Today Cindy Whitehead OG skateboarder and founder of Girl is not a 4 letter word brought to my attention that the leading female surfer and skater elite of young age had been removed from Instagram.
These girls had huge amounts of followers and their accomplishments as athletes are a great inspiration to boys and girls all over the world. As it seems Instagram has shut down the girls’ accounts but not the boys’ to the same extent. There are two problems with this: Firstly it shows our vulnerability to the social media companies. We might lose weeks and years of work and creativity given to our followers. The second problem is that Instagram seems to have targeted the girls.
The social media has made a major change for females in action sports. The skaters themselves can produce and publish pictures and films of themselves and other female skaters. Mahfia TV, Divas Skateras and Girls Assault are great examples.They are no longer dependent on male dominated companies or media for their visibility.
While shutting down a boy’s account is off course a setback for that individual, shutting down a girl’s account means that thousands of boys and girls around the world will see a lot less of girls skating.
The female skateboarders have only recently managed to get through the noise of the mainstream media and reached out through their own social media channels. There are thousands of young boys posting films and pictures all over the internet. However, the girls disappearing in this mysterious and silent way is so discouraging to a group that just over the past two years have become significantly more visible. It reminds me of Margaret Atwood’s ”The Handmaid’s Tale” where suddenly and silently all the money owned by women was confiscated.
These young athletes’ parents work hard to build the brands of their children in order to increase their chances of developing their skills. To the rest of us, these kids are an inspiration. My children see little girls skating. That was unheard of when I grew up. Female skaters are few in the small town where we live. We barely have a handful of beginner girl skaters. Because of these films my sons never reflect that the skater they see is a girl. Because of these films my daughter has the chance of seeing a female her own age skating. We need these kids back on Insta. Most of the parents start again from scratch. But Instagram should show some decency and give back the original accounts with their pictures, films and tens of thousands of followers.
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by Cindy Whitehead.