Cheerleaders v Lifeguards

I curl up in a little ball internally whenever I am in a group of women where some other perky woman begins her comments to us with “Ladies!” It is not that I hate being called a lady. While not really one by the standards by which I was reared, certainly I understand the compliment involved and am a product enough of my times to like it.

It’s that I consider the verbal tic indicative of the “cheerleader” type of woman. Cheerleaders are attractive, of course. They’re also competent, skilled and fun. Much of what they do can be found on many a dance floor and gymnastics mat, after all, and requires enormous amounts of skill and practice. But they’re accessories. Their attractiveness, their skills? All of that is to serve the purpose of being an accessory to someone else’s (usually male) achievements. It matters not one iota how hard one has worked, nor one’s own abilities, the cheerleader type essentially has it as a function to complete and pull together someone else’s outfit.

I relate to the lifeguard type better. Often attractive and by necessity skilled, the lifeguard is important and necessary in her own right. She’s not there to make sure someone else’s package is attractive, but is there to make things better, safer, and more fun. When something goes wrong, the lifeguard dives in and does her best to fix it.

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