I’ve decided to write this blog post as a brief self reflection of the Allstar Cheerleading industry, to share my opinion of ‘cheer anons’, as one myself and also as a response to Cheer Updates’ post. Firstly, I want to state that on the whole, I agree with the post. There are good and bad anons, like there are good and bad humans. There are issues surrounding anonymity and group identity from an anonymous platform, however this also exists for most people using social media. But most importantly there is an issue with SOCIETIES need and fuel of gossip or ‘tea’ to which some people (anons, athletes and individual humans) use to gain likes, follows and engagement. However, in this blog I want to take this idea further to remove the idea of a subculture of anons (with various subcultures within), which leads to confusion and potential discrimination and judge an individual as an individual, to which people do for athletes and other members in society.
I want to give an insight into who I am, so I am not being judged by my ‘anonymous’ profile, and ask that you forget my social media status like you would if I was a level 5 athlete. I am a 19 year old, A grade university student with my home being in London, England. I have been a cheer anon for over five years, prior to which I used to do dance. I started an Instagram page whilst recovering from a major spinal fusion operation to correct my scoliosis and discovered and fell in love with the sport when recovering; gaining support for my support. Allstar cheerleading was unfamiliar in the UK and I knew I would not be able to cheer because of my surgery, so forming an anonymous account where I could support athletes, gyms and the industry I loved whilst connecting with people 2000 miles away, provided me with an escape during my recovery. As I’ve grown older, my current opinions of the industry is not how I felt when I was 14, writing essays on ‘Why Cheerleading should be a Sport’ and making fan edits of ‘celebrities’. Instead I reflect on the industry from the perspective of a young adult, who has grown not in but alongside the sport. My knowledge of the industry has led to the start of my successful business at 19 from working with well known cheerleading companies to complete graphic design and animation work, relevant to what people want. This is important to mention as I have wrongly been discriminated against when running my business through my anon account, and want to reiterate that I am more than my profile. Instead, I believe that through following the sport, I am able to help with the expansion of the industry from a creative and business perspective, as the industry is more than a 2 minute and 30 second routine.
It goes without saying that cheerleading has grown rapidly within the last 5 years, and cheer anons have played a part in this. Yes sometimes in the worst way but mostly in the best. The ability to share my support from the other side of the world, to sharing my ideas and having my dream job shows that us anons are more than a page. However, if you’re an anon concerned by a ‘list’, you’re probably doing something wrong. The moral of the story is that the power of a ‘like’, ‘retweet’ and ‘reply’ is effective, but the power of an ‘unfollow’, ‘block’ or ‘mute’ is successfully destructive. In the paradigm shift of the 21st century we are able to shape our dream society, ignore the hate, support the positives and be inclusive, so that is what we need to do.
In conclusion, there are many problem with the sport. Negative cheer anons being one. Negative parents being another, and negative athletes, to which I could talk about all day long. However, why is it that when an athlete acts out of hand, they are judged as an individual whereas a cheer anon is not. Just because one hides their identity does not mean they do not have one. It should not matter whether your picture is yourself or your favourite athlete as long as you support, encourage and help the expansion of the sport. I would hate to see the hatred grow toward the anon community because of stereotypes towards a sub group which is the same as discriminating against sexuality, culture, religion and ethnicity. Judge an individuals’ activity as a reflection on who they are, instead of using one person to reflect a whole community.
I shall finish this blog with the quote: ‘The most dangerous phrase in the language is “we’ve always done it this way”‘.
Thanks for reading and remember, I’ve always got your back,