Look Like This, Not That: UW Pulls Cheerleader-Tryout Advice After Angry Backlash

Katherine Long, Seattle Times, April 26, 2016

A University of Washington infographic advising women how to do their makeup and hair for cheer-team trials sparked a social-media backlash Tuesday.

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That advice, along with a photo of a white woman with blond hair posing in shorts and a sports bra, was posted on Facebook by the University of Washington cheerleading team Monday night, four days before Husky cheerleader tryouts.

Cheerleader

A Facebook backlash began building online immediately, and the infographic–modeled after similar ones posted by Washington State University and Louisiana State University–was removed before 9 a.m. Tuesday.

“I can’t believe this is real,” said UW student Jazmine Perez, director of programming for student government, via email.

“One of the first things that comes mind is objectification and idealization of Western beauty, which are values I would like to believe the University doesn’t want to perpetuate,” she said. “As a student of color who looks nothing like the student in the poster, this feels very exclusive.”

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It was removed after the department “determined that some of the details and descriptions provided were inconsistent with the values of the UW spirit program and department of athletics.”

Seattle resident Clay Thompson posted it on his Facebook page “to ensure that the University of Washington addresses the overt racism (I know there’s more, but let’s start there) in the ad.”

He called it “offensive, exclusionary and ignorant. Those are not values of Seattle or the Puget Sound community.”

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