I feel uncomfortable as a girl skater - what should I do?

I feel uncomfortable as a girl skater - what should I do?
I feel uncomfortable as a girl skater - what should I do?. Jamie O'Clock

Question: I feel uncomfortable as a girl skater - what should I do?

I get e-mails from girls from time to time, asking questions just like this. Skateboarding can be an intimidating place for girls. It can feel like a boy's club, and that women aren't allowed. If you are a female skater, you might feel uncomfortable skating in public, or out on the street with the guys. And a lot of women feel nervous about going to skateparks. What should you do?

Answer: You are right, that girls have a hard time in skateboarding. Most skaters are boys, it’s true. But, you are going to come across all kinds of things like this in your life, if you keep following your heart and doing what YOU want to do, and not what people around you think you should do.

I think you should go outside and skate, and not worry about what other people think. Now, I know that’s WAY easier to say than to do, but it’s the truth. Skating is something you love to do, and you should never be ashamed of it. It’s the same with anything else – be who you are, and let people think whatever they will.

Now, a lot of skaters out there feel something similar, not because they are girls but just because skaters in general can be looked down on. And a lot of skaters, feeling like this, get a lot of attitude. They wrap themselves up in a bad attitude and project a harsh persona so that when people insult them, they won’t feel it as much. Sometimes it’s like we expect to be treated bad, and so we ACT bad, so that it all happens on our own terms. However or why-ever this happens, it’s a bad situation, and I want to encourage you to be careful not to slip into it. You should really and truly be yourself!

When it comes to skateparks, I would totally recommend taking a friend or friends along with you – it feels good to have some support! Even if they don’t skate, if you are comfortable with skating in front of them, then they could sit by the side and just hang out with you while you skate.

Otherwise, with or without friends, you want to make sure that you show a lot of respect while you are there. Start out skating in an area where there aren’t many other skaters, and if you want to practice dropping in, then make sure you practice in a spot free of other skaters.

Timing can be important, too. Some people like to try to show up at the skatepark when there won’t be very many people – like early in the morning. That’s not a bad idea, in order to get comfortable with the park itself. But don't hide from people for too long - you have just as much right to be at the skatepark as anybody!

And when you do show up, take a look at the people who are there. Not all skaters are good people – some are jerks. But either way, our looks can be very deceptive! So, take a look around and see if you can get a good idea of who you REALLY want to avoid. Some skaters will get VERY mad if you get in their way, and while that’s totally uncool, it happens. So, make sure to stay clear of that crowd. It all depends on your town, though – some skateparks are mostly friendly, or have people watching what’s going on, and some skateparks you just shouldn’t go to until you are VERY good at skating, or unless there’s hardly anyone there!

But regardless of all of this, keep in mind that you are just as much a "skater" as any guy, and that you have every right to skate. There are plenty of guys out there who would enjoy skating with girls, and not just for creepy reasons. Skateboarding is very diverse, and attracts all kinds of people. Just be yourself, skate with friends, and enjoy skateboarding!