- - Sunday, June 24, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

My husband and I laughed out loud at the ridiculous image. We laughed so hard we were nearly crying.

There she stood in front of the television cameras in all of her glory — the great Gloria Allred — holding up the dreadful instrument of torture allegedly used against women by the Houston Texans cheerleading officials: a roll of duct tape!

Oh, thank the Lord, we have Ms. Allred to protect women from falling victim to objectification by taping.

Ms. Allred, appearing deeply concerned, stood by the side of her teary-eyed former-football-cheerleader-turned-client as the young woman described the absolute horror, I repeat, horror, she had endured: Her coach had insisted that duct tape be used under her itsy-bitsy uniform to pull her tummy skin tight so she would look a bit more buff.



“We hope never to see another Houston Texans’ cheerleader or anyone else ever duct taped again!” Ms. Allred proclaimed as she held up the dreaded roll of tape so we could gasp in terror at the sight of it. The scene was so hysterically absurd that I half-expected Ms. Allred to call for a nationwide ban of the “weapon.”

The entire thing is ridiculous. The scantily clad cheerleaders. The strip-tease-style dancing. The duct taping. The crying over it. The lawsuit. And especially Ms. Allred, at a time when the nation at large is finally focused on ending legitimate sexual assault that seems to be rampant in many industries.

Ms. Allred cheapens the entire #MeToo movement and belittles the true victims of sexual assault when she uses the limelight to illuminate trauma by duct taping. She’s apparently seriously concerned about the “psychological damage” these women endured by being victims of “fat-shaming.” Imagine the crippling shame of being called “skinny fat,” as some of these adult exhibitionists were. Never mind that they met the fitness criteria when they auditioned for the job and became part of the squad. Never mind that they voluntarily agreed to stay “in shape,” however that was defined at the time. Nope, these women are victims, and their lives are ruined!

During the press conference announcing the lawsuit, I didn’t hear a single reporter ask Ms. Allred’s client what it was like to be forced at gunpoint to become a cheerleader. Or how she felt when she was told she had to be nearly naked for every performance and gyrate in front of the entire world. The questions weren’t asked for one reason: The woman had auditioned for the role, competing against hundreds of other women for the coveted spot as a nearly-naked cheerleader.

Other former cheerleaders who are part of the lawsuit described winning a spot on the nearly-naked dance team as their “dream” come true. They signed contracts for money and hefty benefits and agreed not to become hefty themselves. They knew they would have weigh-ins and would have to fit into the tiny uniforms. To this day, they talk about the glitz and the glamour of it all.
Yes, of course, if they were sexually assaulted, there are grounds for a lawsuit against the perpetrators. But to sue for “fat shaming” when these women begged to be cast as cheering sex objects in the first place is simply ludicrous. And it makes a mockery of true cases of sexual assault.

I can’t figure out if Ms. Allred is simply after the cash that will undoubtedly come with a generous settlement from the cowering NFL, or if she is just addicted to the spotlight. Maybe Ms. Allred believes that these young women don’t have the brains to figure out that they voluntarily entered a world of sexual objectification.

“Victims, victims, all women are victims” — that is the message that feminists like Ms. Allred send through their endless, mindless lawsuits and protests. Ms. Allred has previously done some great work in representing true victims of sexual assault, but suing for assault by duct tape makes feminism, Ms. Allred and her clients look just plain silly.

⦁ Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at [email protected]

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