The History Of Cheerleading: It Was All-Male Until The 20th Century

By Karen Harris
Yale male cheerleaders performing a routine, circa 1925. Source: (Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)

Today, cheerleading is very much a female-dominated sport. Although male cheerleaders are not uncommon at the competitive and collegiate level, boys who express an interest in cheering in high school are looked upon as an oddity, to put it politely. Maybe that attitude would change if more people knew that the first cheerleaders were men. In fact, cheerleading was an all-male endeavor until the 1920s. Here is a brief history of the macho world of early cheerleading.