June has been an unusually awesome month for letters to the editor, and I expect that trend to continue as the month goes on. Below, you’ll find a compilation of the best of the bunch; we’ll add to the tally as more letters come in:
I wanted to send you a note about a PSA I saw on the ES website. It features a female skater and reads “If she can do it, why can’t you…? This has been a public service announcement brought to you by the guys (not the girls!) at Everything Skateboarding.”
I wanted to let you that it comes off as mildly offensive and pretty misogynistic. It implies that “if this silly GIRL can skate, then you can too, because you’re a man, and you’re better/more skilled than her.”
I totally understand that this may not have been the intended message. It could be targeted at women, trying to encourage them to skate. But I don’t think the message comes across right, and I wanted to bring it to your attention.
For anyone that might be confused right now: a few weeks back, I found the old “If She Can Do It, So Can You” Public Service Announcements (PSAs) in the Everything Skateboarding archives. These date from 2009 or 2010 (I forget, exactly), back when Everything Skateboarding was still “The Solitary Life”, and were pretty popular on the ‘ol blog (which, thanks to Photobucket deciding not to hold my photos hostage any longer, you can now see here).
Excited to happen across the originals, I pulled out the old art, re-worked it to suit the new site format, and hung one of them up among the advertisements. The original PSAs… the ones I could find, at least… are below:
C’s guess that “It could be targeted at women, trying to encourage them to skate” is actually remarkably spot-on. That message is indeed aimed at girls. Thus, “If this female skater can do it, then you (as a younger female skater) can certainly do it too!” It is a show of solidarity toward women that may want to break into this male-dominated pastime of ours.
I picked historical photos to illustrate that women/girls have actually been involved in skateboarding for decades. So, having them as part of our pastime is completely normal, and nothing “new” at all.
The old blog staff included myself, AJ Kohn, Ron “Fatboy” Barbagallo, Daniel Gesmer, Michael Brooke, and Keith Gillogly- all guys with long-standing records of encouraging women to skate, and of encouraging our fellow guys to encourage the ladies. The fact that the guys are supporting the girls, and are encouraging other guys to follow our lead, is thus the point of the smaller tagline.
All apologies for any offense caused. I hope this makes abundantly clear that none was intended, and clarifies the point and the purpose behind it.
I’ll be reworking the PSAs soon enough, so that will give me a chance to eliminate any ambiguities. -B.
Just wanted to drop a line to say thank you for this very well written article (“Weathering The Shitstorm, The Jason Jessee Controversy”). I specially loved when you brought up Hosoi as an example. When I heard The Nine Club episode (loved that episode), his explanation of the rising sun graphic made me proud to be a man in his 40’s who is still trying to skateboard. Just as reading your article made me proud to be a skateboarder!
Thanks again, and best of luck! -JM
I was very proud to be a skater in that moment, too. If anybody wants to see for themselves what JM and I are talking about, the link to The Nine Club Episode 77: Christian Hosoi can be seen here. Thanks for the letter! I appreciate it. -B.
Thank you. -anonymous
Why, you’re welcome. Not sure what you’re thanking me for, exactly… but whatever it is, you’re definitely welcome. (I suspect it was in relation to the same “Weathering The Shitstorm, The Jason Jessee Controversy” article that the previous letter-writer was responding to) -B.