'10 infuriating thoughts I had while watching America's Sweethearts: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders on Netflix.'

It's time to slide into some blue and white and dust off your old cowboy boots because everyone is talking about the Netflix docuseries, America’s Sweethearts: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

The seven-episode series is truly enthralling viewing. Taking viewers behind the glitz and glam of the NFL's most iconic cheerleading squad, the show picks up as a new team is being assembled, which means weeks of grueling auditions, fittings, training sessions and boot camp. 

Under the guise of DCC director, Kelli Finglass, and head choreographer, Judy Trammell, hundreds of women converge on Dallas each year to try to score one of 36 coveted spots on the team. And it isn't just rookies trying out, the current squad members have to re-audition every season —it's all rather stressful!

After inhaling the series in a few nights, I have thoughts... many thoughts! 

Listen to The Quicky's episode on the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Post continues below. 

1. Wow, so these insanely talented women train their whole lives to be paid minimum wage, huh.

Firstly, these women are not paid what they deserve by any stretch of the imagination. 2022 DCC alum Kat said that her salary was similar to "a Chick-fil-A worker who works full time." This is generally around $25,000 per year ($35,000 AUD) which is disgraceful considering that the highest-paid NFL players make over $50 million a year.  

This is despite these women dedicating their entire lives to dance education — including thousands spent on ballet, jazz and gymnastics training. When asked about the DCC's low salaries, all that the chief brand officer, Charlotte Jones, could offer was some speech about being in a 'sisterhood'. 


"They’re not paid a lot. But the facts are, they actually don’t come here for the money. They come here for something that’s actually bigger than that to them. They have a passion for dance. There are not a lot of opportunities in the field of dance to get to perform at an elite level. It is about being a part of something bigger than themselves," she said in an episode. 

"It is about a sisterhood that they are able to form."

This supposed 'sisterhood' doesn't pay rent, lady. 

2. Do they actually think picking a red-haired white woman is a win for diversity?

I'm actually laughing at how much emphasis Kelli and Judy are putting on Charly, a red-hair white dancer who got through the first set of auditions. You'd think they've never seen a redhead in their lives, which could check out considering the sea of blondes and brunettes I see before me. 

This celebration of diversity comes after two Black women were cut at the same time during boot camp. Then another rookie, Anisha, who stunned with her Bollywood-inspired solo, is suddenly cut after an injury. 

They also let a shorter girl through to boot camp only to eventually cut her when they realised... she's still short. 


3. I'm deeply uncomfortable about the conversations going down about women's bodies.

There's just so much harm being done throughout this series. There are several microaggressions made where conventionally thin women are referred to as "curvy' and in another audition round, one male judge says a veteran has "more weight in her face" compared to the year before. 

The uniform sizing scene is just straight-up triggering for literally every woman. Between the irresponsible comments, referring to some women as 'scrawny' and others celebrated for meeting this self-imposed 'ideal' body', it's just f**king gross. 

And aside from the daily comments, there's a bigger message being sent to these women, as ex-veteran Kat claims that once they are given a costume, they have to stay that size for the whole year. 



4. Wait, why are so many random men arriving to judge these women?

Okay, what is happening...

Throughout these countless audition rounds and training sessions, all these random men keep popping in. Men that are in no way qualified to be judging how these women perform. 

A meteorologist? An NFL player? Get out of here! This is not just insulting to the women but surely unethical. 

5. Victoria needs a hug, and she needs a hug right now.

At first glance, Victoria appears like a classic case of nepotism. With a mum who was a DCC group leader and close pals with Kelli, there's definitely some favouritism at play. 


But as the season unfolds, viewers realise that Victoria is just trying her goddamn best. 

There are countless worrying moments scattered throughout the series which raise concerns over Victoria's body dysmorphia and disordered eating. In episode four, she cuts the band off her tights so she doesn't have a ‘belly roll’. In another episode, the director suggests Victoria has had periods where she stopped eating entirely. 


Throughout the series, it's clear Victoria doesn’t always connect with other dancers. She is often seen not socialising during practice and she spent her birthday alone with her mum. 

Kelly and Judy make several disparaging comments about Victoria, pouring cold water on her dreams to be a group leader one day like her mum, by telling her in the finale this will probably never happen. 

It hurts my heart. 

6. This photo rule for fans is so, so dark.

Omg wait! So throughout the series, whenever we see photos of fans posing with the DCC team, they're always holding a football. There's a reason for this and it's.... cooked. 

This is to prevent fans (aka men) from touching the women inappropriately. Yikessss. 

"Can I put an arm around you," one man asks at a meet-and-greet event. "Hands on the football!" a security guard replies. 

A security officer later adds "We have a no-touch policy."

"We bring footballs with us... If a man doesn't feel comfortable standing with his hands to the front or to the side, he can hold a football. This takes some of the enthusiasm away from putting your hands around or on a cheerleader."

The fact this policy is needed is disgusting tbh. 

7. This is even worse than America's Next Top Model.

Makeover time! I'm actually deeply triggered because I'm brought straight back to Tyra Banks cutting off cycles upon cycles of women's hair in the name of high farshun.


Each season, one girl gets a major overhaul which ends in floods of tears. For America's Sweethearts, that person is Kelly V. She begins the show blonde but ends up brunette... just in time to be cut from the squad. Not kidding. 

Another moment that gave me ANTM whiplash was Kelli actually judging close-ups of the women's faces from the games. As she examined the images, we were given a running commentary of what was wrong with everyone's makeup. Tyra is shaking! 


8. So wait, these women have to do their jobs AND be saints at the same time?

Okay, this part pushed me TOO FAR. 

So not only do these women have to reach impossible body standards, be the best dancers in the world, have perfect salon hair and makeup... they also have to be nice to everyone, all the time. 

They're meeting fans constantly, they're holding dance sessions at nursing homes, they're visiting children in hospital, it never ends. And then they're held to unreachable moral standards and scolded when they fall short.

In one of the show's most infuriating scenes, Kelli holds a team meeting ahead of a Thanksgiving game, where the women are scolded for not writing a letter to the bus driver who is in hospital.

As if this is something that should be broadcast for everyone to hear, Kelli then berated Klein for daring to enquire where her bauble was on the Christmas tree. Kleine ends up in tears after being humiliated in front of her entire team for *checks notes* not being thankful enough on Thanksgiving.

Excuse me, this is her JOB! She is working. She is learning 50 routines for minimal pay. She doesn't owe thanks to anyone, especially the director of DCC.  

9. Oh, so they're just straight-up destroying these women's bodies for the rest of their lives. Nice. 

The injuries these cheerleaders are left with are NO JOKE. 

One of the retired veterans featured in the series, Caroline (whose younger sister, Anna Kate, gets through the audition process), has had to undergo two surgeries after she retired. 

During her last year on the team, she found out she needed hip reconstruction surgery, but put it off so she could continue to cheer for the team. She later had to go into surgery on her left foot which left her wearing a boot to recover.


Then there are the dreaded jump-splits that every DCC member has to perform during the 'Thunderstruck' routine, which often causes permanent hip damage. Super normal! 

10. Ummm, so THAT just happened. 

This could literally be referring to at least 20 moments from the series. 


But a moment that was extremely upsetting was when Sophy was allegedly groped by a cameraman at a game. Sophy was on the field when a photographer inappropriately touched her. She immediately spoke to police and said she wanted to press charges. 

After Kelli was alerted to the alleged incident, she tried to pull Sophy off the field. "If she’s that upset, she doesn’t need to be dancing," she said during the episode.

In an interview, Sophy started crying as she recalled what happened. We found out later the charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence as it was her word against his. 

Earlier in the series, Kelcey spoke about being stalked by someone who attached a tracking device to her car. 

This paired with a scene showing a tour around the cheerleaders' locker room where random men selected their 'favourite' Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, like they're picking candy from a vending machine, leaves an unsettling feeling for the viewer.

These women are giving their all for DCC, but their largely male fanbase rarely treat them with the respect they deserve. 

Watch all episodes of America’s Sweethearts: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders on Netflix. 

Feature image: Netflix. 

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