Manleaders: Why the Name Change?

Angelina Andrade, Copy Editor

With the end of the school year approaching, there are still plenty of sports whose seasons are going on. Right now, it is the start of the powderpuff season. Powderpuff is the all-girl version of flag football, the games happening between a school’s junior and senior classes. Along with the game of Powderpuffs, comes another activity for students, male students, to participate in male cheerleading, or ‘manleading,’ as it’s been coined.


Of course, the tryouts for manleaders are the inverse of the spot of cheerleading, only the team would be made of male students, dressed in the female cheerleaders’ uniforms to their comfort level. The only thing is: why did the name change when there are already male cheerleaders? 


 “Calling the males who are going to be cheerleaders ‘manleaders’ makes a mockery of what cheerleaders do. It also makes our CIF winning cheer team, which has boys on it, sound ridiculous,” AP Psychology teacher Jennifer Hudson, a former cheerleader, gives more insight into how this change of name can be viewed by others. “It makes the boys on our cheer team out as if they aren’t men because we’re now calling the boys who are pretending to be cheerleaders ‘manleaders’.” 


Downey already has “manleaders” in the sport of cheerleading, boys who have never felt the urge or calling to change the name of what they call themselves, so why is it so different in this case? While it is a harmless tradition that many see as the tables being turned around, one can’t help but question the reason for such a pointless change. 


Not to mention it is also very possible that those who witness the actions of this team can see it as just another way for female-dominated sports to be underestimated and seen as a joke. Why should these girls participating in powderpuffs, or even other sports like girls’ soccer or lacrosse, not receive the same amount of ‘cheers’ from their school’s very own cheer team instead of a variant of it? A team that already isn’t limited to only girls. 


At the end of it all, it’s about realizing how something small that might be seen as unimportant or meaningless to one person can actually be a big deal to another and how they view themselves or those around them. Because being made to feel like a joke doesn’t appeal to a lot of people.  


“I have had students who participated who realized they liked it and actually joined the cheer team, so it really should be an opportunity to expose students to other sports they wouldn’t normally play,”  Mrs. Hudson states, explaining what should be the main focus of joining the sport.“It should be more of an opportunity than a mockery.”