Buffalo Bills’ cheerleaders handbook: Here is how to wash yourselves

A new lawsuit suggests the team management got very personal

Topics: Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Jills, cheerleaders, NFL,

Buffalo Bills' cheerleaders handbook: Here is how to wash yourselvesBuffalo Bills cheerleaders (Credit: AP/Heather Ainsworth)

It turns out the world of professional cheerleaders is often anything but cheerful. If the claims of a new lawsuit are to be believed, it can be a job in which you have to fight for minimum wage while being told how to manage the landscape of your own genital terrain. Following in the footsteps of cheerleaders from the Raiders, Ravens and Bengals who’ve come forward this year with their tales of payment disputes and humiliating working conditions, this week the Buffalo Jills suspended all activities in the wake of the new lawsuit that five of its cheerleaders are pursuing against their team and its cheerleader management groups.



As the Buffalo News reports, the suit against the Bills — a team for which Mario Williams makes $6,500,000 — alleges it “failed to pay the former cheerleaders the $8 minimum wage for all the hours they worked … The five former Jills, who worked as long ago as the 2010-11 season and as recently as the 2013-14 season, were paid amounts ranging from as little as $105 to as much as $1,800 a year.” And what obligation to the organization does this sort of money buy? According to documents obtained by Deadspin, “the Jills were subjected to weekly ‘physique evaluations’ during which defendants’ representatives tested the Jills’ bodies for ‘jiggling.’” More nauseatingly, in its horrifyingly badly punctuated “Glamour requirements” for “General hygiene & lady body maintenance,” cheerleaders were directed to “Don’t use lufa’s [sic] or sponges” and maintain their “intimate area’s [sic]” with tips like “Clean/rinse razor often while shaving. Especially after going to a new ‘area’” and “When menstruating, use a product that right for your menstrual flow. A tampon too big can irritate and develop fungus. A product left in too long can cause bacteria or fungus build up. Products can be changed at least every 4 hours. Except when sleeping, they can be left in for the night.” There’s more – a lot more – in the general guidelines. My favorite, which I am getting made into a T-shirt, is “Do not overeat bread at a formal setting.” BECAUSE CARBS. But “Do not be overly opinionated about anything” is pretty great too, though.

If you’re a professional organization, that organization has a right to expect its representatives to behave in a way that reflects positively upon it, and to conduct themselves appropriately. But I think it’s safe to say that you ought to be paying your women a whole lot better before you get to tell them how big a tampon they ought to be using. And for a team that tells its cheerleaders to not have too many opinions, it certainly seems the Bills have a whole lot of them, about very personal issues that are none of their business.

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of "Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream." Follow her on Twitter: @embeedub.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...