The Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders have changed up their look. USA Today reports that the squad’s uniform will be a lot more modest in the new year. Gone are the revealing crop tops and mini skirts that fans had become used to. For the 2019 season, the cheerleaders will be wearing a longer, more covered up mini dress as they perform their routines on the field.
According to a statement from the team, the new uniforms represent a departure from “stereotypes” linked to cheering and are meant to encourage a focus on the squad’s athleticism.
“This new approach is designed to elevate the Colts cheerleaders as one of the top cheer and dance squads in the NFL by departing from many of the stereotypes often associated with professional cheerleading and redefining what it means to be a cheerleader and an athlete-performer,” the statement read, as published by USA Today.
The new uniforms are just one part of an overhaul of the Indianapolis Colts’ cheerleading program. MSN.com reports that other changes will include more opportunities for personal development and community service. They also plan to grow their Junior Cheer program, a project that offers dance and cheerleading instruction to youngsters. They’re calling these changes, the “Next Chapter” of the Colts’ cheerleading team.
While the uniform redesign seems like a positive development against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement, one expert didn’t seem all that impressed by it. Lisa A. Pellerin, the director of women and gender studies at Ball State University in Indiana, implied that the new uniforms still uphold gender stereotypes associated with women. However, she did admit that it represents an “improvement.”
“I’m not sure what ‘traditional stereotypes’ they feel they are breaking with a skintight mini-dress, but it is true that it shows less skin and less cleavage,” said Pellerin. “I suppose that’s an improvement from the standpoint of gender equality.”
Beyond the uniform change, the Indianapolis Colts have already started to redefine the public’s perception of their cheerleaders.
In another positive move, at a recent game, Colts cheerleaders danced in the clothes they wear to their jobs outside of cheerleading, MSN.com reports.
“Thankful to be part of an organization that recognizes us for our accomplishments both inside and outside of the Horseshoe,” wrote cheerleader Lexie C. on Twitter. She works as a teacher when she’s not wielding her pom poms.
Auditions for the Indianapolis Colts’ cheer squad start in March 2019.
— IBJ News (@IBJnews) December 28, 2018
— WHAS11 News (@WHAS11) December 29, 2018