An open letter to girls

Today I’ve got a message from someone was offended by my comment ‘duhh’ behind the girls competition explanation. This comment I placed there because it was kind of obvious that a girls competition is for girls. And to be honest the thought that it would mean anything else made me angry. The first time I have been angry during 5 years of organizing SYCLD. You know why? I’m done with the ‘girls’ issue.

After years of debating the girls competition within SYCLD and the pressure put on organizers like me to treat girls ‘special’ .. it’s time for me to open my mouth. I am a girl (yes really). I know many girls competing in action sports. I know girls who compete in less good circumstances and are sponsored or not sponsored because of the shape their ass. I know girls who are not taken seriously, who have to fight and fight hard to make themselves seen, heard and to be a role model for a new generation of girls who have to grow up with the knowledge that girls can kick serious ass. I hate the video’s where girls just walk around in a bikini and guys are doing the badass tricks. This is the reality of being a girl in by boys dominated scenes and it sucks. And there has to be a change. By showing what girls are capable of and making people aware when this is not seen. But not by positive discrimination, by equality in respect and by giving both sexes equal chances. Girls who make a difference are girls who kick ass, who show their skills and wisdom, who address when facts are ‘against’ them but who are not searching for discrimination where there is none. Because interpreting things as showing that girls are treated as less, is showing exactly that you feel like this. By expecting that girls have more chances than guys because they are girls, is maybe even worse than having girls fight harder. Yes, let my head be bitten off by saying this.

Within the longboard dance scene I see beautiful video’s of female riders, I see guys being supportive of female riders.. Myself, I see no discrimination.. Yes of course men would always like to see girls in short pants tucking while they bomb a hill.. but well, can you really blame them, guys are wired that way (guys, please no offence). And yes it’s good to be made aware of this when it does affect sports. And yes with everything we have to ask ourselves, would we expect the same from guys (valuing looks more than skills for example) and would we ask the same questions in interviews? And is the girls competition prime time or when less people will be watching? And all the things that are still not ok. But the awareness is growing within action sports because of all the women who make sure that guys go silent in awe. There are things changing within action sports, slowly but surely.

But discrimination of women within ‘my’ SYCLD?? What?? I’m a girl, I have experienced my share of being treated totally different because I’m a girl (and small and blonde) and having bosses say in my face I could not become the manager because I was a girl. Worked for years in work places where I was the first and only girl.. trust me, I know what discrimination looks and feels like. And you know what? In the end it helped me to be better and fight harder because that is what makes the difference. And it did. Taking waves guys just effortlessly paddle into may take going to the gym 5 days a week to lift weights, but my reward is to be double happy when I can lift more than the guys. I just suck it up that I don’t have balls and go for small waves on my longboard instead of diving fearless into big steep barrels (although maybe being a girl is not even a good excuse because there are many girls who rip fearlessly). I’m happy to just admit to that and that I’m not a boy who is called ‘pussy’ by his male friends. I love being a girl and thankful when I get tips from the guys. How they look out for me, because I’m a girl maybe, but even so, how is that a bad thing? I do love to hang out with my female friends who also kite and surf and am amazed even more when I see a woman doing kick ass things than when I see a guy doing the same. Because yes, physically women will always be less strong when both sexes reach their max. And I believe women mostly have no ‘one track mind’ .. at least I think about all the variables and possibilities of what can happen and see men a lot of the time just ‘do’.. super jealous of that. More fearless maybe, more focused, more quickly in the flow? So yes, within many sports disciplines it’s good to have separate competitions.

BUT.. within longboard dance I think women also have advantages and I’d rather put effort in developing this sport in a way that grace and style is valued. The grace and style that for many women comes easier than for men. I believe in the power and ability of women. Maybe because I’m surrounded by so many kick ass girls within the other sports I do and I hope this will be(come) the same for many more girls.

I believe when it comes to flatland disciplines in longboarding balls are no necessity and the strength that is needed can also be reached by women. I believe that to ban discrimination you have to not put energy into it. Put energy in the positive, if you feel discriminated make it fuel you to show the opposite. Use it. If you think like a victim of discrimination you will become one.

Maybe some girls will hate me for displaying myself as ‘look at me, I can do it and rise above’ but mind you, I’m not really talented within any boardsports, so I’m just saying, if I can rise above feeling like ‘just a girl’, 99% of you surely can!

I’m not against organizing a Girl competition as long as there is still a difference for whatever what reason. But I hope one day all girls will apply in the mixed competitions, I really do. Maybe longboard dance will develop in a way that the maximum in strength and testosterone needed will be reached, who knows? Then there has to be a separate competition for men and women. But now I’m not convinced that it’s going to develop in this way.

Girls, I’d like you to think about how the challenge of being a girl and the benefits of being a girl can work for FOR you. Think positive.

Thanks to the one girl who has send me the message earlier, you made me write this and I hope this will be a good thing for all of us. And please, don’t take this post to start an ongoing discussion about girls and discrimination. I’m going to spend my time to organize SYCLD and I hope all who are reading this will go and spend their time skating and enjoying themselves. Be happy, be positive and make this a great edition yet again! Negativity should have no place in this event. I will never discriminate against (or for) any girl or guy, let that be clear. Love you all! kisses Bianca

(P.S. the picture is from the No Doubt video, with a wink)