Female NFL photographers are adding a much-needed “female gaze” to the sport. They are taking shots of cheerleaders from a new angle. Some male sports photographers still use the traditional “male gaze” Rosenberg is one of the only female NFL photographers to shoot cheerleaders regularly. She has had great success with the Gold Rush and other NFL cheer teams. Cheerleaders’ exploitation has been increasingly well documented as cheerleaders begin to speak out against their treatment.
The Washington Football Team’s all-female cheerleading squad has been removed from the NFL. The Ringer called the field “outdated” and “sexist at best,” and USA Today called for eliminating the teams. When cheerleaders are portrayed as one-dimensional sex objects, that is precisely what they have become, writes Zain Verjee. Verjee says of the sudden removal of the Washington team’s cheerleaders.
Rosenberg has rebranded action shots to catch cheerleaders at their most powerful rather than their sexiest. Cheerleader choreographs sideline routines for the Pro Bowl halftime show. She says the NFL cheerleaders need to be shot with more respect. Rosenberg auditioned for the NBA’s Clipper Spirit Dance Team when she was 18. She choreographed the halftime show for the NFL’s annual all-star game, the Pro bowl. The Pro Bowl features one cheerleader from each NFL team. The 49ers hired Rosenberg to shoot their 2014 Gold Rush calendar. Rosenberg says the photoshoot was a turning point in her career. The 49ers’ players looked more powerful than she had ever seen them portrayed, Rosenberg says. The photos did not make it into the calendar, but Rosenberg continued to work with the team the following year.
Lindsay Rosenberg is the director of social media marketing for Gold Rush cheerleaders. She has worked with current Gold Rush director Christi Deane to revamp the modern template for cheerleader marketing.
Clippers cheerleader says male photographers did not understand the nuance with which cheerleaders deserved to be photographed. She vowed to delete photos of flexed feet, unstraightened kicks, and women hunched over as they rose from the floor in the middle of their routine. Furthermore, crotch shots will never see the light of day. “All of them were men,” Rosenberg says of the photos taken by male photographers in the 1970s and 1980s.
Rosenberg’s success within the NFL demonstrates the ripple effect of putting a woman in charge. “I look at somebody, and I’m like, ‘Wow, you’re a mom of two, and you have a degree, and I know how wonderful you are.'”