He’s one in a team of 100 women — and he’s got a robust response to the sneerers
This year has marked a historic moment for equality at Southampton University — for the first time male students were allowed audition for the ‘Southampton Vixens’, the campus’s official cheerleading squad.
Step forward Ben Franklin. Not the reincarnation of one of the founding fathers of the good old US of A, but a second-year law student, who is now the uni’s only male cheerleader.
Franklin had no previous experience of the activity — having only ever seen cheerleading in movies — but that appears to have only spurred him on.
He told student newspaper The Tab:
“A friend of mine who was already on the team knew I wanted to try out and sent me a message saying the Vixens were thinking of going co-ed, and I knew I had to try out.”
During auditions, Franklin, along with other wannabe cheerleaders, was taught a couple of basic moves, which ultimately had to be performed in front of the coaches.
Clearly, all those hours of watching crap American films paid off — Franklin made the cut. But problems ensued: Southampton had not a stitch of male cheerleading kit.
Having presumably said no to the skirt and low cut top combo, a bespoke outfit had to be produced. After a few ‘sizing’ issues, Franklin was ready to compete.
The law student is already embracing the fact he is the only male in a team consisting of more than 100 girls. He reflected:
“Being the only male Vixen is great. So many people are so surprised, but I love it — I’m a massive attention seeker (sorry ‘bout it) and I love that I got to be the first.
“It also means I got to know everyone on the team really quickly because they all knew who I was, but I honestly still don’t know some girls’ names because I had so many to learn at once.”
Life away from the pompoms seems to be good too — as Franklin praises the social aspect of cheerleading but refuses to divulge too much:
“The social secs pour so much into getting everyone to have a good time. Honestly, they could make a bunch of pensioners feel young and reckless again…but what happens on socials stays on socials I’m afraid.”
Franklin accepts there are critics of his choice to pick up the pompoms, but he’s got a message for them too, telling the website:
“I’ve had some guys pull faces and run their mouths but to be honest, they can suck my dick — I’m loving life and their negativity isn’t welcome in my party.”
But perhaps Franklin is on to something.
Just last year magic circle powerhouse law firm Linklaters threw its support behind Durham University cheerleading squad, the ‘Durham Divas’, bankrolling new outfits and travel costs.
It only remains for major law firms themselves to launch their own cheerleading squads — the Freshfields Freshers, the Hogan Lovelies, the Slaughter and May Days (enough silly law firm cheerleader names, ed).