In the mood to read something sexist, patronizing and cringe-worthy on all fronts? Yes? Great. Look no further than the Oakland Raiders’ secret handbook for their cheerleaders, the Raiderettes. The Los Angeles Times has discovered and it, and it really harkens back to the “don’t speak unless you’re spoken to” days of women’s rights.
First, some background: The Raiders cheerleaders are filing a suit against the team for “illegal provisions” in the Raiderette contracts -- for example, the cheerleaders aren’t paid any portion of their salary until after the season ends in January, even though they’re working from April to December. The Raiders also don’t pay for time put into practices or rehearsals -- strictly only for game days -- nor do they pay by the hour. When adding the amount of time put in by the Raiderettes throughout the entire season, the estimated total of hourly wages comes out to less than $5 per hour. More insight into those troubling claims can be seen in the video below:
Now, in addition to those allegations, the Times has added another punch: a top secret handbook that teaches proper etiquette and guidance to the Raiderettes, one stereotype at a time. Here are some lowlights from the findings.
Really important dining tips: “Gently unfold your napkin and place it on your lap. Fold it almost in half and place it with the fold side towards your body. If you need to leave the table, place the napkin on your chair, and don’t forget to say, ‘Excuse me.’”
Make sure your nails look pretty!: “Think about the last time you met someone for the first time. You probably looked at their hair, jewelry, facial expressions, style of clothes, shoes and nails ... Keep nail polish pads in your car for emergencies.”
Some thoughtful advice on cheerleader-player relations: “There have been a few relationships between the [club players or personnel and Raiderettes] that have resulted in a few happy marriages and lovely children. HOWEVER, we have also had more situations where, quite frankly, the Raider organization and the Raiderettes narrowly escaped ruined reputations.”
“One such example concerns a player who gave Halloween parties every year and many of the Raiderettes attended. This same player was suspended from the team for drug use but also arrested for date rape. For you on the squad who have attended those parties, just think how narrowly you missed having your photo in all the local papers and/or being assaulted.” Longing for more words of wisdom? Make sure to give the Times' article a full read.