Sexist Snowboards

Using sex, and more specifically, the female form, to sell products is one of the oldest marketing tricks in the book, but you’d think in these times of supposed equality and respect for women, that it might have dwindled somewhat. But not in snowboarding it would appear.

sexist snowboards It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise given the way that women tend to be portrayed in the snowboarding media – predominantly as eye candy – but I’m always amazed at the number of new boards that emerge each year sporting graphics that quite blatantly objectify women.

What’s even more surprising is that it’s totally at odds with apparent efforts by the snowboarding media and certain brands over the past few years to recognise, represent and cater to the industry’s female contingent better.These companies seem to reach out to women with one hand, offering female specific products, media channels, and even the odd female team rider, and then slap them in the face with the other, with sexist advertising and degrading graphics on their boards.

Here are some of the worst culprits…

Sims Fader 2003

Sims Fader 2003

Back in the dark ages of 2003 Sims managed to get away with putting a topless image of porn star Jenna Jameson on their Fader snowboard, along with a series of other glamour models posing seductively. Classy eh?

Burton Love 2009

Burton Love snowboard 2009Six years later Burton featured Playboy centrefolds on its, equally tacky, Love series. While they stopped short of showing any full on boob-age, they were still the kind of images that belong on the top shelf rather than the top sheet of a snowboard. Needless to say the boards didn’t go down very well (not like that) and there were protests to have them banned.

Burton Custom Restricted 2014 

Burton Custom Restricted 2014Undeterred by the offence caused by the Love series five years previously, Burton decided to roll out the scantily clad ladies again for the 2014 restricted version of their ever-popular Burton Custom, which featured blurred images of swimwear models posing seductively on the beach. Admittedly not quite as risqué, but still pretty disrespectful nonetheless.

They must have decided that female objectification had become more acceptable in our increasingly liberal and “progressive” society, or perhaps they’d just run out of ideas? As Burton is hardly renowned for its creative graphics, let’s assume it’s the latter.

The fact that the boards were only available in certain shops just made them seem all the more seedy, as if they were some kind of illicit porn or sex toy. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the blurred design looks like it’s being viewed through the opaque plastic cover of a top shelf magazine?

Rome Artifact 2009

Rome Artifact 2009

It may not picture the slightest trace of naked female flesh but the 2009 Rome Artifact manages to be even more offensive than the ones that do with its neon light strip club graphics and “LIVE NUDE GIRLS” or “BENT OVER BABES” emblazoned on the base. Seriously? 

Reprobate Tap Her 

Reprobate Tap Her

I had to do a double take when I saw this board in the window of a snowboard shop in Morzine. Not so much because of the graphic, as it’s hardly unusual to see a semi clad woman gracing the topsheet of a snowboard, but more because of the name. Personally, as a woman, I find the expression “I’m going to tap her” pretty offensive, but given the brand name, I guess that’s their objective. Fortunately their puerile attempt to appeal to snowboarding’s laddish contingent appeared to fail, as I’ve never seen or heard of them since.

Lib Tech Jamie Lynn Phoenix

Lib Tech Phoenix Jamie Lynn series

I have to confess that I feel a little conflicted with this one, as I actually really like the graphics on the Jamie Lynn series of Lib Tech boards. The images are more abstract and arty than the gratuitous lads mag style “artwork” seen on some other boards and I think they can legitimately be considered works of art as opposed to mindless sexism.

Lib Tech Deflower 2014/15

Lib Tech Deflower 2014/15

Jamie Lynn has a real thing for the voluptuous blue nude, and here she is again on his 2014/15 signature board, except this time with no head, super-sized nipples and a flower not quite covering her lady bits. I’m sure Germaine Greer would have a lot to say about this image, and the fact that it’s called the Deflower makes it hard to refute any allegations of sexism. As I said before, I like Jamie Lynn and his designs for Lib Tech, but I think I’d probably have to side with Germaine on this one.

Bataleon Camel Toe 2013/14 (limited edition)

Bataleon Camel Toe 2013/14

Well done Bataleon, we see what you did there. You’ve got to admire their audacity, but the graphics on this board are wrong on so many levels. It’s obviously tongue-in-cheek, but that doesn’t stop it being pretty degrading to women, and er, transgenders.

Yes Great Boobs

Yes Great Boobs

Yes managed to justify decorating this snowboard with nothing but, pretty fake looking, tits by donating the proceeds to help breast cancer survivors “experience the life-changing effects of snowboarding through Retreat Yourself camps in Colorado”. While I commend cause, it seems like a pretty tasteless way of going about it.

Gnu Pickle Stallion 13/14

Gnu Pickle Stallion 2013/14A couple of years ago Gnu eventually hit back at all this flagrant sexism on behalf of the ladies with the delightfully tongue-in-cheek Pickle Stallion that features naked male models in ludicrous poses, on skis no less. Their modesty is protected by pixelated strips, along with their faces, which are obviously of no interest to us girls when there’s a naked torso on display.

It’s a great parody that manages to subvert the notion of sexual objectification and ridicule the offenders. The strategically positioned banana logo is a particularly nice touch.

Lobster Jib Board STD

Lobster Jib Board STD 2011/12

The Helgasons are hardly renowned for being saintly and subtle so it’s no surprise that their range of Lobster snowboards feature some pretty controversial graphics. However, last year’s special edition Jib Board STD was offensive even by their standards. Apparently the board carried a safe sex message to the kids that “STDs will fuck you up”, but that wasn’t enough to prevent it from being banned in several shops. I’m not sure it’s been proven that you can catch genital teeth from sleeping around…

Union Danny Kass bindings – 12/13

Union Danny Kass bindings 2012/13Snowboards aren’t the only culprits. Boobs have even made it onto bindings thanks to Union and Danny Kass. At least the modesty of one of the pair, of bindings, is protected by a little T-shirt, although, as it bears the logo “We Make Party” I’m not sure whether that makes it any less chauvinistic…

Flux RK Visuals bindings 2015/16

Flux RK Visual bindings 2015/16

And it looks like Flux have gone one step further by featuring a close up of a woman’s crotch and thighs on their RK Visual bindings for next season. Awesome.

DC Ply 2012/13, Nitro Addict 2014/15, Capita DOA (most of them), Salomon Man’s Board (all of them) … The list of sexist snowboards goes on and on…

sexist snowboards

However, none are as bad as the Anti Hero Allen Before & After skateboard deck…

Anti Hero Allen Before & After skateboard deck

I guess they do say that snowboarding borrows a lot from skateboarding. Perhaps sexist graphics are just another example?

I’m not a raving feminist or feel personally affronted by any of these designs, (ok, maybe some) but what does make me uncomfortable is the fact that they are representative of this male dominated industry and the issues associated with that. How will women ever attain equal recognition in snowboarding, be that with prize money, funding or sponsorship, when we’re still being presented as nothing more than boobs on boards.

At the end of the day, the market is driven by consumers, and these kind of graphics wouldn’t continue to emerge year after year if people weren’t buying them. So come on guys, show us some respect. Female shredders want to be taken seriously as riders, and not as eye candy to decorate your snowboards and the pages of magazines. There are loads of rad graphics out there that display a lot more depth and imagination, so why not leave the pictures of boobs and bums on the bedroom walls of teenage boys and get yourself a grown up snowboard. And besides, if you want to impress a girl on the slopes, riding around with sexist images on your snowboard is probably the worst way to go about it.

What do you think of these boards, and the representation of women in snowboarding generally?

 

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30 responses to “Sexist Snowboards

  1. You missed one 🙂 Rome made a super limited edition of the Live Nude Girls artifact: http://i.imgur.com/LPNr0xV.jpg It’s my understanding that only 10 were ever made.

  2. the black love came out before the playboy one and it was one of the quickest selling boards that year

  3. If you pathetic, whiney bitches actually had a clue, you’d be aware that former pro snowboarder, Megan Pischke, (who happens to be married to YES. snowboards founder/owner David Carrier Porcheron) had breast cancer.

    HOW DARE YOU sanctimoniously pass judgement on a subject you clearly know nothing about!

    • Chucky, that’s a bit of an unnecessarily aggressive response.

      HOW DARE YOU accuse me of knowing nothing about breast cancer (which I’m assuming, from your comment, is what you’re upset about) when you don’t even know me.

      As I said in my article, I commend Yes’s efforts to raise money for breast cancer survivors, but I don’t think that selling snowboards with glamour model breasts on is a very tactful way to go about it. Obviously Megan Pischke gave it her blessing, which is cool, but bear in mind that many breast cancer survivors will have had their breasts removed, either partially or completely, so it seems a little in bad taste.

      What if they were to hold a campaign for testicular cancer – would they design a board covered in testicles? I doubt it. And even if they did, would anyone buy it?

      Also, the type of person who’s likely to buy a board with pert breasts all over it is not likely to be buying it in order to be charitable first and foremost. I’m sure many female snowboarders would also have liked to support the cause but they’re not likely to want to buy a snowboard with breasts all over it, are they? Other brands support breast cancer in ways that are accessible to all, and without resorting to using such crass tactics.

      • It’s abundantly clear you knew nothing of the personal situation with YES. and breast cancer. Your feeble attempt at back-pedalling does not alter this truth. At least you’re consistent, as the rest of your affront to journalism is just as petty, malicious and poorly researched.

        Oh, and the fact is, if enough male snowboarders would actually buy “a board covered in testicles”, it’s likely one would be manufactured in support of testicular cancer awareness. Simple as that. The salient point you’re avoiding is that it doesn’t matter WHY people buy a snowboard supporting a breast cancer charity, as long as funds are raised and the conversation is started.

        Perhaps your genuine objection to the female breasts depicted on these boards is actually one of bitter jealousy fuelled by your own body image issues? That would explain why you chose to denigrate them as “fake looking”, when the truth is they could all be perfectly natural.

        I’d say ‘you’re only lying to yourself’, but clearly there’s plenty of other gullible, deluded morons to eagerly buy into your pathetic, whiney bitchfest as well.

    • Chicky, I was aware of the breast cancer campaign behind the Yes ‘Great Boobs’ board and made reference to it in my article. The “personal issue” that you keep referring to doesn’t change the fact that I think it was a tasteless way to run such a campaign. That’s my opinion though and I don’t expect everyone to share it. That is why I have a comments section on my blog and invite people to share their views so that we can discuss things in a mature and rational manner. Unfortunately it is also open to abuse by internet trolls though, which is a shame.

      You quite clearly got so worked up over the Yes board that you didn’t actually read the article to the end, where I say that it’s not the images of breasts on boards that I find offensive, but rather the sexist attitudes within industry that they represent – something that you demonstrate perfectly.

      The salient point YOU’RE missing is that it DOES matter why people buy a snowboard with sexist images on it, regardless of whether or not it’s supporting a breast cancer charity. Do you really think the primary motive of every bloke who bought that board was to support breast cancer? If so, the imagery was superfluous. And besides, you’ve chosen to focus on one board out of many that bear gratuitously sexist images and have absolutely nothing to do with charitable causes.

      Thanks for your facile attempt to psychoanalyse me (again, a little bold when you don’t know me) but I’m quite happy with my body.

      Oh, and I’d love to see you riding around on a board covered in testicles by the way.

      • Your desperate attempt to back-pedal is embarrassingly obvious. Seriously, have you no dignity?

        You said “Yes managed to justify decorating this snowboard with nothing but, pretty fake looking, tits by donating the proceeds to help breast cancer survivors”, while the genuine TRUTH is that it was entirely the other way around.

        YES. wanted a way to both raise money for and draw attention to a charity which was close to their hearts, and chose to make a special edition of their iconic “Greats” series featuring “Great Boobs”. Clearly it worked, because the boards sold out and garnered a lot of attention at the same time. They’re now highly sought-after collectors editions. Naturally, you’re completely unaware of this.

        The fact that you genuinely appear to believe it’s people’s motivation to contribute to charities, and not the fact that they’re simply contributing that counts is absolutely ridiculous, but nevertheless indicative of your self-absorbed, myopic way of thinking. If some bloke buys a charity-supporting board with breasts on it, and his only incentive was that he liked the look of it, the money STILL goes to the charity regardless. Then there’s the fact that the boards were sold with information relating to the charity attached — and as the owners of each and every one of these highly distinctive boards was bound to be questioned in lift lines etc. about their choice of purchase, they’d be equipped with that knowledge and awareness of the issue would soon spread.

        Well, at least you’re consistent — as the ignorance, fallaciousness and hypocrisy within your sensationalist clickbait fraudulently masquerading as genuine journalism is hardly limited to your grossly unjust criticism of the YES. boards.

        Oh, and it’s hardly surprising that you cowardly played the “troll” card. You may as well have sheepishly waved a white flag.

    • Chunky, why are we still talking about the Yes board?

      There is evidence of your previous trolling all over the internet and you’ve already hijacked several other threads discussing this article with your bile. I’m therefore not prepared to engage with you any further. Goodbye.

  4. I would and have bought a board because it has a half naked chick on it, nothing wrong with aiming graphics to the consumer its aimed at. hardly anyone was offended when these where out and not one has ever said anything about the graphics on the boards i ride. I think its more sexist to just offer girls boards that are pink.

  5. Follow-up story: Man counters claims of sexism in snowboarding through sexist rant – http://blag.illicitsnowboarding.com/2015/02/man-counters-claims-of-sexism-in.html

    • Why don’t you specify for everyone here exactly what, in your woefully deluded opinion, made that perfectly justified criticism a “sexist rant”? Think you can manage that, Champ?

  6. Yeah, Tom, you’re right. I’m waiting for the white supremacist contingent of the market to be catered for with graphics depicting lynchings and pictures of Hitler saluting.

  7. I take it your issue with these depictions is that they might prove to be one of the reasons why women will have problems to “attain equal recognition in snowboarding, be that with prize money, funding or sponsorship, when we’re still being presented as nothing more than boobs on boards.”. I don’t work in the industry, so I have no idea how the sponsors choose who to give money to.
    But I would like to say that I fail to see the connection between a pin-up model’s nude photo on a snowboard and women shredders. Speaking for myself here, the presence, on my snowboard, either of nude females, or females completely geared up, will not sway my opinion either way on the merit and abilities of any woman out there. If I look at a board and I see a nude female body and then I look up and see a female boarder shredding the shit out of that powder patch, I can tell the difference and I can appreciate the female rider for her riding. I really hate that this logical disconnect always makes its way in the usual discussion on the “objectification of women”.

    Men don’t live in a vacuum for 18 years, where all they see are objectified women and glamour models, only to be unleashed on the unsuspecting world afterwards. I think it has been made abundantly clear to me that women don’t really work as advertised in Playboy, ever since I was 13.

    Also, if we’re talking about this definition of sexism: ” behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex “, I would like to point out that your statement:
    “why not leave the pictures of boobs and bums on the bedroom walls of teenage boys and get yourself a grown up snowboard.”
    is pretty sexist in itself. I won’t argue about the artistic merit of placing a nude on a snowboard (I think it’s debatable, at best, in poor taste at worst, so I kind of agree with you), but climbing on top of your soapbox and declaring that an interest in the nude female body should be left for teenagers seems patronizing to me.

    • Well said, and let’s face it, any “female shredders” who genuinely deserve “to be taken seriously as [a] rider[]” wouldn’t be at all concerned about mens’ snowboard graphics.

  8. Being unimaginative with colour choice when it comes to gender roles and objectifying women are two rather different things.

  9. The truth of the matter is that any “female shredders” who genuinely deserve “to be taken seriously as [a] rider[]” wouldn’t be at all concerned about mens’ snowboard graphics.

  10. Why is it not offencive when the same sort of pictures are all through womens magazines? Women are fine with nudity some of them just don’t want men looking at it.

    • Marcus, I’m not sure which “women’s magazines” you’re referring to, but I’ve never seen the type of images featured on these snowboards in any magazine targeted at women.

      Perhaps you mean pictures of women modelling swimwear, or similar, for a female audience? However, that’s entirely different to a woman posing provocatively for a lad’s mag.

    • Of course you’re totally right, Marcus, but there’s no way this ignorant, delusional twat will admit that.

      Her bullshit isn’t simple denial, it’s blatant lies.

      Let’s look at that garbage about the 2014 Burton Custom Restricted graphics, for example. She has so much disrespect for her readers, she actually expects them to buy into her ridiculous premise that the “blurred images of swimwear models” represent them “posing seductively on the beach” — completely disregarding the obvious fact that they are NOT “posing seductively” AT ALL! And yes, in MANY women’s magazines there are countless examples of women in clothing (or lack thereof) and poses that FAR more resemble soft-core porn than these.

      Not enough, let’s go one more. Somehow we’re expected to agree that even though the female-featuring Bataleon Camel Toe graphic was “obviously tongue-in-cheek”, it’s unacceptable — whereas the far more provocative male-featuring Gnu Pickle Stallion was “delightfully tongue-in-cheek”!

      Clearly the most ludicrous comment in this entire pathetic excuse for a serious article was the author’s assertion that she’s “not a raving feminist”!!! Yeah, right.

  11. Pingback: Why It’s Not Cool To Make Sexist Snowboards (& six other thoughts) | Skipedia

  12. heartstillbeating

    I’d live to hear your opinion on Too Hard. If an artfully rendered blue, nude female form gets this kind of response out of you, I’m really curious how you feel about a crew of hard drinkin, rail hitting, ratchet acting, no fucks giving, blunt smoking lady rippers who refer to themselves as “hoes”. Maybe your next article can be scathing critque of their role in female snowboarding.

  13. heartstillbeating

    I’d live to hear your opinion on TOO HARD- a crew of hard drinkin, rail hitting, ratchet acting, no fucks giving, blunt smoking lady rippers who refer to themselves as “hoes”. Maybe your next article can be scathing critque of their role in female snowboarding.

    • I’m not sure why you think I would have a problem with a group of strong girls with attitude who shred as hard as the guys and get themselves noticed.

      I think you’re missing the point of the article, which is the objectification of women. The way that women choose to present themselves has got nothing to do with it.

      And, if you’d actually read the article, you’d also have seen that I described the Jamie Lynn blue nudes as works of art as opposed to mindless sexism.

  14. Pingback: Superior Sexism | Girl with a Singletrack Mind

  15. Pingback: Research on gender inequality within the skate scene – Nicole Muskett

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