Men telling women how to act and dress in public.
Baltimore Ravens cheerleaders were subject to regular weigh-ins and are expected to “maintain ideal body weight,” according to a handbook from 2009. The Cincinnati Ben-Gals were even more precise in recent years: Cheerleaders had to be within three pounds of their “ideal weight.”
Some cheerleaders must pay hundreds of dollars for their uniforms, yet are paid little more than minimum wage. Cheerleaders must sell raffle tickets and calendars and appear at charity events and golf tournaments, yet they receive none of the proceeds. Cheerleader handbooks, seven of which have been reviewed by The New York Times, include personal hygiene tips, like shaving techniques and the proper use of tampons. In some cases, wearing sweatpants in public is forbidden.
Across the N.F.L., teams even try to place extensive controls on how cheerleaders conduct their lives outside work. This includes limiting their social media activity as well as the people they choose to date and socialize with. Restrictions are placed on their nail polish and jewelry.