A WOMAN’S WORK: THE NFL’S CHEERLEADER PROBLEMDirected by Yu Gu
Filmmakers in attendance.
Director Yu Gu shines a critical spotlight on the egregious gender pay gap and exploitative treatment of female cheerleaders that exist today behind the glamorous, high-stakes multibillion dollar industry of American professional football. Hot off its Tribeca world premiere, we are delighted to host its West Coast Premiere.
Thousands of women from across the world vie for a spot to become one of 50 lucky women selected to represent their beloved NFL cheerleading team. It takes hundreds of hours of dance practice, years of tryouts, and getting past physical challenges just to even get a chance to be on a team that millions of fans see every game and every special event. Deeply unregulated pay schedule/reimbursements, out-of-pocket expenses while in service of the league, and extraordinarily grueling requirements for fitness and perfection characterize these women’s daily realities. The film exposes the NFL’s wage theft and illegal employment practices against their cheerleaders and the class-action lawsuit put in motion to bring light to this unseeming reality behind the fantasy of beauty and pep.
Director Yu Gu’s follow-up to WHO IS ARTHUR CHU? finds her deeply invested in trying to illuminate what quantifies “work” in the high-stakes competitive and corporate world of the NFL. We all know the millions and millions of dollars male football players are paid for their services year in and year out but what about their institutional colleagues, the various teams’ female cheerleaders. As we find out in this investigative doc, they are the most exploited part of the institution and its overall brand. The attempt to tie their “work” (in promoting the team and the NFL brand) with the legacy of the emergent post-war, proto-feminist (i.e. Rosie the Riveter) movement is admirable and warranted.
In this era of the #MeToo movement where sexist practices are being called out, this film tackles an important aspect of women’s lives today that continue to plague them in all corridors of society, the gender pay gap that persists in the workplace, whether that is on the astroturf or in the office. —Melanie Ramos
Director, Producer: Yu Gu
Producer, Writer: Elizabeth Ai
Co-Producer, Impact Producer: Jin Yoo-Kim
Editor: Victoria Chalk
Composer: Allyson Newman
Associate Producer: Chris Nguyen, Samanta Helou-Hernandez
Sound Designer: Sung Rok Choi