Beyond the low pay and lack of benefits, cheerleaders also don’t have a lot of freedom in their physical appearance. One lawsuit brought against the Buffalo Bills revealed that cheerleaders were required to keep their hair one uniform color.
The one-color rule didn’t just ban girls from putting unnatural colors in their hair. They also weren’t allowed to have “trendy” roots or coloring, such as the ombre style. If they want to get even simple highlights, cheerleaders first have to get the color approved with their superiors.
They Can’t Sit During Games
While the football players are getting beat up on the field, the cheerleaders are standing on the sidelines cheering them on. No matter how long the game goes, however, the cheerleaders are not allowed to sit down.
Cheerleaders are required to stand and move around for the entirety of the game. If you’ve ever watched the NFL, you know that it can take a very long time. Cheerleaders can sit only if an official asks them to. Otherwise, they’re required to stay on their feet no matter what.
They Must Sit in a Ladylike Manner
When cheerleaders are allowed to sit, they can’t just relax on their own terms. Instead, the handbook says that they must sit in a ladylike manner. We assume that means that they should maintain their posture and cross their legs, just like your mom told you to do when you were young.
But an NFL team is not a parent. With all that cheerleaders put their bodies through, they should at the very least be allowed to relax without worrying about the way they’re sitting.
Their Hair Can’t Be Dull
While the NFL controls what color cheerleaders hair must be, it also has rules for the upkeep of a particular hairstyle. If a cheerleader’s hair is determined to be too dull, they could face getting benched for the whole season.
To avoid this problem, cheerleaders have to visit salons on a regular basis and invest in products that will keep their hair shiny. All these expenses come out of their own pocket, and they still might not be enough to meet the high standards of the NFL.
They Can’t Change Their Appearance
When women are hired as cheerleaders for the NFL, they’re told that they can no longer change their appearance without approval from their boss. This includes not only dying their hair or getting a new piercing, but also smaller changes.
For example, some NFL cheerleaders were unable to cut their hair without express permission from their boss. They were also formally banned from developing new skin conditions, whether it was their fault or not, or they might risk being fired from the team.