To the Editor:
The Texas House of Representatives has it all wrong when it comes to elite cheerleading and sex ("Texas Legislation Adds a Bah! to Sis and Boom," news article, May 5).
The squads that engage in the "provocative" routines they seek to ban are elite squads - focused on competition, athletic skills and leadership.
These young women are athletes. Studies show that young women involved in sports - and make no mistake about it, in the South cheerleading is a sport - are less likely to engage in sex than their nonathletic counterparts.
As a former elite cheerleader, I saw more than one girl "kept out of trouble" by her participation on an elite squad.
These squads build leaders with self-confidence, lead to college scholarships and give young women the chance to value their bodies for their athletic abilities instead of their sexual appeal.
The routines may look sexy, but that does not mean the girls are having sex. Instead of banning routines and becoming the "dance police," the Texas Legislature should see the value in these squads for young women's futures and say, "Bring it on!"
Mary Alice CarrNew York, May 5,
First of all, when did cheerleading become a sport? Second, call it sport, call it dance, whatever, but when will people face up to the fact that the reason there are girls in tight clothes rolling around on the ground at basketball games is so the men in attendance can see them as sex objects. Who wants this for their daughter?