Media’s Portrayal of Female Snowboarders

The progression of women’s snowboarding has sky rocketed in the past couple years. That leaves me to think, how do my experiences differ than the ones portrayed in the media? Popular culture represents women’s snowboarding in a suitable fashion. Female snowboarders are in the media not for fame, but to be an inspiration. They are shown in mainstream culture less than their male counterparts, but are always promoting snowboarding in an encouraging way on and off the screen. Women snowboarders want to improve the sport and help it develop. Their laid-back, fearless personalities appear in mass media, portraying them in the light it should be.

Standing on top of a rock, with a view of mountains in the background you see Torah Bright, a professional snowboarder. There are clouds coming in from the left with the quote: “Take the Mountain by Storm DARE YOURSELF” lying on top of them. The incoming clouds make your eye zoom and focus on Bright and the fact she is staring at snowy mountains (Girl in Betsey: Roxy Fall/Winter 13).

When looking at this ad, from the company Roxy, I get a sense of freedom because she is out in nature; able to do mostly anything she wants. You also get a sense of how beautiful nature can be, almost how inspiring it is. I get this is feeling when snowboarding because you are surrounded my snow and trees. It is breathtaking and you feel free. Free from all stresses in the real world, free from work, and free from reality. The views you get from a top the mountain are inspiring. They encourage you to literally take the mountain by storm, and be in control.

Think of yourself as Bright in the picture. Imagine the view you are seeing, and how on top of the word you feel. That is how you feel while snowboarding. This ad is representing snowboarding the way it is in the feelings you get while snowboarding. It is showing how amazing the sights you see are, and how inspiring they truly are.

In a video interview with ESPN, Kelly Clark, a US women’s professional snowboarder, discusses her time with the sport and the way she wants to influence it. Clark is the first American female snowboarder to have competed in multiple Olympics (Issacson).

Clark proves in this interview that she isn’t competing in snowboarding for the money or the fame. She talks about how she wants to help the sport grow and that is why she is still practicing competitively. In the 2010 Aspen X Games, Clark was the first female to preform and land a frontside 1080. This trick consists of doing three full rotations in the air off of a half pipe. Landing this skill made history for women’s snowboarding. Kelly pushed the sport to develop toward harder, more advanced tricks to compete with. By doing this, she encouraged her competition to practice more difficult skills.

There is a foundation for children called the Kelly Clark Foundation, started by Clark. Her motivation for this organization is to encourage kids to get out there and onto the mountain. It targets skilled snowboarders to help them get seen my sponsors, and under privileged children to give them something positive to do with their time. The foundation awards scholarships to students so they can attend a school for snowboarding. It gives the less fortunate the opportunity to progress in snowboarding.12_02_14_Snowboard_Half-pipe_Women_02_hd

While watching this video, you can start to understand Clark. It shows you how humble she is and demonstrates she love for snowboarding. Additionally, you see winning isn’t everything to her, and her motivation to inspire and assist other snowboarders. The video is revealing Clark’s true motivation for snowboarding. You see she wants to expand the sport and make it more available to the younger generations. This is true to me for all female snowboarders. The experiences you have while snowboarding are life changing and we want to share that with as many people as possible. It also presents the work Clark has put in to help the sport progress, and landing the frontside 1080 proves that.


Jamie Anderson discusses snowboarding and her views in an interview with ESPN’s Body Magazine. She is a professional snowboarder and was part of the 2014 United States Olympic team. One of the things that stuck out most to me while reading the article was Anderson’s quote, “That’s the thing that’s not totally healthy about competitive snowboarding. It’s such a free kind of soul sport” (|, Morty Ain). This quote explains how snowboarding is something to do for fun, even when you are competing. Anderson is viewing snowboarding as something to do for your soul, and even when you are competing she is saying you need to do it for yourself.

Jamie Anderson at 2014  Sochi Olympics

Jamie Anderson at 2014 Sochi Olympics

Jamie touches on in the interview that she doesn’t get jealous of her competitors, but she gets inspired. That is another way the media is representing female snowboarding in the same way as I see it. When you’re on the mountain and you see someone pull a trick, you get motivation to try and learn it. In this interview Anderson is really on point about a lot of values of snowboarders. Even in life no one likes a cocky person, but on the mountain you don’t see someone have their head held high because they are better than you.

Mass media lets people see how amazing snowboarding can be, from the flips and twist some snowboarders can preform to the sights you get to see from the mountain. The Roxy ad with Bright shows you what you see from the top, and inspires you to keep on going until you are at the bottom.

Anderson and Clark both discuss how professional snowboarding isn’t about the competition or money, but more about how much you like it and how you want to inspire others. This is true for recreational snowboarders as well. Obviously you are not in in for the money, but you are out there because you want to be. The love for the sport overrides anything that might stop you from snowboarding.

Popular culture doesn’t always portray athletes or people in the correct way, but with women’s snowboarding it is on point. We are represented in the media as positive, motivated individuals and this is completely true. Every day when you are up on the mountain, I set a goal for myself. No matter how many times I may fall or want to quit, I keep trying. That goes for all snowboarders, quitting just isn’t an option.





Works Cited

“Girl in Betsey: Roxy Fall/Winter 13.” Girl in Betsey: Roxy Fall/Winter 13. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

Issacson, Melissa. “CLARK STILL CARVING HER OWN PATH, ON TOP OF HER GAME.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

|, Morty Ain. “Jamie Anderson in Only A smile.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

Branch, John. “Jamie Anderson, Slopestyle’s Star, Is on Top Again.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 09 Feb. 2014. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.

Digital image. Olympics. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.

Torah Bright of Australia Competes in the Snowboard Women’s Halfpipe Final. Digital image. The Australian. Getty Images, n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2014.


6 thoughts on “Media’s Portrayal of Female Snowboarders

  1. I wrote about Female Snowboarders as well! Your essay was very well written, and your sources were completely different than mine, but it was nice to see the difference in our sources! You mentioned how you thought our pop culture was portraying female snowboarders correctly, and I was just curious to if that is what you think about it now, or if you think that is how it has been the whole time? I did a lot of research on how female snowboarders have been looked at in the past, and they were only viewed as items to model the snowboarding gear, but of course the view on female snowboarders has gotten a lot better. Do you think male and female snowboarders now-a-days are viewed at the same competitive level? Just curious to what your opinions are.

    • Danae,

      Thanks for reading my essay! I honestly thought I would be the only person writing about snowboarding!! I haven’t met anyone in Portland that rides. 😦

      I do think snowboarding has been portrayed in the “right way” or the way I see it. Ever since I have been involved with snowboarding I’ve watched videos, read articles and of course, watched the X-Games and Olympics I always loved how everything showed how laid back they are. And how they show how passionate they are about the sport. I also love how they aren’t all about winning and supportive with their competitors.

      I definitely think male snowboarders are viewed in a high level. As a male they are expected to learn and perform harder tricks because of strength and blah blah. I hate saying it because girl power, but it is true.

  2. Emily,
    I have been working with you and commenting on your essay throughout your process and I must say your final work is awesome!
    Like I have said before, I do not think female snowboarders are introduced in the media as much as they should be. I enjoyed your paper because I got to learn about the various differences and main articles about females in the snowboarding world. I ski and I still do not hear many female names. Media, I think, portrays men more so than females to get more publicity but I think it should be the other way around! One thing I really like during your paper was how vivid you were. It made me feel like I was on top of the mountain getting ready to go down! Reading your paper has got me more interested in women’s snowboarding and I even want to try it myself now!
    In conclusion, very well written final product! Great Job
    -Taylor Reeves

  3. Hi Emily,
    I enjoyed your descriptions of the initial ad and you describing the feeling you get snowboarding. I like that you brought in the good that Clark is doing with her foundation and how her award winning maneuvers forced her competition to practice even harder. I really appreciate that you ended up liking the way you were portrayed in the media. Very cool. Great job!

  4. Emily,
    Awesome essay you really tied it together and did a great job revising your rogh draft. Your thesis was exiting and well worded. Also the way you inserted photos made the essay fun to read and very clear. Thanks!

    • I agree completely with mscottweis, while scrolling through the page I instantly noticed your essay Emily. The included images made this essay more entertaining and also looked more appealing to the eye. Very well written essay, great job!

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