Monday, July 22, 2013

Angry Sexy Surfing

Well I've definitely just had the most intense writing venture of my life. It started with being contacted by The Guardian with a commissioned request for an article on woman's surfing. I was super excited by the offer but scared. I thought, am I well versed enough on the subject to write a legit article? After the doubt subsided I realised heck yes I am. Female surfer for 8 years and working in the industry for over three, my opinion is an educated and worthy one. So I wrote it.

The issue was the notorious Roxy advertisement for the surf contest in Biarritz, and it's really created quite a stir. It seems to have split the people, the haters and the supporters. And there are a LOT of haters of my viewpoint. Sex sells. We all know that, it's just a fact of corporate marketing life. That's not in question, but I guess a lot of people missed the point. It's hard writing something that's copping some flack, but as my friend just told me "if you're not getting haters, you're doing something wrong!". Roxy - props to you. Your marketing blunder, whether pre meditated or not, has just given women's surfing the most attention of it's life. That's got to be a good thing right, even if for all the wrong reasons?

Have a read of the article here and tell me your thoughts.

I wrote to my dad about struggling with the negative feedback. The words he gave me really helped. It's not about selling sex folks, it's about this -

"Surfing is male dominated, both the surf industry and the culture. Surfing could really benefit with more participation from women. The surfing industry could benefit financially by greater participation from women - they are the industry's biggest growth market.  The industry and the surfing competitions are becoming more male dominated and sexist / testosterone oriented. That advert is a perfect example. My guess is that it was commissioned, produced and approved by men. Someone prove me wrong please. 

Put it this way. Right or wrong, sex is used all the time to sell things and pretty women are used all the time to sell things. But, the commodity they are selling always features large in the advert. Ford uses sex to sell automobiles. But Ford would never ever make an advert of a sexy woman in a bikini without also showing the car. The car would be the focus of the ad, not the sexy model in the bikini. In professional marketing, sex is used subliminally. Roxy blew it, they used it overtly. 

The surfing culture also really needs more participation from women. Surfing is becoming more and more aggressive in the line up. Both the guys and the girls will agree on that one. Women don't get much respect outside of the line up either. My daughter gets disrespected and even aggressively run over by agro males in the line up. That needs to change. More women in the line up would help to facilitate that change. As a parent of young children, I would not go out of the way to support my kid getting too interested in the sport/culture - too many low IQ sexist dickheads. 

The feedback you're seeing right now to this ad is dominated by males - that also is not good. Why aren't the women being heard? Perhaps because the surfing industry (including the media industry) is dominated by males. Are there any women in senior positions in any aspect of the surfing industry? And women's surfing doesn't need more support/attention from yobbo males, that will just turn the girls off the sport in droves."

Thanks pops, from a non surfer's opinion, you've somehow managed to nail it square on the head.