Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I’m so tired of the cheer and dance snobs. My neighbor is always ranting and raving against little girls being exploited in “sexy clothes” in dance and cheer, like my three daughters. Her girls are in soccer – what she calls a “real sport.”

One of my daughters is badgered by girls in other sports who call them horrible names. All my young girls have been labeled “sexy.”

My girls have to maintain grades of a B or above to participate, just like any other athlete.

My husband and I are geologists. We’ve written books and traveled the world over for our careers.

Some parents have even decided we must be in a certain political party because we let our daughters be “paraded” around as sex objects.

I was a professional dancer. And I was a cheerleader for my university.

It’s not just the parents. They influence their kids to cyberbully. The kids push, yank hair, trip, and terrorize my girls. Now my oldest doesn’t want to participate anymore because of bullying and one girl’s comment that my daughter is just, “asking for it” (as in asking for sexual harassment).

It’s not the boys; it’s the girls and their moms. It’s shameful!

Signed,

Not a cheer-snob

Dear Not,

Humiliating and labeling little girls is shameful. And you are right to call dance and cheer sports, because that’s what they are.

A woman whose daughter plays a sport like soccer, or any other sport, is being hypocritical by judging other girls who prefer other sports. Your husband and you need to speak to her and her spouse and encourage them to end the bullying.

Of course, interjecting any political label to our kids’ talent development is not acceptable. This kind of labeling is at the worst end of the spectrum. Please ask the parents to refrain from playing politics.

Anyone who thinks its okay to degrade, attack, and show hostility of any kind towards a certain segment of our culture because of their talent development choices, has to stop it, now. Parents need to decide what costumes and behavior is appropriate for their children’s sport choice.

We challenge you to use this experience as an opportunity to teach your girls how not to act. Encourage them to walk the higher road. The truth is there may be future incidents of similar nature, as we are witnessing in today’s world.

Women, who are truly dedicated to reducing sexual harassment, exploitation, and sexual assaults like rape, ought to work to end bullying and stop propagating this form of sexual harassment. Our girls deserve better than this.

Signed, Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Rhonda Orr is the president of Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation and host of a podcast at therhondaorrshow.com. Dr. Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, is a crime-victim specialist. Write them at Rhonda@rhondastopbullying.org.