My local skate scene and how to promote female skaters part 3: The young men twenty to thirty years old
There are basically two fractions of this age group: there is one group of guys who seem to be born and bred in this town and who seem to have skated together for years. They are a hipster crew of classic street skaters who love making videos where they drink beer and have fun together. I’m not sure but I think our local pro was originally part of this group. This is a closed crew and they generally ignore women or girls. However if I meet some of them skating alone they might at least say hello and goodbye.
The other fraction are young men who moved here as students or started skating together as young adults. They are polite and include most people in their conversations as well as their skating. Several of these have also been coaches at the girl skate sessions and they know many female skaters by name.
This is what I suggest the young men in the skate parks in my home town should do to make life easier for female skaters:
My local skate scene and how to promote female skaters part 2. The older teens (those who can vote and drink beer).
This is the crew that feel a need to show society that they don’t care. They need to try all boundaries and still want to be seen as grown ups. One day they are nice and polite and you can have decent conversation with them. The next day they skate with no consideration to others and scream constantly. The kind of swearwords I hear from this lot is worse than I ever hear, and I swear a lot myself. They only swear when they are really mad with themselves but the words are too strong and often involve expressions derogatory to the female gender. I was so personally offended the first time I heard that kind of word in the indoor park being the only female present. Now I have got used to it, but frankly, that is not something we can expect young women and girls to get used to.
If a girl their own age turns up skating they ignore her. They care nothing at all about the fact that no females are seen in our skating community. It took most of them at least six months before they started saying hello to me. These guys only take care of themselves. They expect the municipality to serve them skating opportunities and they don’t care the least that this opportunity is not open in an equal way for girls and women.
I suggest the following change in behavior for this group:
My local skate scene and how to promote female skaters part 1. The early teens and pre teens
The early teen crew are frequent skaters and skate for hours and hours. They are the same age as the scooterist crew but they never communicate with those guys unless it is to tell the scooterists that they don’t have the right to wear skateboarding clothes. They ignore female skaters their own ange or kindly ask them to move out of the way. They respect me as a ”mom”. They know when I say something important and they protest vividly when I say something political like ”don’t cross that border that the girl’s trainer has put up in order for you to stay away when the girls have a skate lesson”.
What they could do to change the scene is to bring their girl friends from school or elsewhere to the skate park to try out skating. They could recognize skating girls their own age by saying hello and introducing themselves. It would also help if they actively helped younger girls in the same way that they do with younger boys. Being in the skate park with little boys and girls I see the difference in attention that my little boys get.
What people outside skateboarding are quite unaware of is that there is rarely any grown ups guiding these kids. They do their thing independently and no one gives them rules or codes of conduct. They imitate older skaters but they don’t have to obey anyone. So for this group to change their behavior we would need a significant change in the behavior of older teens.
This is what I teach my sons: to impress girls and women you should be kind, listen to what they say and laugh at their jokes. Women are so used to not being listened too that they will immediately be impressed if you do. I would be very content if I could teach my local skateboarding community the same thing.
In some following blog posts I will describe my local skate scene and give you a picture of what different groups could do to change the scene for female skaters locally. What if the majority took active part in promoting women in skateboarding? Not merely said hello and tried not to collide with them. Or worst of all tried to impress them by shouting loudly and skating dangerously. The groups that I will describe are:
Today I will start out with the pre teens and what they could do to promote girls in the local skateboarding scene.
Today I skated in an indoor park filled with adolescent boys. I know most of them by now and they kind of accept that i shout out for them to shut up when they are too loud. If I would see myself as a teenage girl among those loud and wild young men I would certainly not have told them off in any way. I would probably have been shy and intimidated.
Mostly when I skate I skate with men and boys of all ages. In the beginning I felt really lonely. No one talked to me and most of them didn’t even say hello. After having skated for half a year I took three of my children skating the evening before our Christmas eve. The indoor skate park was almost empty but a hand full of male skaters of ages 17 to 35 enjoyed the peace and quiet before that grand holiday. When we left one of the young guys surprised me by saying the simple “Merry Christmas!”. I was very happy.
Since then I have found some nice ladies to skate with and I have also spent many late evenings skating with the grown ups in the indoor park. After having met up with the old-boys skating group several times by chance me and my friend Maria were finally invited to join the “old-boys” skating group. One brave man made the decision to stop calling the group “old-boys” and to include the two of us. I am glad to finally have a couple of skater friends my own age.
Men and boys of the skateboarding community you can change your local scene by including the skating girls and women and by encouraging your non skating female friends to join you skating, not just watching. I’m not really sure if I can call these old-boys my homies, but at least I have one homie in my old-boy friend Maria.