First, an apology
I’m not, shouldn’t be, am not qualified to be, and don’t want to be the “Language Police.” How each Cheerleader chooses to speak is up to them and not my business.
For that reason, on past occasions when I’ve almost written this blog post, I decided to keep my mouth shut and move on. Still, this keeps coming up and when it does it makes me uncomfortable and feels wrong. I’m still not the “Language Police,” but for one blog post I want to say that some language makes me uncomfortable.
At some but not all Panels one or more cheerleaders will say things like
These things are never said in a meanspirited or callous way. They are in the light humorous banter of SLCS Cheerleader interaction.
They are in Open, Local Chat in range of the Trainee. And it feels wrong to me.
Many Trainees feel stressed about panels. I paneled 12 years ago and I still remember the stress. You can read about that here: irez.uk/2011/03/19/graduation-day
And the thing is, we actually want Trainees to feel stressed. Well, not exactly “want”, more like “value”. Let me explain:
A Non-Stressed Trainee
Let’s imagine a Trainee who doesn’t care about becoming a part of SLCS. They signed up for whatever reason, and they might do a performance if they get in, or they might fade out. They think SLCS is cute, and sort of corny. “I might join, I dunno.”
That trainee isn’t stressed at panels because there’s nothing at stake for them. If we don’t take them, fine, they didn’t want it anyway.
No stress, but, also not a future Cheerleader we want.
A Stressed Trainee
Now let’s imagine a very different Trainee. One who might say something like,
This second Trainee might Drive better or answer Panel questions better than the 1st one. Or not. But for sure, this 2nd trainee has a lot of something that the 1st one does not: Desire.
And that desire means that they’ll likely be nervous at panels. The 1st one wasn’t nervous because the whole thing didn’t matter to her. This one is nervous because it matters a lot.
This 2nd Trainee is exactly the sort of person we want to be a part of SLCS.
What if we don’t “roast” a nervous Trainee filled with Desire?
We know the best candidates will feel stress at Panels. So why would we want to add to their stress by making “humorous” comments like “Time to BBQ a Trainee”?
Are we 1990’s frat bros hazing a new pledge?
As cheerleaders we are here to perform. We are here to shine on stage. And Panels are the best stage of all! No, the trainee isn’t dancing at panels. Still, she is performing. She is presenting herself. We should be the best audience she’ll ever have. Cheerleaders who care about her and want to learn more about her. We should be a mature symphonic audience, listening for the subtlety in every note. Not a raucous frat party reaching for yucks.
Again, I know the “fire” and “BBQ” comments are in fun. But the Trainee might not know that. Shouldn’t we do everything we can to make a friendly, warm environment? Shouldn’t we be gracious to someone we hope to call “sister” before the night is over?
I previously wrote about SLCS Panels last year when we rejected an autistic trainee for the 2nd time. I felt that in Panels, as much as we examine who the Trainee is, we also define who we are and what SLCS is. That post is here:
I’ve worn many hats and tried on many identities as an avatar. I’ve been young and I’ve been old. Skinny and full-figured. Black and white. And red and green. A cheerleader and a derby girl. A barista and a host. I’ve seen so much love and beauty, so much desire, so much hunger for love and connection in the virtual world. I’ve seen that hunger and need expressed in unhelpful and destructive ways. Ways that can make living in this world as frustrating as living in the first life we came from. I’m touched by the tiny acts of kindness that surround us every day. If we can make it here, we can make it anywhere.