Indian skater girls

Skater girls in India break gender stereotypes

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Vans campaign and award-winning video share the story of a group of skater girls in India breaking stereotypes

In 2018, Vans created a campaign with Indian skater girls that charmed lovers of the sport. But above all, women who felt identified with the topic: breaking gender stereotypes through skateboarding.

Atita Verghese in India
Courtesy: Vans

According to some articles, India is one of the most dangerous countries to be a woman. It is even more so than countries at war, like Syria or Afghanistan. In fact, a study by Thompson Reuters Foundation showed that sexual violence and labor slavery largely exist. Hence it’s not a very hopeful place for women who want to practice a little-known sport in the region, which is also considered mostly for men.

girls skating in India
Courtesy: Vans

Which is why Vans wanted to raise awareness for women who do the sport in India. Girls Skate India is made up of several stories of girls and young women who skate and challenge the establishment.

Atita Verghese in India for Vans
Courtesy: Vans

It’s worth mentioning that part of the global campaign, in addition to sharing the stories, was made to spread the message of the value of the sport as a tool to empower the women of this and future generations.

skater girls in India
Courtesy: Vans

Thus, skating clinics were created, not only in India but in other parts of the world, like Chicago, Mexico City, Shanghai, and Sao Paulo. The goal, as we mentioned, was to raise awareness for women who practice skateboarding.

girls skate school in India
Courtesy: Vans

The ambassadors, in this occasion, were Lizzie Armanto of the United States and Atita Verghese of India. It is worth mentioning that Atita is India’s first professional female skater, who is a promoter of the sport and gender equity.

Lizzie Armanto in India with a skater girl
Courtesy: Vans

Raising awareness of skate culture in Asia

So, why do we remember this information a year after the campaign launched? Because this year a microdocumentary caught the public’s eye. The audiovisual work Kamali won awards between 2018 and 2019.

Kamali Moorthy, Skater Girl from India
Screenshot of the trailer

Kamali Moorthy, the protagonist of the documentary, is a 9-year-old skater girl. She is originally from Mahabalupuram, a coastal village in Tamil Nadu, India. The story is about her and her mother in their environment. The film was created by New Zealand filmmaker Sasha Rainbow, who captured the story in 24 minutes.

The film was selected to compete in the 2020 Oscars in February. The director commented that “Kamali’s story portrays an incredible moment in India. It depicts that mass change can begin with a single person.” This incredible revolutionary event for Indian women involved in skateboarding has become more visible.

Culture clash: skateboarding in Bangalore

On the other hand, we got our hands on a music video that is from the same director of Kamali. However, the protagonist of this video clip was Atita Verghese who we mentioned above. She is one of the founders of Girl Skate India.

Atita Verghese in Bangalore
Screenshot of Boy King: Alpha Female

In the video Boy King: Alpha Female by Wild Beasts, a group of girls are seen skating in Bangalore. They dress in pink saris, the traditional apparel of the Asian country. Men of all ages look at them in amazement and probably wonder what they do or why they do it.

And the message is very powerful because they wear an element of their culture as they are mounted on a skateboard. A revolutionary, brave and, even, fun way to break with gender stereotypes.

What do you think? Perhaps you, like us, are fortunate to live in a country where women can skate without any taboo. Of course, there are still many chauvinistic issues that need to be eradicated in this area, but there are no restrictions or bad comments from society when we see a female skater.

However, in some countries, this sport is far from it and women are not expected or allowed to practice it. So these events are an achievement for women and gender equality in some regions of the world.

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)