I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for Oakley’s Snowboarding: For Me airing on ABC tomorrow. At the same time, I’m totally okay missing it due to the lack of ladies in the film. Oakley has female snowboarders on its team, and while I understand that not everybody can be featured, the documentary approach of the movie make it seem like a glimpse of the community. Except it doesn’t show any of the top female riders, who deserve as much air time. Moreover seeing a female face will inspire young girls to pick up snowboarding (and companies like Oakley will profit from the new cusstomers).
This makes me thankful that snowboarding has individuals like Danyale Patterson, “Queen of the Too Hard Empire”. As stated in her recently funded Kickstarter, her Too Hard series is “a [women’s] snowboard project completely run by women snowboarders”. Danyale and the other JibGurlz prove that female riders aren’t timid, and they are willing to take matter into their own hands to make their own movies. Here is the latest, Too Hard: Tres Hard.
For something that delves more into the mind and lives of female snowboarders, there is Burton’s 2013 WOMEN [SNOWBOARDING]. This is what I imagined Snowboarding: For Me would be like if it consisted of all women although the film does not go nearly as deep in the commentary as I would have liked. It could have had the riders talk more about their inspirations, their struggles, and their goals and less about being “one of the guys”. While that may be the reality of snowboarding and equality is what feminism is about, we don’t want girls to think that they need to hang with the guys or have their approval (just look at the Jib Gurlz). Nevertheless, I’m glad Burton attempted to put the spotlight on their female riders (next time, maybe they could get a full length feature?).
I’m sad that both of these films are under half an hour and will not get the exposure that Snowboarding: For Me will get. Their existence, however, is a shining beacon for feminism in action sports. The women are doing stuff—great stuff—in terms of riding hard, getting it recorded, put out there. We’re hearing their voices, and hopefully more of that will happen in the future because snowboarding is for everyone.