The University of Washington has taken down a recruitment poster for cheerleaders after public backlash because of perceived sexism.
Prospective cheerleaders were encouraged to wear an outfit that revealed the midriff, put on “flattering eye shadow,” and not wear a ponytail. It also suggests that tattoos shouldn’t be visible.
The angry comments started trickling in on Facebook, and by Tuesday morning the image was removed from Facebook.
“I can’t believe this is real,” UW student Jazmine Perez told the Seattle Times. “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.”
Perez also said that she felt excluded because the cheerleader in the poster was white.
“I think it’s really upsetting and kind of disheartening the way it’s basically asking these women who want to try out to perform their femininity—but not too much,” said Signe Burchim, a UW senior, who said that this kind of poster would never appear for men trying out for sports teams.
The University of Washington has apologized. They said that the poster had been created after a high volume of interest from students wanting to try out for the team.
“The graphic was removed immediately, after a UW athletic department official saw it and determined that some of the details and descriptions provided were inconsistent with the values of the UW spirit program and department of athletics,” the university said in a statement.