Teenage Girl Criticises Popular Surfing Magazine ‘Tracks’ For Sexism
A 13-year-old girl has hit out at a popular Australian surfing magazine for the sexist way it portrays women.
Keen surfer Olive Bowers was shocked at the lack of female athletes in a recent edition of ‘Tracks’ magazine – which pictured just one woman who “wasn’t even surfing, or even remotely near a beach” – and decided to write a strongly-worded letter to the editor.
According to news.com.au, Olive found the magazine’s website to be even bleaker, with pictures of “naked, non-surfing girls” only.
READ THE LETTER IN FULL BELOW
The editor has not yet responded to the letter, but Olive hopes that continued coverage will draw attention to the issue.
This is not the first time the sport has come under fire for it’s sexist representation of female surfers. In 2013 Hawaiian pro-surfer Anastasia Ashley pointed out that most headlines about female competitors focused on their looks rather than their accomplishments in the water.
A recent Roxy surf wear campaign has also been criticised for filming world champion Stephanie Gilmore in her bed, checking her phone and getting dressed – but not once surfing.
It’s also no secret that male surfers win more prize money than female surfers, as is often the case in professional sports.
See Olive’s full letter here, originally published on news.com.au:
Dear Tracks Surf Magazine,
I want to bluntly address the way you represent women in your magazine. I am a surfer, my dad surfs and my brother has just started surfing.
Reading a Tracks magazine I found at my friend’s holiday house, the only photo of a woman I could find was ”Girl of the month”. She wasn’t surfing or even remotely near a beach. Since then I have seen some footage of Stephanie Gilmore surfing on your website, but that’s barely a start.
I clicked on your web page titled ”Girls” hoping I might find some women surfers and what they were up to, but it entered into pages and pages of semi-naked, non-surfing girls.
These images create a culture in which boys, men and even girls reading your magazine will think that all girls are valued for is their appearance.
My posse of female surfers and I are going to spread the word and refuse to purchase or promote Tracks magazine. It’s a shame that you can’t see the benefits of an inclusive surf culture that in fact, would add a whole lot of numbers to your subscription list.
I urge you to give much more coverage to the exciting women surfers out there, not just scantily clad women (who may be great on the waves, but we’ll never know).
I would subscribe to your magazine if only I felt that women were valued as athletes instead of dolls. This change would only bring good.