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Skate Like a Girl: Female Empowerment In Skateboarding

By Andres Pachon

A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.

 

This perception has been almost a constant in the eyes of people that look at skateboarding from the outside. For the ones on the inside it is clear that this particular stereotype was broken years ago! Even at the beginning of this whole SHIT®, when freestyle skateboarding was at its best, many girls participated in the events, some of them even made history!

Dudettes like Laura Thornhill Caswell, who was the first female skater to get her own signature model and won her first freestyle skateboarding contest at age 13 back in 1975, Wendy Bearer Bull, Patti McGee and others are living proof that dudettes have always been there, and far from being neglected in the industry! Being part of the Skateboarding Hall Of fame due to the big contributions they had in the scene as early as the 60’s, so yeah my dude, this is nothing new!

We bet there are still chances that dudettes did not tend to skate as much as the dudes, and there is a reason for that! At some point, skateboarding WAS advertised by the industry as being only for dudes, not explicitly of course, but the ads, the clothes, the shoes, the contests, almost everything was aimed particularly to the liking of the dudes, but times have certainly changed since then, and even then, dudettes were out there skating!

 

 

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Fighting Sexism

A lot has changed, yes, but we can't deny either the struggle that has been for some of our dudettes out there who have been criticized and almost chased out of the park by this coming of age “machos” that were raised with the train of thought sold to them by TV and other media, some of them still giving a hard time to girls when dudettes hit the parks. It is well known that there are dudes out there that still have issues when they see a girl skateboarding since they feel they “take up space” or “they should be in the kitchen”, we are not saying it is everybody, but we all know they are out there!

Gender roles are being completely reimagined and dudettes have taken it into their own hands to change the perception of those who feel that skateboarding was not made for them, which is complete bullSHIT®! It has been proven that girls are able to develop the same skills or even overcome the skills a man has, it's just a matter of practice and taking SHIT® seriously!

The industry has noticed their early mistake and now you can see the biggest skateboarding brands putting women skatewear and gear on display, something that regrettably should have been an approach from all of the brands from the beginning.

 

Skate Like a Girl

Initiatives, like this one (skatelikeagirl.com), have made a huge impact bringing awareness to these issues and more. Their focus is to change the perception some people still might have regarding the practice of this particular discipline, empower young kids, especially young women to grow into strong, confident leaders who promote and practice social and gender equity not only in the park but in their lives in general.

“We believe that skateboarding is a tool to build confidence, resilience, and foster inclusive communities. Our mission is to create an inclusive community by promoting confidence, leadership, and social justice through the sport of skateboarding.”

Being supported and sponsored by some of the biggest names in skateboarding like VANS, Bones, the Tony Hawk Foundation, Thrasher and Nike SB to name a few, proves the amazing turn around the industry has had regarding this particular matter.

These guys have been working for over 10 years now and they are currently working on online sessions and “at-home skate camp programs” to teach young dudes and dudettes to skate safely and learn the values of the organization to spread the word that it's not a bad thing at all to skate like a girl!

 

Global Awareness

Not only the skateboarding industry but also mainstream media have made their part to bring down these old ass stereotypes that WERE part of the industry, Movies like “Skate Kitchen” and new HBO series “Betty” are also taking this particular subject to bring awareness to not only skaters but the community in general.

Even Hollywood big shots are recognizing the efforts of the female community and their fight to bring down these walls, most recently the documentary Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl) won an Oscar for best documentary. The film is a closer look at the struggles of a country considered to be one of the worst places in the world to be born female, and a local skateboarding school that teaches both girls and boys to skate, however, on separate days.

"This movie is my love letter to the brave girls of that country," said the documentary's director, Carol Dysinger as she received the academy award, definitely a MUST watch if you are looking to understand even deeper issues currently happening to girls all over the world.

 

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Girl Skaters Breaking In

Here are some of the dudettes with sick skills you should be checking out if you still feel that girls can't skate!

Lacey Baker

25 years old skater “Leo” is one of the most well-known female skaters out there today, she was the first openly queer woman to join the Nike SB team design a Nike skate shoe for women! She is also an avid fighter for the LGBTQ inclusivity in the skate community.

 

Lizzie Armanto

Two-time X Games medallist, she took home the gold at the first-ever Women’s Skateboard Park event at the 2013 X Games, she has sick vert and bowl skills and is a strong contestant to be a part of the USA skateboarding team at the next Olympics!

 

Leticia Bufoni

Waving Brazil’s flag, the 25-year-old skater has long been considered one of the best female skaters in the world. with four gold X Games gold medals, three of them in the same year and being included in the “Most Influential Women in Sports 2018” list made by Forbes, she is also definitely a consideration for Brazil’s Team for the Olympics.

There you have it my dudes and dudettes, there is no doubt that more and more girls are skating (and have been for a while) so my dude, support your skater dudette and stop thinking of her as “the weaker sex” treat her like an equal and keep an eye out cuz she might be beating you in that next game of S.K.A.T.E!


 

Read also: Top 6 Greatest Female Pro Skaters

Read also: "Betty" The New Skateboarding Series on HBO

 

 

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