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"While researching about skating back in the days, I found out about this - by lack of better words - identity crisis a lot of skaters go through,     

What does it mean to be a real skater?"

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When looking through my piles of images in folders of saved articles and screenshots, one thing became clear to me. 

To be a real skater is an ambiguous thing. And it seems to come down to giving a lot of fucks about not giving a fuck. 

Just like, how to be cool, is to not care about being cool. A little ouroboros of not caring too much but then again, caring a lot about not caring too much.

I got absorbed by this existential skate question when I descended into gloomy online forums.

It was surely quite overwhelming to read this amount of homophobia and mysoginy (that I otherwise did not experience as much in the physical reality of the skatepark and from the skatehomies). Especially, as you could perhaps expect, in the Youtube or Instragram comment sections.

My idea of the skateboarding started to crumble a little.

Why was I actually reading these things? 

I was actually researching for tips and tricks to give the young girls I was teaching.

I observed and understood after many conversations
, that recurring topic in

our skate lessons and sessions, were subjects around the girls' 

self confidence.

They often felt uncomfortable, exposed, or ashamed to pull up to the skatepark or skate in the streets, resulting in them skating almost only during the lessons or the girl skatesession. My main goal was to get them comfortable on a board and hope they would not need these girls only skate sessions after a while. But some of them only skated during these sessions for an entire year, which means some would skate only once a month or once a week, purely due to lack of self-confidence that the patriarchy had caused. 

Of course I could imagine how hard it must be to be a teenager taking part in such a performative activity in public. But I didn't experience that much shame to skate in public – until I looked up the term "girl skater".

I started to be able to get an image about how it might feel when you start to skate at a young age and look for tips on the internet on your own.

All my thoughts could be reduced to one question 
— what is a real skater, and what does it take to be one?

Opposed to the real skater is the


someone who

"acts like they can skate but cannot and make no effort to actually learn. Often this is to look cool, like just carrying a skateboard or saying you skate but often never actually skating to not break the illusion that that can skate."  (source)

You might be able to imagine how easily the skatergirl trope became the perfect target to embody the idea of 
"the poser".

The peak of male domination in skating came around the 90's – before that, women would also partake in competition and in the sport, still not equally, but the difference was less tangible than when skate culture rose to become relentlessy sexist. You can read more in detail about the 90's and the fem skate scene in this dope article by Womxn Skate History!

This period remained until the femme revival of skating arose in the last 5 years or so. 


As skateboarding blew up as a style or "aesthetic" in  fashion (especially around the start of the Tik Tok era) , the skater look has been taken as inspiration for many. And of course, young girls were in the main row – being part of the formation of "trends" in our society and being the main target of business and fashion owners. Don't forget how skate-brands would also make profit of this new pool of buyers, while the skateboard community was trying to gate keep itself.
This, along with misogyny, my be at the root of what has made up this toxic skater girl poser trope. 

And yes, I know we are in an era where skating is getting more inclusive and it's amazing how we got this far in this short amount of time.

Yet, when I talk with the younger generations — the teenagers and the kids — they do let me know about the hardship of getting into skating, if you're not a 'standard' boyish boy, and it is still very real.

So, despite the progession, I don't want to forget that.
And that is why I wanted to write this piece along with the sticker installation. 

The insecurities, the social norms and the body awareness are all just different during different certain stages of life, depending of your social status, of the local skate community, your sexuality and gender. I get a bit mad when I hear someone say "but the skate community is so open — everybody can be a skater!" without doing the effort of imagining being a young and feminine child trying to skate. 


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Meanwhile my quest to find out what a real skater was, kept going. I wanted to find out what I should say to these kids and wanted to try understand how this whole thing works.

I got that, if you skate well, you are more often immediately seen as a real skater, the moment you can prove it.

Until then, when you enter the skatepark, your credibility will get questioned — especially if you don't fit in the unspoken skate rules, styles and codes.

Some say that the moment you skate, regardless of your level, you are a real skater. Others find that merit, dedication and commitment will show wether you are a real skater. For some, regardless of the tricks or level you have — what matters the most, will be your skate style.

Skaters will say that, if you are homophobe, you are not a real skater. And then another skater will say that your no-comply is gay.

There are many skaters that will say that you can only wear Thrasher if you skate. And by skating, some understand being able to kick-flip on the spot when ever they demand it. Not just stand on your board once a week trying your best, as some other skaters might say.

So to wear Thrasher, you kind of need the real skater pass. And who will give that to you?
Nobody will give you this pass. Because if you care about what others say, you are not a real skater. This is what true skaters say and think. Just wear it.

Some say that real skaters don't hate and don't judge — often the hippy or more mature skaters.
But then the next more mature appearing skater you meet will laugh in your face when you put on your skinny jeans.
And then they will say that you're

Matter of fact skateboarders seem to be obsessed with gay, if you haven't noticed yet.

After years of doing clinical research around the intriguing
Real Skateboarder Phenomenon (RSP), one thing became crystal clear.

If you are not a cis-hetero skater boy, it is even harder to become what skate society thinks of as 

  a real skater. 

The judgement when you enter the skate zone will be heavier if you look too good or not good enough or if you don't look like a normal skater in general. 
On the other side, if you are a bit too cute or too hot, it might feel as if you get a strange mix of adoration and distrust and it could feel also be weird.
In a way, for you it might seem there is no win-win situation, unless you skate gnarly, but that is so hard when you just started.

Even though it can feel really hard, realise that, most of the time (90% of the time) , skaters will not really care, if you do what ever the hell you want. Some might be shite but ignoring and keep pushing is the gnarliest thing you can do.

In fact, in certain more and more skate zones, you will be considered annoying if you are the typical aggressive snake skater that doesn't give a fuck about others and lack of awareness. 


If you are a bit weird, dress differently, and you happen to skate like shit, things might seem to be harder in the beginning - to fit in this perfect of the Real Skater — but do not get discouraged, dear skater.

If you are weird and different, or not falling into the skater norm — or your skating is terrible — just persist with being yourself.

That is probably, the most real skater thing you can do. 

If you were at this expo and looked through the stickers, you might have wondered — is Thrasher really that mysoginist? (yes). Do they still publish cool skate clips? (yes). 
Do people really say these disgusting things on skate videos on Youtube? Yes. Do we really hate the pick-me-skater girl or do we understand that patriarchy perpetuated this stereotype? We do. And finally, who are the people that made hundreds of3D-renderings of snails skateboarding and uploaded them on sticker websites

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