Inside Scoop

Leching men, dirty toilets and corrupt managers: an IPL cricket cheerleader reveals all

A Reddit chat provides insights on racism and sexism of Indian cricket crowds.

She hates the racism of the Indian Premier League. "Slimeballs" routinely demand that she pose for photos with them. Most of all, she's a feminist. Those are among the revelations made by an American IPL cheerleader who participated on Wednesday in an AMA ‒ shorthand for "Ask Me Anything" ‒ on the Reddit social networking website.

While the woman remained anonymous for the public at large, she had apparently submitted picture proof to the moderators of the site to establish her identity, but didn't want it made public for fear of losing her job.

The online event attracted over 500 responses and she went on to answer a wide range of questions from food to travel and, of course, the highs and lows of her job.

This is how she described herself.
I'm not saying where I'm from to protect my identity. But I'm from a western country. So far I've been loving India. I might be a rare Westerner in that I love the chaos here. People are living, kids playing cricket in the streets, goats and cows wondering around, people selling fruits and veggies on corners, I love it. It beats the closed off living you'll find in major cities in the U.S. the U.K. or Australia.

I was a cheerleading for an All-Star team and for my high school for a long number of years. This is only my third week in IPL.

My love for dancing and experiencing new things and new cultures brought me here. I actually get payed very little.

aar_640 asked: "What is the biggest thing you hate about your job?"
"I hate the racism. Why is my team made up of 99% white girls? Why do Indians feel it's ok to dress white girls up in skimpy outfits but they won't let their fellow Indian women do it? It's messed up."

aar_640 also asked how cheerleaders coped with abusive and cheap words hurled at them. Her response:
"for the most part I can't hear them. The music is loud enough and the accents are thick enough I'm mostly oblivious to the words. This doesn't mean I can't tell that there are some obvious slime-balls behind me. I try my best to ignore them. And I've made a personal rule for myself not to take pictures with fans unless they're women or children. I'm not keen on becoming someone's fap bate for the night.".

ek_ladki had a question on the working conditions in India, whether she thought she was being paid fairly and felt that she was treated with respect.
Conditions aren't the best. If I were back in my home country I'd be shocked at the state of our toilets, changing rooms, and on occasions our hotel rooms.

Gtarumble followed that up by enquiring about the accommodation the cheerleaders were given.
The first two games they were more like 1 star hotels. Cockroaches, I saw a rat and rat droppings, it was pretty bad. But we quickly spoke up and realized our manager for that trip had been skimping us and pocketing the money he was saving on a cheaper hotel. Now they're more like 3 star. Perfectly comfortable but not over the top.

The manager has since been fired, she revealed. When asked about the difference between crowds in India versus other countries, she said:
"The men in the crowd in India are much more intrusive. But you'll find pigs wherever you go."

discr33t_enough asked about what annoys her the most during games. Her response:
"Gross men being vulgar".

pcmaniacxx asked:  What is the funniest thing you ever saw a cricket fan doing in a stadium?
Honestly? I put a blank stare on for the most part when I'm facing the crowd. There's just so many nasty men making kissy faces and taking my picture that I tend to just block it all out. Often I'll lock eyes with some nice people that are smiling and those are the people I'll focus on for most of the game. So I haven't really seen many funny things. If someone genuinely made me laugh though, that would be a welcome thing.

vareen's question was on advice to kids wanting to take up cheerleading.
"I'd advise not to take up cheerleading as an only profession. If you want to be a cheerleader, study dance and work on getting jobs in dance. Use your resume to apply".

shiva_ram asked: "It must be very exhausting to dance every 5 or 10 minutes in searing hot weather. What do you do keep energy levels high?" Her reply:
The heat gets annoying. I try to embrace it. The energy is just part of the job. We have to appear upbeat even if we're exhausted.

But the takeaway from her interview seemed to be what she ended up having to repeat more than once, that "the sexism is worse here by far".  notsosleepy asked her if she was a feminist and to share her thoughts on cheerleading, especially in India, being a means to objectify women as sexual objects.
I am a feminist, and I admit that I am bothered. When I danced and cheered in the U.S. I felt less like that. If you were to watch female dancers on Broadway, regardless of their outfit, you probably wouldn't call them a sexual object. You'd call them a dancer. I went into this contract as a dancer, finding that I'm treated more as a sex object.

I try to be forgiving of human nature so I'm rolling with the punches. I also enjoy what I do regardless. But I wouldn't renew this contract for another year unless things changed.


We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BULLETIN BY 

New survey reveals what is essential for a fulfilled life in India and the world

Results from one of the largest surveys on fulfillment reveal how India stacks up at home and abroad.

Most people will readily admit to wanting a fulfilled life, but what does that actually mean? It’s a question that has vexed philosophers from the Buddha to Aristotle and one that continues to challenge us today.

Part of the reason for the ambiguity is that “living fully” means different things to different people. At an abstract level, a fulfilled life is about engaging in acts that promote meaning or happiness in daily life. At a practical level, this could include spending time with family and friends, volunteering in one’s community or learning new skills. For others, it could involve travel, music or the outdoors.

To further complicate things, research shows that acts that are meaningful might not necessarily bring happiness and vice versa. Wealth is an interesting example of this. Contrary to popular belief, money can indeed “buy” or boost happiness. However, it seems to have much less impact on meaning. One measure of this disconnect is that citizens of poorer countries often report seeing their lives as more meaningful than those in high-income countries. This paradox further demonstrates that defining a fulfilled life is a highly personal process.

A recent, large study by Abbott sought to understand what makes people feel fulfilled. The survey asked nearly two million individuals across countries, including India, to comment on what contributes to living a fulfilled life. Respondents were also encouraged to self-report their current levels of personal fulfillment to compare with the fulfillment standards they had set for themselves.

The results show that, worldwide, family (32%), success (12%) and giving (8%) are most often selected as top contributors of a fulfilled life. This held true for countries like India and Mexico. In contrast, factors like the outdoors (3%), food (2%) and the arts (2%) ranked lowest on average worldwide. India followed the same pattern. Self-reported fulfillment scores reached 68 out of 100 globally, with many national averages clustered close by.

In the case of India, comparing what we think makes us feel fulfilled to how fulfilled we actually are reveals some surprising paths to greater fulfillment:

  • Success doesn’t guarantee a fulfilled life, and we may be over-focused on it. Societal pressure to succeed, especially in financial terms, may be taking a toll on how fulfilled we feel. Indians disproportionately chose “success” as the top driver of fulfillment (18% vs 12% globally), yet those same people reported lower personal fulfillment scores. Focusing less on financial success could free up the energy needed to focus on acts that bring fulfillment to the individual as well as to society.
  • Family is center stage when it comes to living fully. Respondents who listed family (27%) as most important for living a fulfilled life indeed had higher fulfillment scores. This suggests that, despite the changing role of family and the ever-pressing time constraints that keep us away from loved ones, family still provides the kind of meaning and happiness that are important to living life fully.
  • Health is foundational for living fully but is somewhat overlooked. While the connection between health and living a fulfilled life is self-evident, only 5% of respondents listed health as the most important determinant of a fulfilled life. When we compare this to China (20%) and Brazil (11%), it appears that we are paying insufficient attention to the issue or taking for granted a healthy life. Prioritizing health—especially in light of the ever-mounting public health challenges—could bring the kind of attention needed to improve wellness at the individual and national levels.

People worldwide are united in their quest for a fulfilled life, but it’s clear that not everyone’s path to it will look the same. Perhaps the most important takeaway from the study, then, is to think inside-out rather than outside-in when defining one’s path to fulfillment. Societal pressures and norms can steer us towards certain definitions of meaning that conflict with our natural tendencies and prevent us from living a fulfilled life. As inherited wisdom indicates—the journey begins with the traveler and not the road.

There are numerous resources available that can help people around the world define and lead a more fulfilled life. Abbott, a leading health care company, is committed to helping people live the best life possible. Their website, newsletter and Living Fully survey feature lifehacks for work or personal time like those listed below. These are great tools for those ready to lead a more fulfilled and meaningful life, starting today.

This article was produced on behalf of Abbott by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.

×

PrevNext