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Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Get Paid $150 - Why We Need to Talk about a Livable Wage for Every Job

Updated on September 14, 2016
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Pam McElprang is obsessed with writing, all things history, and her new corgi, Nigel. Find her on Twitter @PamMcElprang

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders - Making the Team Reality Show
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders - Making the Team Reality Show | Source

Two years ago, The Atlantic shared an article detailing the 'Shockingly Low Salaries of Professional Cheerleaders' which cites payments as low as $100 per game. These payments do not include the numerous hours spent in practice, the significant money spent in looking 'camera ready' even for team practice, or the countless hours spent learning about current events, government, and Cowboys lore - which is required to be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, so we learn on the reality show.

Why Minimum Wage is a Problem

Let's talk for a minute about WHY minimum wage is so polarizing. First, you'll get people who work, for example, as EMT's or as nurses in highly stressful ERs who cite pay as low as $11 an hour - yet they are responsible for the lives of countless people every day. Then, you'll get people who didn't get that extra ketchup packet from the McDonald's drive through and they grumble, "she thinks she deserves $15 an hour but she can't even remember my extra ketchup packet!"

Why is one job worth more than another? Why is the stress of one job worse / harder / more important? Why should any worker be thought less of for believing they deserve a livable wage?

There must come a point when we realize, as a collective body of hard-working individuals, that every person deserves the same chance at a LIVABLE wage. Any person who works a full-time job should not have to work two other jobs just to get by. It doesn't matter what the job is: soldier, burger flipper, EMT, cheerleader - every single individual deserves the right to earn enough to LIVE.

Now, people will argue that some jobs are harder, some people work harder, some jobs are too menial - but you know what, someone will always have to do all those menial jobs. Someone will always have to be there, making your hamburger and taking your change at the drive through window. Someone will always have to scrub the floors and clean up messes in department store bathrooms. Someone will always have to do the job that you don't want to do.

And someone will always have to do the harder jobs, the more stressful jobs, the more fast-paced jobs. The bottom line is that someone will always have to do every job, but their choice to work at that job is no less valuable than any other choice.

And some people, especially now, are forced to go back to work after years of retirement. And they can't work in their original field, or they can't work in labor positions, or they can't do what they used to be able to do so they take whatever position they can.

To get by.

That burger flipper that 'can't remember the ketchup packet' may be working two other jobs, or a triple shift, or her child is sick and she can't leave to care for him, or her bills are piling up and - for just one moment - she was distracted.

Everyone gets distracted. Every nurse, EMT, soldier, janitor, driver, parking lot attendant. Everyone gets distracted. Because we are human and we have lives to manage outside our jobs and responsibilities and - worst of all - people who think less of us because we have taken a position below theirs.

Why should anyone deserve less pay than is considered the lowest 'livable' standard?

It doesn't matter what the job, the reality is that every job is important to this economic system we rely on; but further, every person who pitches in by working a job is helping to keep this economy running smoothly. In balance. As best as we can. Together. And anyone who steps up by taking a job deserves the same right to a livable wage.

Appearance *IS* the Job

As I recently learned upon watching one of my guilty pleasure shows (Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders - Making the Team), the cheerleaders receive the paltry pay of just $150 per home game. While players on the NFL Cowboys team make millions. Why do these women earn so little when they work so hard?

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