That has been my question since I was 13. Sex sells. The media only puts out what will sell, but I don't want to sell sex. I became paranoid about sexuality. I have never even kissed a boy skier on the professional tour. I put up the walls that I was a friend, not a girlfriend. I turned down posing for playboy in LA. Did anyone know? No. Did I get credit for turning that down? No. Do I make money just as a skier when I was ranked 2nd Overall in the world? No. Did I dabble in that direction? Yes. Girls can be girlfriends, wear heels and short dresses, go to skateparks, we don't have to limit ourselves. We can be beautiful girls who go to the skatepark and then glam up and go to a super fancy dinner. We want to be professional athletes and sell stories and beauty not sex.
My dabbling into ski/sex sells
I have absolutely nothing against you if you go in the sexual direction. We are all female athletes, and none of us make as much as the men so the only thing you have that men don't is boobs, so it makes you really want to sell that. But I was taught so strongly not to use sex to sell by my mom that I could't go in that direction. But as a girl in sports, I know first hand how impossible it is to make the money you need.
But if sex sells and you don't want to sell sex what do you do? That's where I believe the industry plays a big part. People are attracted to what turns them on- either emotionally or physically. If you don't want to go in the physical direction try emotional. How? Tell stories. Attach the public to athletes in the competition. Tell the athletes' stories, and take beautiful pictures. Run clapping games and kiss cams for the crowd. Interview and tell women's fascinating stories. Let's face it, in park skiing women will hit 22 foot pipes, go off 90 foot jumps, and risk their whole lives for a purpose they believe in. Who cares if they don't do the same tricks as boys?
Jeanee at Dew Tour Halfpipe
Remember if you are calculating the degree of difficulty as everything it took to accomplish that trick then remember to add in dealing with all the negative voices inside your head, leaving all your girl friends to go pursue a sport not many girls do, getting free gear but little money from sponsors, being hazed growing up in a male dominated sport, being uncomfortable with being a girly girl and hitting 100 foot jumps doing double backflips.
I love the boys I am surrounded by in the action sports industry. I do not think women are better then men, but I don't think men are better then women. I frequently hear boys complaining, "I would make X-Games as a girl skier, it's so easy". But you are not a girl skier, so you do not know if you would. And it is not easy.
Jamie flipping off a box at PC Grand Prix.
So what do we need to do? Tell more stories about the athletes. Talk about Marie's child, singing "I'm in love with the Coco" with Coline because her nickname is Coco. Interview girls. Thank you SBC for creating a "ladies of free skiing" Facebook group so we can all connect. Thank you Freeskier for hiring a female social media coordinator and starting to break down the sexism in action sports. If you are not interested in attracting below the pants, then attract above the pants. Pull at heart strings and have something to sell. Sell beauty not sex.
Volunteer at non-profits. Write blogs. Make cute, not sexual pictures. Do marketing or sales for companies when you aren't training. I don't really have a full solution. I am struggling with the financial aspect of living the life I want to live. Of having 32DDD breasts and not allowing them to be shown. I am struggling with this. I won't change my standards, but don't have to be paranoid either. If I do want to take pictures that are beautiful and turn a boy on, well I'm not feeling paranoid anymore, but I do have a story, something to sell that pulls on heart strings not pant strings.