Local Professional Cheerleaders Weigh In On Body Standards

A Baltimore Ravens cheerleader says she is being benched from going to the big game on Sunday because she gained two pounds. 23-year-old Courtney Lenz has been with the team for five years.

This controversy brings up a good question, do local cheerleaders have the same pressure to stay thin? The Tulsa Ice Girls Director, Jessica Rankins says for professional cheerleaders there is a standard to uphold.

"It's an expectation that you stay at the weight that you signed your contract at or you better yourself," says Rankins.

Rankins says each girl is required to sign a contract at the beginning of each season. Part of that contract you are required to uphold your appearance and represent the organization well. She says there is a certain weight each girl should be at during the year.

"I have had girls where I have not let them work a game over 5 or 10 pounds, but I have gotten rid of people for 20 or 25 pounds," says Rankins.

Rankins says she understands an organization not allowing people to work that haven't met the requirements because this is a job. She says with the Ice Girls, once a girl has gained significant weight, not just two pounds, she will work with them to get back to their health weight. The reason behind all the weight talk she admits is their uniforms are small and you have to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

"You want to be comfortable in your own body. So I think it's important to hold yourself to that," says Rankins.