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Pictures | Fri Dec 28, 2018 | 9:25pm IST

Vienna's male cheerleaders seek to redefine masculinity

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform on stage in the city hall of Vienna, Austria November 23, 2018. Vienna's female roller derby team have a halftime show most spectators won't forget: a cheerleading squad of a different kind. Armed with blue sweatbands, comically tight shorts and a soundtrack heavy on 80s kitsch, the all-male Fearleaders deliver performances that are camp, acrobatic and crowd-pleasingly funny during the roller-skating competition, but their message is serious.

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform on stage in the city hall of Vienna, Austria November 23, 2018. Vienna's female roller derby team have a halftime show most spectators won't forget: a cheerleading squad of a different kind. Armed...more

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform on stage in the city hall of Vienna, Austria November 23, 2018. Vienna's female roller derby team have a halftime show most spectators won't forget: a cheerleading squad of a different kind. Armed with blue sweatbands, comically tight shorts and a soundtrack heavy on 80s kitsch, the all-male Fearleaders deliver performances that are camp, acrobatic and crowd-pleasingly funny during the roller-skating competition, but their message is serious. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team stretch before a performance. "We really would like to make people think -- how is a man supposed to behave? How is a man supposed to dance?" one of the Fearleaders, Romed Felderer, a 33-year-old social worker, said in an interview.

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team stretch before a performance. "We really would like to make people think -- how is a man supposed to behave? How is a man supposed to dance?" one of the Fearleaders, Romed Felderer, a 33-year-old social...more

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team stretch before a performance. "We really would like to make people think -- how is a man supposed to behave? How is a man supposed to dance?" one of the Fearleaders, Romed Felderer, a 33-year-old social worker, said in an interview. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. The group's website adds: "Fearleading for us means taking fear away. Especially from men. Fear of not being strong enough, not behaving manly enough, not performing masculine enough. We want to get rid of sexual repression, gender inequality, toxic masculinity, homophobia, transphobia ... and many other fears."

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. The group's website adds: "Fearleading for us means taking fear away. Especially from men. Fear of not being strong enough, not behaving manly enough, not performing masculine enough. We want to...more

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. The group's website adds: "Fearleading for us means taking fear away. Especially from men. Fear of not being strong enough, not behaving manly enough, not performing masculine enough. We want to get rid of sexual repression, gender inequality, toxic masculinity, homophobia, transphobia ... and many other fears." REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team stretch before a performance. The amateur group was created in 2013 by friends who were mainly students at the time. It has grown to around 29 members, roughly half of whom currently perform.

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team stretch before a performance. The amateur group was created in 2013 by friends who were mainly students at the time. It has grown to around 29 members, roughly half of whom currently...more

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team stretch before a performance. The amateur group was created in 2013 by friends who were mainly students at the time. It has grown to around 29 members, roughly half of whom currently perform. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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A member of the Fearleaders cheerleading team waits before a performance. The Fearleaders also publish a calendar that funds their operations, which include traveling to away matches against other European sides.

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

A member of the Fearleaders cheerleading team waits before a performance. The Fearleaders also publish a calendar that funds their operations, which include traveling to away matches against other European sides. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

A member of the Fearleaders cheerleading team waits before a performance. The Fearleaders also publish a calendar that funds their operations, which include traveling to away matches against other European sides. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform on stage at Vienna's city hall. Despite their modest means and being tied to a sport with a limited audience, the group are ambitious about broadening their appeal.

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform on stage at Vienna's city hall. Despite their modest means and being tied to a sport with a limited audience, the group are ambitious about broadening their appeal. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform on stage at Vienna's city hall. Despite their modest means and being tied to a sport with a limited audience, the group are ambitious about broadening their appeal. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. "It would be lovely to be invited to the Ellen Show," said Andreas Mayer, a 39-year-old academic, referring to the U.S. talk show hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. 

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. "It would be lovely to be invited to the Ellen Show," said Andreas Mayer, a 39-year-old academic, referring to the U.S. talk show hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. "It would be lovely to be invited to the Ellen Show," said Andreas Mayer, a 39-year-old academic, referring to the U.S. talk show hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team stretch before a performance. 

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team stretch before a performance. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team stretch before a performance. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. 

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team wait before a performance. 

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team wait before a performance. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team wait before a performance. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. 

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team wait before a performance. 

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team wait before a performance. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team wait before a performance. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. 

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team wait before a performance. 

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team wait before a performance. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team wait before a performance. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. 

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. 

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. 

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. 

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Members of the Fearleaders cheerleading team perform. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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