By Kendyl Brower
“Would the rules change up or would they still apply?… sometimes I wish I could act like a boy.” These lyrics echo the dance hall as The Tiger Girls Dance Team at Louisiana State University take the stage with booming confidence. Their powerful dance to Ciara’s “Like A Boy” in response to sporting discrimination struck a chord with women everywhere who can relate to the constant sexism prevalent in the sports world.
One of the most elite dance teams, the LSU Tigers compete nationally and support other sports on the sidelines. The National Collegiate Athletic Association describes sports as an “activity involving physical exertion with the primary purpose being competition versus other teams or individuals within a collegiate competition structure,” and while dance checks all of these boxes, the NCAA fails to recognize dance as a sport. Despite this, LSU dancers must follow strict student athlete guidelines and attend 10+ hours of practice daily. When the dance team asked to attend the 2021 UDA College Nationals, the school denied it: no athletic trainers could be spared for the season, and since NCAA-recognized sports came first, the dance team could not attend. Every other team was allowed to attend their National Championships. Unable to compete, the LSU Tigers were still expected to dance at other sporting events.
Angered, disappointed, and discredited, the Tigers came to the 2021-2022 season with a new attitude. On January 15, the LSU Tigers performed their iconic, “Like A Boy” as a not-so-subtle stab at the double-standards and difficulties of being a woman in sports. Their passionate choreography landed them to 2022 UDA Hip Hop National Champion title and immense support from other schools in a now-viral Tik Tok. Moreover, the dance routine found its way onto social media and spread like wildfire, even becoming a Tik Tok trend for dancers to follow their choreo.
The LSU Tigers shed light on a prevalent issue in athletics nationally: continuous sexism, belittlement, and double-standards for female athletes. Though one dance did not solve this issue entirely, it certainly is a step in the right direction for women to be respected, like a boy.