VB Previz #56 – Cheer is Life

photo of Aero in SLHS uniform

Aero Bigboots produced Ze Moo’s Rezday Party 2011… and then fell off the face of the virtual earth for much of 2011… but she resurfaced on Wednesday to wish Ze another happy rezday and attend his 2012 party.

Although she left her pom-poms at home, Aero did wear her SLCS cheerleader uniform, and… she scared an artist friend of mine!

Is there something about cheerleaders that bugs us?

In her critique of Laura Sparkling, JB Dieselfield underlines the unfortunate truth that in the vast universe of all possible online content, nothing gets you more page views than shaking breasts:

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/puot0002/feministdebates2011/2011/12/this-is-a-feminist-issue-boobs-for-views.html

It’s an important and sobering realization that Sparkling’s breasts with essentially no content otherwise, get more web views than substantive ideas from peeps like Neil deGrasse Tyson. And pretty much, most of us aren’t gonna be Tyson, so are our ideas and thoughts and values simply to be buried by Sparkling’s shaking?

The fact that sex, so powerfully, sells, is detrimental to our culture and detrimental to women as whole human beings.

So what of cheerleaders?

photo of Aero in SLHS uniform

LEADERSHIP
They are in many ways a privileged class. Still, they are also hated. And they can get the double-edged gender treatment of admiration for their anatomy while simultaneously being derided for other alleged “failings.” “You gave us what we wanted, and we hate you for that.”

In both the physical and virtual worlds there are introverts and extroverts. Introverts are often thoughtful, analytic, and enormously important to culture, still, extroverts do create community, and even if they have been lucky in life or gifted in appearance, their willingness to put themselves out there day after day, regardless of the admiration or scorn they may find, is a courageous act.

A cheer-leader is… a leader. She may or may not be able to transition from leading cheers to leading other aspects of community, but she’s certainly invested the time developing skills to communicate, lead, and inspire.

Aero meditating at Zen retreat

TRILL REVISIONISM
Well, that’s some nice theory. But I’d be lying if I didn’t come clean on the never ending residue from my personal rivalry with Trill Zapatero during our time at SLHS together. The most honest thing I can tell you is that we’ve each revised the telling of those days so many times, that history has become such a palimpsest, that honestly, I don’t know if it’s possible to recover the truth of what happened there. And since reality is perception, perhaps there never was an absolute truth to those days, just a parade of convenient perceptions.

Aero relaxing at Zen retreat

AGEISM
Cheerleaders can be a variety of ages. I’m thinking here not of adult cheerleaders for professional or even college sports teams, but of High School cheerleaders.

In VB Previz #46 for VB28 – The Seniors Project, I noted that the virtual world is filled with many body images, many identities, many ways of being, but that in all my travels I had seen Senior Citizens only rarely.

I should amend this… I’ve seen an endless parade of avatars in their 20’s and 30’s… you don’t see many a lot older than that… there are in fact also a lot of people who like to “play” children… to reengage that time period for whatever aesthetic or conceptual reasons or needs.

But in-between those preteen / early teen avatars… and the “mainstream” 20’s and 30’s avatars… there is a remarkably barren patch of representation. The numbers are so small it’s hard for me to be certain, but I may have seen even fewer 14-17 year-olds than I have seen senior citizens.

Aero at Odyssey Performance Sim

FIFTEEN
Cheerleaders then are relentlessly perky, hated by many, and unendingly trying to inspire with charisma and leadership. The high school ones come from a time-of-life that I, Trill, and so many others have unresolved and buried baggage about. And our ageist virtual culture tries to wipe the high school aged cheerleader out of existence.

In short, I think it’s time for VB/CO to pick up our pom-poms.

It’s time to be 15 again.

Aero at Odyssey Performance SIM

Since cheerleaders are so bouncy, loud, and vibrant, I think counterpoint is a nice way to consider this identity. Our oft-used tableaux-vivant seems an ideal format. In a silent, static, durational pose at, say, Gallery Xue / Taipei.

Aero delivering a baby in a water birth facility

Around the time of last year’s Ze Moo Rezday Party, Aero commissioned the wonderful designer Adriana Princess to create an SLHS Cheer skirt & sweater, which she never wound up using as she shortly thereafter discovered SLCS where she joined the squad. So we only need to have someone, Princess, hopefully, design a guy’s uniform, and we’ll be ready to rock the field… the court… the planet!

Aero holding the just-delivered newborn

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Categories: Cheer, Previz

Author:Vanessa Anne Blaylock

As a Virtual Public Artist my work invites virtual communities to express their identity, explore their culture, and demand their civil rights.
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