A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Do what you know is right and don't back down even when it's hard. If you stay true to what you know is right, you'll find that change can happen, though sometimes very slowly, because of the impact your actions and words have. Anyone who works should receive at least the federal minimum wage for the hours that they work. The work that cheerleaders, and women in general, do is often seen as frivolous or having little or no value. But cheerleaders in fact add value to NFL teams and the league and should be compensated accordingly.
Positive Role Models
Both Lacy and Maria model instense dedication to dance and cheer because they love what they do, and perseverance for continuing to pursue justice and fair pay for cheerleaders, not for personal gain but in hopes of making things better for those who follow. The NFL and team owners are presented as not caring at all about the cheerleaders, and being determined never to admit wrongdoing and to continue paying cheerleaders as little as they can get away with. A team of attorneys representing Lacy comprises three women, one of whom is Black. All of them model professionalism, critical thinking, and collaboration.
Violence & Scariness
A former NFL player talks about how his favorite thing about playing football was hitting people. A connection to the power male owners and players have because of the popularity of the sport to domestic violence is briefly presented.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Brief sexualization of cheerleaders from revealing cheerleading uniforms and slow-motion footage of working out that shows a lot of bare skin and follows body curves. Mention that tryouts included doing jumping jacks to see if they "jiggled," with a slight implication that that was demeaning. Quotes from a cheerleading handbook on proper menstrual protection.
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Products & Purchases
The subject matter deals with a highly profitable industry. The only product shown is Seneca cigarettes in a negative context.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Fans interviewed at a football game exhibit slightly drunk behavior. One scene in a casino shows adults drinking at a party, and another shows adults in a bar, but no excess is shown. An elderly man takes a carton of cigarettes; his daughter says he won't quit smoking, and a few brief scenes show him seeking unspecified medical treatment.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Woman's Work: The NFL's Cheerleader Problem is a documentary about two former professional cheerleaders trying to get fair wages for the hours they work and to eliminate or minimize the amount of work they're required to do without any pay at all. There's little content of concern, but the mature treatment of the issues won't interest younger kids who aren't yet interested in the larger world around them. Cheerleaders and dancers are briefly, but not graphically, sexualized in workout footage and publicity events. There's a mention of demonstrating "jiggling" at tryouts, and a handbook is quoted about proper menstrual protection. The only violence is mention that a favorite part of playing football is hitting, and a connection made briefly between men in powerful positions and domestic violence. Fans who appear slightly drunk talk about drinking at football games. Adults are shown drinking alcohol socially. Some smoking. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is an interesting documentary that provides a lot of food for thought about a profession that most people probably don't give much thought to, and don't see as having much value, either. A Woman's Work: The NFL's Cheerleading Problem goes beyond showing the hard work and dedication it takes to be a professional cheerleader by exploring the differences and similarities of two in particular. It also provides some historical context for how women and the work they do have been valued (or not) by society.
The documentary comes down fully in favor of the cheerleaders, and takes the NFL and team ownership to task for their poor attitudes toward and treatment of the women who work so hard for their billion-dollar industry. But it does present the other sides' arguments, and viewers will hear from people with a wide range of opinions about the issues raised. Whether you're an NFL fan or not, or a feminist or not, there's plenty of material here to spark interesting discussions about sports, teamwork, what society finds valuable, and getting a fair wage for your work.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.