No room for women in skateboarding

we competed in 2010 too...

No Pool Party, No Dew Tour, No X Games, No Maloof, No coverage by the skateboard media. Women’s vert and transition skateboarding seems to have been dismissed by the skateboarding industry.

Although I’m very grateful that we have been granted our very own combi contest, which turned out to be a great event last Fall, Vans and Protec seems to have made it clear that it is not worthy of being associated with the prestige of the Protec Pool Party as they unveiled the 2010 winners banner. Each preceeding banner lists the winners from the Men’s, Masters’ and Women’s divisions. However, this year’s banner has a blank space where the Women’s winner used to be listed. Ironically enough, the 2010 women’s combi contest has been the strongest showing in terms of numbers of competitors and the level of skating. And yet, it remains unacknowledged. Seeing as Vans has recently eliminated their girls’ skate team, this adds insult to injury.

Lizzie Armanto skates this pool with technical precision and grace. I have half a mind to go spray paint her name on the banner where it rightfully belongs. photo:JCB

Last week, ESPN made it clear that women’s vert and superpark will no longer be divisions in the X-Games. Seeing as Dew Tour has omitted women’s vert this year and Maloof has done little more than hint at the possibility of inclusion, there are virtually no women’s vert contests. We too want to feel the sense of accomplishment, joy and even purpose that comes with successfully finishing a polished run despite unnerving contest jitters.

Gaby Ponce, winner of last year's X-Games, photo: JCB

I’m not blind to the difference in levels between the divisions, but what I have experienced firsthand is the recent spike in the level and numbers of women and girls who skate. And somehow this too remains unacknowledged.

Although I have constantly felt more than welcome into many fun, high-energy sessions with great guys and pros who I’ve looked up to for the past decade, this series of news connotes the concept that women skateboarders are not truly a part of the world of coping and concrete that we have come to love.
We, too, are immersed and committed to the skateboarding community. But the media continues to convey the idea that our place in skateboarding is limited to cheering the boys on as they have all of the fun or scantily clad and posing suggestively in advertisements for wheels.

It’s time to look outside of the current skateboarding industry and start composing our own events.

26 Responses to “No room for women in skateboarding”

  1. Doug Owens

    Amelia,

    Thank you for bring awareness to this situation. Truly sad since skateboarding has always been for everyone. Exclusion is anti-skateboarding. Keep pushing skateboarding forward and if they won’t promote then it is time to seek sponsorship in other areas. From a sales and marketing point of view the womens market is incredible.

    Reply
    • Clarkie

      The Roller Derby girls did it on their own without endorsing unhealthy drinks and sweat shops, so can skaters!

      Reply
  2. Juli Powell

    Thank you Amelia for the shout out! As you point out the population of girls who are skateboarding is growing and the new talent is amazing. Vans, Dew tour, X-Games, and Maloof are all extremely short sighted and will rue the day they dropped this category. :0

    It definitely opens up new opportunities to promote girls in skateboarding and find ways to get the recognition they deserve. Now is a good time for the Action Sports Alliance to work on the next steps to global support of woman’s skateboarding.http://www.actionsportsalliance.com/

    Reply
  3. Alyssa Kai Downer

    Amelia, this article is absolutely powerful. I am in complete awe of this news and I think it is time that we girls stand up and get their attention. We need to get some major events going. Show that we can skate with the “big boys.”

    Reply
  4. GRO

    gro is starting this year off with a contest series for street, coast to coast for the ladies of skate. Looking to 2012, there are already plans to incorporate vert events as well as some great pro events focused entirely on females!

    Amelia, is right. It is time for the girls to do for the girls.

    And here at gro we already have the ball rolling. If you have any comments, ideas or feelings about what you want to see, please email your thoughts to courtney.gro@gmail.com. We are here and listening!

    Reply
  5. Judi Oyama

    Great article Amelia. It does get better you just have to push. It is a bummer that women skateboarders still have to fight. The level of skateboarding at the Women’s Protec Pool Party was amazing. Hang in there. No does not mean NO.

    Reply
  6. Paul Wis

    CB was the only one to compete in the ProTec Pool Party and she didn’t win so that’s why her name is not on that banner. The Women have the Vans Women’s Classic which they are holding again this year in November. Vans has been supporting skateboarding like no other brand, so you need to give credit where it’s deserved and point your frustration toward those who are guilty of not supporting women in skateboarding.

    Reply
    • ameliabrodka

      You make some great points Paul. Vans has been there for skateboarding since ’66 and they have a phenomenal team and shoe line. I defintely appreciate all that vans has done for skateboarding. Steve van doren still happily flips burgers for everyone, even at the girls combi contest. As far as that goes, we were told that our contest would be the equivalent of the pool party, just on a different day. But that has been invalidated by the omission from the sign. I’m sure you’ve skated the combi with Lizzie, I hope that you can agree thather talent and grace in that beastly bowdegas earned her the priviledge to have her name on there too. Also, it’s hard to accept the fact that despite vans’ company image as the classic authentic skate company, they choose to use models instead of skateboarders to promote their women’s skate line. They are selling a skate lifestyle after all…

      Reply
  7. Jim Gray

    Love you Amelia, tell it like it is and stay passionate. The girls deserve their own recognition and acceptance… Girls need to get creative and find the money. It’s all about money when it comes right down to it. There has to be enough brands deep into world of girls that someone can cough up some cash to make some proper girls events take place. When it’s built and solid there are a ton of people trying to cash in, but when something still need building and requires investment and commitment, it is much harder to get someone with the passion and the cash to make it happen, but it is possible, and you just need to keep the fire lit… I am proud of you Amelia….

    Reply
  8. Protec Pool Party « Skate and Annoy

    […] his tendency to “halfpipe It” instead of scoping out pool-ish lines. Also of interest, Amelia Brodka noticed that last year’s female winner Lizzie Armanto (see photo by JCB) was inexplicably […]

    Reply
  9. Clara

    Great article. This is a really powerful message, and I hope it gets out to more people.

    Reply
  10. Nicole

    Amelia is right, there is no reason Lizzie should not have her name up!

    And others are right too! We need to start our own events!

    GRO is doing that this summer, traveling across the country, teaching girls to skate and putting on am street contests at many locations, so check it out and come support the girls!🙂

    http://girlsriders.org/?page_id=9661

    Reply
  11. GracieBails

    I am an 11 year old girl skater and it has been my dream to skate the X Games for as long as I can remember. I WILL get there one day, there’s a new generation of girl skaters out there and we will not be ignored! We will Prevail! If I can’t compete against other girls… bring on the boys, I’ve been beating them since I was 6! THERE IS A PLACE FOR WOMEN IN SKATEBOARDING.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marion-OH/Gracie-Bails/208355132522444

    Reply
  12. David

    Really appreciate you airing this issue – my town in Vermont is building a poured concrete park and we are committed to making it accessible to women. My first inclination was to lobby for specific times of day (or days) to be set aside for women to skate….but that feels exclusionary and separates skaters….feels like we need to foster and promote a culture of shared spaces, mutual respect, and acceptance of al skaters (bladers, bmxers, etc).
    I appreciate any feedback readers might have, here or on our site http://www.brattleboroskatepark.com or on Facebook (search BASIC brattleboro)
    Thanks,
    David

    Reply
  13. Arunk

    I understand that this post is old but I know that women definitely deserve equal participation in skateboarding and I am very much hopeful about that.

    Reply
  14. Greg

    Thanks Amelia! Anything that promotes females in skateboarding is fantastic! My wife and daughter are skateboarding and I find that they are always welcomed and supported by the community (much better than my 2 sons who have both experienced bullying at the skatepark).

    I don’t think you need to feel too bad about being left off X-games and such, as these are commercial ventures and don’t need to be representative of skateboarding. These events are designed to exploit the talent of athletes to sell sunglasses, sports drinks, shoes etc., rather than promote the sport to the masses. Skateboarding should be about so much more than mere commercialism.

    Keep up the great work! I hope to see more females on a board in the future.

    Reply
  15. StreetWarrior

    I am a fan of women’s skateboarding. However I couldn’t help but notice the differences in skill levels between the sexes. I posted this comment on Marisa dal Santo’s part in Strange World. I said, “As solid as this video part from the lovely GnarMar is, I can’t help but think that if this were a dude, it would’ve been forgotten. Image if you saw a chick skating like Joey Brezinski, or if Dane Burman’s part or Brockman’s part was a done by female, imagine how mad you all would be going? Let me put it to you this way: @ X Games 17, Mar did a b/s Crook on the rail. The judges were stoked. Nyjah did a Kickflip BackLip, it was mildly impressive (to them. I loved it) What if Mar did that? Why not?”
    Some responded to me by saying that Marisa’s trick was harder because she’s a girl. I disagree with that because I believe women can do anything men can do. Look at Maria Sharapova or Williams sisters!
    I think I have a solution to this issue. Let women skate along side men in contests. This will mean that the girls will have to step their level of skating in order to finish well. And they’ll have equal coverage to men since they’re all skating together. Everyone wins. I would to read your views on this fascinating topic so please respond. Thanks

    Reply
  16. Val K

    Like the women’s movement’s 3 step process of progress, I feel that this scene will too have its own version of a women’s movement. The 70’s were about rebellion, the 90’s were about street style, now its time for this generation to be all about the women!

    SHRED ON LADIES

    Reply

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