Sophomore talks about being a female skater in the male-dominated skating world

Sophomore+Lucy+Langerveld+poses+with+her+skateboard.+She+has+been+skating+for+a+little+over+a+year.

Credit: Anna Langerveld

Sophomore Lucy Langerveld poses with her skateboard. She has been skating for a little over a year.

Lucie Russell, Instagram Team

When sophomore Lucy Langerveld watched a movie called “Skate Kitchen,” which showcases a group of skater girls in New York City, she was inspired to pick up skateboarding because she was seeking an activity and also a sense of community and friendship. 

According to the website Skate Review, 77.1% of skaters are men, whereas 23.9% are women. This imbalance can cause many problems in the skating community, ranging from indifference to sexist comments and even lewd behavior.  At skateparks where women are a minority, they may not feel comfortable taking up space to practice or asking for help to learn. 

Langerveld agrees that the local skating community is very male-dominated and because of that she tries to talk to other women about the subject. She has found that many women are nervous about starting to skate.  “It just feels very hard to break into that and find someone to help you learn,” said Langerveld. 

Langerveld also said that the main Portage skatepark is very male-dominated and that there is an obvious clique there. Kalamazoo skate parks, on the other hand, have more female skaters, but it’s still mostly men.

“I know that there’s a lot of instances of just men being creepy and overtly not welcoming towards women,” Langerveld said. “I think that there needs to be more awareness for women at parks and for their safety, just general safety for women.” 

Langerveld also said that she thinks that there are a lot of positive changes in the skating world as a whole.  “I think that there’s like a massive shift towards more women and queer and minority representation in skating, like you can find a ton of really good Instagram pages, and like sites that are dedicated to that.”  Langerveld continued, “When it’s a lot, like ten times harder for women, you really just have to work to prove yourself, and there’s a lot of social boundaries to break into.”