Skateboarding is a hobby I picked up a few years ago to get out of my comfort zone, improve my physical health, and spend more time outside. Something I wasn’t prepared for when first joining the skate community was how intensely male-dominated skate parks are and the ridicule I’d receive just for being a beginning girl skater. I currently work for the online platform Withitgirl which serves to amplify the voices, visions, and ideas of women in surf, skate, action sports, and creative cultures. We have collaborated with female-led surf and skate collectives from around the world as well as popular brands such as Vans. When challenged with the task of creating a zine highlighting a feminist collective in another country that integrates the topics we discussed in this course as well as my own passions, my mind went directly to researching a female-led skate collective.
My zine highlights the impact Girl Skate India has had on girls and women in India and discusses topics ranging from feminine self-expression to women's health and wellness. It focuses on the achievements of India’s first female skateboarder, Atita Verghese, who has gone on to lead the Girl Skate India collective in national and international skate tours as well as educational workshops for hundreds of girls and women around the country (Vans). Like many of the stories expressing intergenerational feminine trauma from radical women of color in This Bridge Called My Back, Verghese was motivated to challenge Indian gender stereotypes by adopting skate style and culture after hearing stories of her own mother’s ridicule for preferring non-traditional fashion (Lo, 2017). Ultimately, the rise in popularity of women’s skateboarding in India has empowered girls to improve their physical and mental health, challenged gender norms around mobility and access to public spaces, and helped girls develop a sense of ownership over their bodies (GlobalGiving).
“Empower Girls in India through Sports.” GlobalGiving
“Gender Discrimination in India (6 Major Causes).” Your Article Library, 21 Mar. 2015
“Gender Equality.” UNICEF India
“Girls Skate: Collections.” Vans EU
Koenigsberg, Adrian. “Meet India's Girl Skateboarders.” Quell Skateboarding, Quell Skateboarding, 14 Dec. 2021
Lo, Andrea. “Atita Verghese: India's First Female pro Skateboarder.” CNN, Cable News Network, 15 Sept. 2017
Zhu, Eva. “Sexism, Bullying and Growth: A Look inside How Women and Queer Folk Fare in the Skateboarding Community.” Western Journalism Studio, 25 July 2020
Marian Walker is an environmentalist, artist, and fan of all things with boards, wheels, or both! As a part of the Withitgirl team, she hopes to channel her creative energy into fun pieces for the collaborative!
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