Surprise, surprise. Another list of female athletes praised for their “hotness” rather than their athletic skill.
It may not be shocking, but I have to admit this trope is getting a little tiresome, to say the least. Some people in the ski industry share my sentiments. Lynsey Dyer (a pro skier who also happens to be on this list) and Mike Rogge (Author at Powder Magazine) both have some great responses to the article:
I know none of this was personal, I know you were probably trying to hit your numbers to appease your advertisers. I know that when the pressure is on it might be hard to remember that “hits” or “likes” come from people. You may have forgotten that a photo on a computer screen is connected to a living breathing human, just like you. A human, just like you, who is doing their best to live in integrity and authenticity without selling out to the man.
I know there’s a lot of pressure from your competition, who get their page views up by playing to the lowest denominator. This is a pressure every one of us feels at some level. As women we know we can play the “hot” card any time and our number of fans will sky-rocket.
If I wanted to play that game I would have put that picture up myself long ago. Instead, it’s a daily challenge to be true to the person I am striving to be over what I know will get the “likes”. I have a motto that says “Be so damn good they can’t ignore you.” I offer it to you now.
I challenge you to be good Freeskier, be so damn good in your clever posts and progressive photography, in your writing and forward thinking that people can’t help but follow you as a leader. I know it’s not the easy way but I know for fact it is what Freeskier Magazine was founded on back in the day. I challenge you to be the progressive, forward thinking magazine your founder set out to create. The magazine all of us was inspired by and dreamed to be showcased in for our talent.
For a little insight, one of the most progressive trends in skiing today is that of women rising up as legitimate athletes beyond their value as models to sell a product. The ladies are creating their own luck without waiting to be recognized or invited. Many established and up and comers are performing at a higher level, producing their own trips, shoots and content without objectifying themselves though I know it crosses their minds a lot. After all, tha’d be the easy way, but they didn’t fall in love with skiing because it was easy.
Just sayin’…If you’re a dude who might someday genuinely want a girl he can be active with, it’s in your best interest to support women’s skiing for the SKIING over the pin-ups. You’ve known plenty of “hot” girls but finding one you can do stuff outside with, now that’s harder to find. The more we encourage the ladies to participate the more they will feel welcome in this community; directly addressing that ski-town guy-to-girl ratio issue some people like to complain about.… get the picture? Good, can we just go skiing now?
So Donny, maybe you were tired of opening day edits and galleries from outerwear press trips, and that’s why you posted your story but here are a few story angles you could’ve pursued instead. Don’t worry about using these. To paraphrase Lil Wayne, “I got so many of them, I give that shit away for free!” Here goes:
-Ingrid? What hasn’t she done? She’s done so much, in fact, that just this month two other major babes (in a literary sense), Heather Hansman and Megan Michelson, penned excellent features on her many accomplishments, struggles, and victories. This one writes itself. And Ingrid is one of the most professional, kind, and thoughtful people you’ll ever interview. Give her a call.
-Meanwhile, Lynsey Dyer, while never one to shy away from the camera for a bikini photograph, is hard at work on a two-year film project. In talking with her, Lynsey doesn’t want her film to be a “statement” or “women’s issue” silly thing like that. She wants to make a rad ski movie that just happens to have only women in it. I wonder how that’s going? Maybe give her a call. Use the telephone. See what she says. Write it down and post it.
Who knows? Maybe, in your job as a magazine/website editor, you could lend her a hand or put her in touch with good connects. People helping people. It’s an awesome feeling, man, and one that makes me want to work in the ski industry for a long time.
-And while that adorable photo of Caroline Gleich in roller blades is certainly one of her many modeling photos, the December Powder Cover Skier is on her way to the summit of 20,702 foot Chimborazo in Ecuador. That’s the tallest mountain in the country. You’d know that if you did a little research instead of Googling the always terrible Female Pro Skier Name + the word “hot.” I’m actually Googling Ecuador now because I only vaguely have an idea where that country is on a map.
-Keltie Hansen? You mean one of the rising stars in Canada’s already stacked halfpipe program? I wonder what her experience is growing into an Olympic athlete in the shadow of the legendary Sarah Burke?
-Or how about Sierra Quitiquit? Maybe talk to her about what it’s like to be a polarizing figure in a male dominated sport where women struggle to get, really, anything and she’s riding a wave of success in both modeling and skiing? I did, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. Check out mine on ESPN’s Freeskiing page, see what I missed, then make me look like an idiot that doesn’t know how to ask questions.
Okay, that should get you started, Donny.
Well said, on both accounts. As far as progression for women in athletics goes, you have to take the small victories when you can get them. And for every increasingly boring “10 hottest women” lists there are, there are more and more great responses like these, by women and men alike.
As a sidenote, I happened upon an awesome group called She Jumps, a non-profit with the mission of increasing female participation in outdoor activities. Find ’em on Facebook HERE! For more awesome girl power also check out TiTs DEEP, a group of “ladies charging in extreme sports” and Female Wolfpack, Rachel Burk’s website to increase female visibility in action sports.
I actually wrote a whole term paper on this exact topic last year. The rec center at my school had a section of cardio machines (treadmills, stairclimbers, etc.) and all the diagrams showing how to use those machines were women, while the diagrams on the machines in the weight room were men. On top of that, about 95% of the people using the cardio machines were women and about 95% of people in the weight room were men. Basically the thesis of my paper was that men and women are socialized to strive for different body types: men should be big and muscular, while women should be fit, but not too bulky.
This also reminded me of a situation a few months ago when I went to play ping pong at a local gym with my friend (a guy). When I walked in I realized not only was I the only girl there, but that my friend and I were the only ones under 50. I decided to shrug it off and try to enjoy myself anyway. However, as soon as I started playing, one of the men thought he would do me a favor by explaining to me how to play the game correctly. Ok….I’ll admit I’m not a table tennis prodigy, but I’ve played the game more than a few times in my life. And also, it’s fucking ping pong. Get over yourself.
So this guy proceeded to talk his head off to me about all the rules and how I was holding the paddle wrong bla bla bla, and I was just trying to play but he wouldn’t let me. Then that guy had to leave, so I got to play with my friend who I had come with. No more than 2 minutes go by when ANOTHER guy comes up to me, gives me a disapproving look and says “you look like you need help.” I literally did not know how to react and didn’t want to be rude so I said “um….sure.” And he proceeded to explain to me everything I was doing wrong. In the end I had a pretty lame time, didn’t get to play any ping pong and left early. These dudes clearly all thought I was a delicate little lady who’d never played a sport in her life. That whole situation just made it more clear to me how laughable gender stereotypes can be sometimes when it comes sports. Even in a sport like ping pong (sorry, table tennis. They were very clear about there being a huge difference) a sport which has very little to do with muscle mass, I wasn’t taken seriously because I’m a girl. Oh, and my guy friend who I came with didn’t receive any “pointers” like I did, which he was actually kind of miffed about.
Possibly my favorite scene from any movie, ever. Wish it was better quality but it gets the point across
“Members of ‘Throttle Queens’ put last touches to their pride and joy, club coupe which will compete against male-driven car at the San Fernando Drag Strip. From left are Wilma Brown, Pat Marian, Pat Field, the driver, and June Minnich. Car hit 97 miles per hour and won trophy in its division.”
Dated October 9, 1956
[Source: Cool Chicks From History]
By Hampton Stevens
If she wins the Daytona 500 on Sunday, she’ll have earned a bigger victory than any female athlete before her—and could have a bigger cultural impact than almost any athlete, period.
Danica Patrick is already the most important female athlete on the planet. On Sunday she has a chance to become the most important athlete of all time. That’s because Patrick averaged 196.434 mph on her qualifying lap at Daytona International Speedway, becoming the first female driver ever to win the pole position at a major NASCAR event. Before her, the best qualifying spot for a female driver was ninth, a mark set by Janet Guthrie in 1977.
But Patrick didn’t just win the pole. She did it with the fastest lap-time for any racer at Daytona since 1990, covering the 2½-mile track in a blistering 45.817 seconds. Much more significantly, she did it while qualifying for NASCAR’s most important event: the season-opening Daytona 500.
Absurdly, the Daytona 500 is often called “the Super Bowl of racing,” mostly because calling stuff the Super Bowl of anything has become a lazy way to describe any big, glitzy annual event. The Kentucky Derby is a better analogy for the 500 because it’s a race, so more than two teams can win. Better yet, think of the Daytona 500 as more akin to the Masters in golf, at least in terms of prestige and social impact. Like the PGA’s stop in Augusta, Daytona is NASCAR’s richest and most prestigious contest, and no one can truly call themselves a great champion without winning at least one. Also like the Masters, the Daytona 500 has so much cultural currency that whoever wins could dramatically impact the world beyond sports. That is, if the winner happens to not be a white male.
The obvious comparison, then, would be between Patrick to Tiger Woods, who broke racial barriers by succeeding at the Masters. But if Patrick could win the race on Sunday, or any time during her career, it would arguably—depending on whether you think gender or racial equality matters more—be the most socially significant thing to happen in American sports since Jackie Robinson’s integration of baseball, or ever.
There’s no woman close to taking on men at Roland-Garros, Wimbledon, or in the NBA or NFL. Only motorsports offers the chance of gender equality.
At the very least, Patrick winning at Daytona would be the single greatest moment in the history of women in pro sports. She would in many ways have exceeded the accomplishments of any female athlete, ever—be it “Babe” Zaharias, Billie Jean King, or Brandi Chastain.
That’s because the unique nature of motorsports allows Patrick to do what almost every other female athlete can’t: compete equally with men. Due to racing’s heavy reliance on technology, and because winning demands the fairly gender-neutral traits of endurance, eye-hand coordination, reaction time, and courage, Patrick can compete in the same venues, under the same rules, for the same trophies as men. That’s what makes her opportunity so historically unique. No woman has ever done that in a major American sport. Beyond some hype about Michelle Wie a few years ago, there’s never been a female golfer who even threatened to qualify for a men’s PGA event, let alone win a Masters. There’s no woman close to taking on men at Roland-Garros or Wimbledon, let alone competing in the NBA or NFL. Only motorsports offers the chance of gender equality.
(The argument that racing doesn’t count as sport because the drivers rely on fast cars to win is almost unworthy of mention. Suffice it to say that jockeys can’t win without the help of their horses, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t athletes and it certainly doesn’t mean that horseracing isn’t a sport.)
If that chance at equality seems incongruous, given the stereotype of NASCAR as a redneck bastion, you wouldn’t know it from the fans. Trackside or measured by merchandise sales, Patrick is deliriously popular. One season since her jump from the IndyCar Series—where she was the first women to win a race—the 30-year-old is not only a good bet to win NASCAR’s rookie of the year; she is a near-lock to wrest the Most Popular Driver award from Dale Earnhardt Jr., the charismatic son of a legend who has practically owned the title for a decade.
At the track, her popularity is even more evident—especially in the passion from the throngs of young women and girls. They mob her, shriek, beg for autographs and photographs, and proudly wear hats and shirts emblazoned with her name, her image, or the black and day-glo green scheme of her #10 Go Daddy Chevrolet.
Jeff Gordon is one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers, having won the Daytona 500 three times. For Sunday’s race, he qualified second. He described himself as proud to start beside Patrick, and rightfully said her success can only grow the sport. But Gordon’s own five-year-old daughter Ella might have given the most powerful illustration of what Patrick’s accomplishments at Daytona can mean. Until Patrick won the pole, Ella told her dad, she didn’t even know that girls could be racecar drivers too.