They are not, after all, being forced. They audition for spots on the team, and the reason that management can get away with being so obnoxious is that for every woman who makes it, many more would love to take her spot. So they must get something out of their performance: status, the joy of dancing in public, esprit de corps.There is no question whatsoever that it ups their dating prospects. I went out with several Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders and a few Minnesota Timberwolves cheerleaders, and I probably would have only been attracted to two of them if they had been non-cheerleaders.
It seems conceivable to me -- indeed, likely -- that women who get a spot on the local cheerleading squad enjoy better job prospects and enhanced dating opportunities. Forget whether these women should want to date men who want to date them because they like telling people that their girlfriend is a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. I’m sure cheerleaders like the oohs of appreciation they get when someone drops the name of their squad, just like journalists don’t mind the reaction when they tell folks they work for the Economist or the New York Times. And while you wouldn’t want someone whose only interest in you was your prestige employer, you probably wouldn’t really mind if they considered that a small plus factor.
The team, then, has something these women value. Should we be angry that the team trades it on the best possible terms?
I mean, if you're a sports fan, you've been seeing cheerleaders through idealized lenses for pretty much your entire life. So, when someone says, "this is X, she's a Vikings cheerleader," she is instantly two points hotter. Maybe even three. It's just that simple.
It's no different than telling a woman "this is Y, he's the CEO of Whatever corporation." She doesn't even hear what the corporation is called, she just hears those magic words, "CEO", and he's immediately anywhere from 2-5 points more attractive.
What is +2-3 points of attractiveness worth to a woman? Quite a bit, obviously, or they wouldn't be willing to trade so much time and effort for it.
That being said, with the amount of money the teams are making from their TV deals, if one considers how often the cheerleaders are put up on camera, it is obvious that they should certainly be paid more conventionally for their time.