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No cheerleaders means no visible token of social structure in the school. Girls are therefore much more mobile on the social ladder over here than in the States. One phenomenon which was extremely prevalent in my school but also, I suspect, in most schools in England, was the 'brainy, straight girl-turned-sexpot' syndrome.

Maybe we just had a lot of late developers, but the most popular girls by the time we reached the last two years of our schooling were intelligent, stunning and friendly to all (although in some cases there was still lingering resentment of the hitherto-popular-through-fear girls who had made their lives hell before their blossoming).

Perhaps this is due to the filtering of the pupils following GCSE exams at the age of 15/16, whereby the least intelligent (and for most schools, that includes the most objectionable) girls leave the school.

For the males, however, the lack of cheerleaders just provokes a justified feeling of being robbed in our most formative years, and wishing that we had cheerleaders instead of those damn Yanks.

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