Sophia Llewellyn Septmeber 18, 2018GENDER EQUALITY
Skating Out Of The Kitchen
"Biological differences aside, shouldn’t all individuals be just that; individuals?"
When I went to visit the popular skater’s spot Macba in Barcelona, there were never any girls on a board.
Sitting against a wall eating an apple, I’d scan the open plaza searching. Bare chests, sweaty beards, long limbs, cigarettes dangling; the whole place was filled with cool-cat dudes. There were a few women sitting around but their role seemed set in stone; to watch the able-bodied, skater men. Where were the girls? It made me want to grab a board myself and just give it a go for the sake of balancing out the genders. Surely girls were able to ride a board as good as they could.
When Crystal Moselle’s feature film Skate Kitchen was playing at the Sydney Film Festival last week, I along with many others flocked to the Dendy Cinema in Newtown. Variety’s Andrew Barker said the film “has plenty to say about the lengths to which young women must go to clear out a little breathing room in testosterone-heavy spaces.” The film spoke to the male-dominated world of skating where women literally have to fight their way into the skate park to ride their board. Despite some societies having progressed in terms of gender equality, there is still much to be done at an everyday level. When you watch the world cup, the industry is overwhelmingly dominated by males. Surfing can be the same. The odd girl or two joins the male pack sitting out the back on a Friday morning.
Skate Kitchen explores the world of skating through a female lens in an evocative and interesting way, helping one to understand how raw and ugly distances still exist between males and females. The film follows protagonist Camille and her journey through adolescence and skating in New York City. Experimenting with all the usual fun wonders of teenage life, Camille comes to realise there is a great barrier to her being able to skate freely as a result of her gender. When a guy brings her along one night to join his all-male pack of skaters, a friend asks immediately if she’ll be able to keep up and doubts her ability. She proves herself in the end and seems accepted amongst the boys as she skates at the same level as them but the fact her ability is questioned due to her gender is simply ridiculous.