Frustrated students have hit out after the new Roses trailer left them “reduced to a sexist stereotype”.
Members of the university’s cheerleading society, the York Hornets, expressed disappointment at the way they had been represented in YUSU’s promotional video for the sporting event.
The video – produced by a group of York alumni – features a three-second shot of several uniformed cheerleaders’ chest areas.
York Hornets Cheerleading Club President, Milly Wickson, told York Vision she was “frustrated” at how the video had not included any “real cheerleading”.
She said: “Despite explicitly asking the film company to include clips of our stunting and tumbling if they were to use any, they disrespected our wishes and selected a close-up clapping shot instead, due to the video quality of all other shots being apparently ‘too poor’.
“Ironically in the chosen clip we were actually watching our tumblers doing standing back tucks on a dead floor, having been asked beforehand to ‘cheer and whoop’ for them, to which we had refused since this is not what cheerleading is.
“We were lucky to have been asked to participate in the video, but this was not the outcome we had desired.
“Nonetheless we are still looking forward to our Roses fixture, which will give everyone the opportunity to see what an incredible and dynamic sport cheerleading actually is!”
The club accepts both male and female cheerleaders and competes in a number of national competitions, as well as performing at campus events.
Jordan Hindes, an Ordinary Member in the York Hornets, said he was “deeply insulted” by the controversy and that other members of the club had been left “very disheartened and upset by the video”.
He said: “The Roses video was highly insensitive as we were shown as support when we are an established sport in our own right.
“We have won seven first place trophies this year alone and two national titles as well as having at least two athletes who have competed at world championships for this sport and to be labelled as support is pretty insulting.
“As this years focus for YUSU is to be inclusive and focus on women in sport, it was quite shocking to see one of the biggest sports club involving women being depicted by clapping and a shot of their boobs.
“Had this been any other sport I have the feeling that this would have not been the case and the response from non club members would also have been outrage.”
The three-minute clip features several York sports players doing sporting activities and is narrated by BBC Sports commentator Eddie Butler.
The film was produced by Front Lawn Films – which was founded in 2011 by three students from the university – who have also previously filmed an online advert for York Sport Village.
York Vision has attempted to contact the film production company for comment.
A response video planned by the cheerleaders is planned to “accurately showcase cheerleading and the York Hornets”.
The Hornet’s Communications Rep, Steph Carter, said: “We intend to capture the discipline, difficulty and complete trust that goes into performing a routine, as well as showcasing our skills.
“The entire club is so excited to be competing in the Roses and we want to document such an important moment for us.”
The York Hornets will be competing against Lancaster at 12:30 on Sunday April 26 in D/L/028, Derwent College.