A Cheerleader is most commonly thought of as a brainless blonde bimbo
who flirts with everyone etc.
And that may be true of some people, but it is sterotyping.
Some people think that cheerleaders must be white
but this is also not true.
Cheerleading to many people is a sport, just as gymnastics and other aesthetically-pleasing sports are (e.g. ballet, dance).
Other people may also think that cheerleading is limited to America. It is not. Most schools in the UK for example do not have a Cheerleading Squad, but there will be opportunities to do this as a Sport in the Local Leisure Centre.
Other things to note: Cheerleaders aren't always blonde. That is the sterotype. They are not always preppy
though I doubt that anywhere would have a punk
Cheerleading is often used in Media. It has featured in:
The Princess Diaries Movie (in a pretty negative form)
Bring It On (in a pretty positive form)
The Princess Diaries Book (in a pretty negative form to begin with, then more neutral)
The video for Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit.
Other reasons for negative impacts on Cheerleading: They can make enemies easily. You cannot live without someone hating you, for some reason. These cheerleaders who make enemies then became the sterotype.
Other reasons for positive impacts on Cheerleading: Popularity. It is a sad sad thing to realise, but many high schoolers in todays world care about nothing more than to be popular, although that is obviously not true for all.
I have found that Popularity is based on two things: Sports and Boyfriends.
To get popular quick, girls subconciously realise these two things. The best sport possible for them is probably Cheerleading. It probably gets you a lot more attention and popularity than joining the Female Soccer Team.
Then after they get onto the Cheerleading Team, they get boyfriends. And then ... BAM! They are popular.
But this doesn't always work. The girls who don't make the Cheerleading Team can become so obssessed in being popular, and when they finally realise it was pointless, they can take the blame out on the Cheerleading Team, instead of realising that they should be taking the blame out on themselves.
I am not saying that all Cheerleaders are wonderful people. Popularity can make people very self-centred and unfair. Therefore Popularity links in with being a Cheerleader many many times.
In conclusion, it is unfair to say that cheerleaders are all evil sluts, but also unfair to say that they are all wonderful clever people who like doing Sport.
Just in the same way that it is unfair to call Punks evil, depressing people or to say that they are the real people who know exactly what is best.
Labels are a way of expression, but have lead to stereotypes everywhere. This makes high school a lot harder for everyone, but there isn't much you can do about that.
In my final conclusion, Cheerleaders are practically another label, however they do extra-sports activities after school and are hated by many.