by Leah, Ravi, Alfie, Lena-May and Sinead. Photograph courtesy of Tim Prozorov.
In the last few years skateboarding has enjoyed a resurgence in its popularity. At its most popular in the 1980s, it lost its spark in the following decade, only to be reignited in recent years.
With 10% of year 7 students skateboarding regularly, Alexandra Park School reporters went out into classrooms and the local community to find out more about skating habits among young people.
Of the students polled, less than 2% of girls said they skateboard. Many feel the sport is dominated by males because of commonly held views about gender roles. “Skateboarding,” said Lewis, a year 7 student at APS, ‘is a boy’s game because of the gender stereotypes people have for girls.’
Kim feels that the image of “delicate, weak girls who can’t stand on a board” persists in school and the skate parks she has visited, where she has been confronted with occasional sexist comments. Other students that were interviewed agreed. “I know many girls who devote themselves to the game in order to challenge the stereotypes,” said William.
So what can be done to encourage more girls into skating? Local pro-skater Tim Prozorov believes skateparks “need to open more free classes where anyone can go.” He also believes skating, along with other alternative sports, “should be encouraged in schools. It’s important to give young people a variety of sports to choose from.” Ofsted inspectors agree: In a 2009 report they said non-traditional sports including skateboarding, street dance and martial arts had “improved engagement", particularly among vulnerable groups.
Would Tim, who is sponsored by DC Shoes, recommend skating as a future career? “Skateboarding is not my full time job. I wouldn’t recommend even thinking about having a career in skateboarding. Skating is a way of being with friends, a means of physically pushing yourself and of feeling free. If all the good things come without really thinking about them then, who knows? Your hobby could become your future career.”