack on Pearl Harbour which prompted the US to join World War Two. Other groups were also detained, but it was Japanese-Americans who were mostly targeted, with 120,000 being held in camps. In Korematsu v. United States (1944), the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the executive order. Those interned suffered great material and personal losses, with most losing a lot of property and some losing their lives to illness or the violence of sentries. The victims and their families eventually received an official government apology in 1988 and reparations began in the 1990s.

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“Your Dad has told me that you are a stamp collector and I thought you might like to have these stamps to add to your collection.”

Letter from President Franklin Roosevelt to nine year old Bobby Kennedy on July 12, 1935

“I am going to frame your letter and I am going to keep it always in my room.”

Reply to President Roosevelt from Bobby Kennedy on July 19, 1935

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HISTORY’S THE WORLD WARS

In the 31 years between 1914 and 1945, over 100 million people were killed in the deadliest fighting the world has ever seen. The world wars were a time of ruthless tyrants, but also legendary heroes. An era when a single generation of men determined the fate of all mankind.

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October 11th 1884: Eleanor Roosevelt born

On this day in 1884 Eleanor Roosevelt was born in New York City. She married her cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt, the future President, in 1905. Eleanor was actively involved in her husband’s political career, and encouraged him to continue in politics after his partial paralysis from polio in 1921. Franklin was elected President of the United States in 1932 and served as President from 1933 until his death in 1945. Eleanor was a very active First Lady, openly campaigning for greater rights for women and African Americans. After FDR’s death, Eleanor was a US delegate to the United Nations, and chaired the UN Commission on Human Rights. In this capacity she oversaw the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Eleanor Roosevelt died in 1962 aged 78.

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Letter from Fidel Castro to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 11/06/1940 

Item from Records of the Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State. (03/05/1923 - 01/1961)

This letter from tweleve year-old Fidel Castro congratulates President Roosevelt on his re-election and asks the president to send him a ten dollar bill. Presidents receive hundreds of thousands of letters every year from children and adults sharing their concerns and well-wishes with him. 

Source: http://go.usa.gov/j82k