underground since'89

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Saturday, April 30, 2011


manifesto for the nu skate movement

by Michelle Mae Orr of the Frumpies

This was originally printed in Grand Royal magazine in the 1990's.

Maybe you think skateboarding is only a sport. Maybe you think that to be a "skater", you have to know tricks. Maybe you think that being a girl restricts a person's ability to be construed as a skater, or that it restricts the drive to utilize the versatility of skateboarding for one's own purposes (due to possible ridicule). Maybe you've just given up on it after the rash of adult backlash claiming that skating is a menace to society and that we need judicial statutes - enforced by the cloven-footed, blue-uniformed, robotic and senseless entity named "Police" - that prohibit skating from being done at some of the best places to do it. Maybe you need to wake up and smell the pavement.

Sometimes I think skateboarding has become another product of the institution-mindedness of our culture. It needs to be recognized that s.b.ing is not only a competitive sport but a really fun pastime (that's how it started out, anyway). It is also a great form of transportation and an especially fresh substitute for bike riding. You can become a good skater without knowing how to do tricks. I used to feel sort of incompetent for not having the ability or desire to do tricks, stunts or even halfpipe skating (mostly from having a fear of injury). Consequently, I felt less inclined to skate around in my feeble amateurism. Then I realized what a bogus institution I was holding myself to, so I just started skating all the time, and I became pretty good and relaxed with less fear and more control of my board. Also, those little bean wheels you see on almost every board now are mostly good for tricks. Bigger wheels, which are hard to find now, are better for speed and travel.

It's true that the majority of skaters have been boys, but girls are skating more and more. Why has skateboarding been so male-dominated? That's too convoluted a question to answer at this point. I just hope that its versatilities - which I'm trying to expose here - will help girls and boys who are insecure about skating develop a renewed vigor. I also hope a gender barrier doesn't get built, but rather that the scene meshes so a girl on a board ceases to seem like such an oddity. I've already noticed that the scene is being slightly mediated that way. Ever since more girls have started skating, the marketing antics have started exploiting it in a semi-separatist way - like when skateboards are designed to be especially feminine - which is cool as long as it doesn't get condescending.

Another fucked up dementia that sparked my awarenes to this subject was the following example of a scenario that I find particularly sickening. I stopped off at the corner market, where I saw a girl I knew as an acquaintance, and in her shallow-minded stupidity she remarked, "That is so weird that you skateboard - it looks so funny!" I asked why, and she said "I'm so sure! You're 22, a girl and totally not dressed for it." Whatever.

Oh yeah, wearing skirts is cool but when you are in an especially skate-for-transportation mode, wearing pants is so convenient. You never know when you are gonna have to grab your board and hit it.

And as for Fascism Against Youth, and all other miniscule abstractions that prohibit skating - skate where you fucking want. From all of this, let it be known to those it might irritate: I'm not dissing, nor do I think I am an authority on the total skate scene. This is just insight into a multifaceted pastime where some of its Kicks Affirmative Potential has been forgotten and turned into a competitive, jockish and elitist sporting ritual that smells too much like The Man.

addendum to the nu skate movement

by Tobi Vail of the Frumpies

I have skated on and off since 1979, and by accepted traditional skating norms, I "suck". I can't even ollie. This doesn't mean I'm not a skater. Fuck the rule that says you can only be considered a skater if you are at a certain level of achievement. Don't get me wrong, I would personally love to be able to do tricks, ride skate ramps, go faster down hills etc, but the fact that I can't and probably will never learn if I haven't already at this point doesn't mean that I will ever stop skating. I skate for fun (to refer to the greatest skate band of all time) or not at all, dears (Frumpies say dear instead of dude). So there.

It would be nice to hear from other Skate Punx with either similar or conflicting ideals. We would especially like to hear from girls who skate. If you are a girl or a lady who skates exceptionally well, please don't take personal (or gendered) insult at our admitted incompetence. We admire your capability while we simultaneously cherish our own inability; we are just sick of being insulted by usually boy criticisms/suspicions/disses. Make up your own rules! Skate creatively, skate to entertain, skate to challenge accepted skating norms, etc.

write us at :
P.O. Box 2572
Olympia,WA 98507


Nicole said...

loved this post. Took me back to my early teens & made me want to go get a skateboard again and ride, just for shits.

Kheir said...

This is awesome. Thanks for posting.

robyn said...

you should rock climb! king of the sports! and totally friendly and non sexist too! go to your local gym and then hit up your local outdoors, you will not be disappointed!

Lex said...

This is great! I still skate, and I don't do tricks. Longboarding is where it's at, just cruising around. I used to be into tricks when I was younger, and of course the only girl skater (I don't identify as a girl now, I'm more genderqueer/trans). Guys would be like "I guess you're good for a girl". It was so frustrating to be compared to everyone else. I just wanted to skate for fun!