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Sexism and Skateboarding

Viviana Gomez-Morales is a member of Nefarious; an all-female skate crew based in London, who are defying gender stereotypes

I grew up rollerblading and had always wanted to try skateboarding. I remember being 8 years old and begging my mum for a board, but it wasn’t until last year that I decided to buy one and give it a go.

I’m a freelance photographer and member of Nefarious, an all-female skate crew based in London, who are fuelled on pizza and caffeine. Some of the girls have been skating for a few years, while some of us have only been skating less than a year. The group came together after my friend Celine and I first met at the skate park. I remember feeling really shy and nervous about being there as I had just started, but she held my hand and taught me how to go down banks. As the weeks went on, we started meeting more and more girl skaters, and from there 3 girls turned into a crew of almost 20.

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The skateboarding scene is very heavily male-dominated, so it’s important to show people that we’re here trying to break down the barriers and gender stereotypes that come with being a female skater. I don’t think skateboarding is masculine, I just think that, for whatever reason, it’s become more of a boys club.

When skateboarding first started out, it was actually girls that were dominating the sport. Brands quickly picked up on the popularity of the sport, and started to pitch the scene more towards boys, and so girls were kind of pushed out. However, the female skate scene is starting to grow, and there are brands such a Rogue, Meow and Hoopla that are shining a light on the scene and helping to change people’s perceptions and attitudes towards female skaters. 

I hope that as the scene continues to grow, more women are inspired to get out there and try it. I find it so annoying that as women, we get asked about our reasons for skating in a way that men never would. And yes, unfortunately sometimes we do get the odd stupid, sexist remark, but most of the time these comments are coming from men outside of the the skate community. We ignore any remarks made and just continue to skate. Guys I’ve met at the skate park are usually really supportive and encouraging, and are stoked to see that the girl skate scene is growing.

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To me skateboarding is freedom. There’s no better feeling than skating down the street with my girls. Every time I’m out skating, I forget about everything; all my stresses and any worries, they all just go away. I’ve met some amazing people through skating and have definitely made some friends for life.

If I could go back in time I would tell myself to not be scared about what other people think; there were so many activities I wanted to try out when I was younger, but I let my lack of confidence and insecurities get the better of me. It wasn’t until I reached my late teens/early twenties that I realised that if I wanted to do something I had to go out there and do it myself. Don’t ever be afraid to do the things you love; just because a career or a hobby appears to be male dominated, it doesn’t mean there aren’t any girls out there doing it. Take a sibling or a buddy with you if it makes you feel more confident, or take the chance and go alone. You will always connect with people that share the same passion as you. Don’t let your insecurities stop you in your tracks. Go out there and give it a go.

Written by Viviana Gomez-Morales

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