Ever notice how few women there are in ski films? It’s not like I sit there and watch with a scorecard, but the data backs me up: Despite the fact that women make up around 40% of the skiing population and about 30% of the adventure sports film viewership, only 14% of the athletes in major ski films this past season were female. And this was a record of female representation, up from 9% the previous season.*
I’m not the only one who’s noticed this. Because Lynsey Dyer — yes, that Lynsey Dyer, world class skier, Powder Magazine Skier of the Year, and ski film star — is paying attention, too. Like me, she finds the whole thing troubling. But unlike me, she’s actually doing something about it. She’s in the planning stages for the first-ever all-female ski movie, Pretty Faces, and she needs our help.
Lynsey’s already pretty up there in my book. Not just because she’s a phenomenal skier, but because she shares my view that women athletes should be appreciated for their athletic ability instead of how they look in a bikini — which is wrong on so many levels I can’t even address them all here (I’ve written about this here and here, though, if you’re interested). But let’s face it, people pay a lot more attention to Lynsey than they do to me. With good reason. Lynsey wrote an open letter to Freeskier Magazine about the objectification of women in sports that got a lot of people talking. And while speaking out is great, Lynsey walks the walk, too. She’s the founder of SheJumps.org, an organization dedicated to encouraging women to participate in outdoor activities.
A girl after my own heart.
But back to the movie: Pretty Faces is about demonstrating to the world that women athletes can really kick ass. It promises to be an amazing film that’s designed to inspire women to get outdoors and realize their true potential, both on and off the hill (see the trailer at the end of this post). There’s a glitch, though: The movie is being funded via a Kickstarter campaign, and unless Lindsey raises $60,000 by January 16, it’s not going to happen. Time is rapidly running out and she has a long way to go. So if you’re a woman or anyone who has a wife, girlfriend, mother, friend, cousin, co-worker, or neighbor who’s female (which I guess is everyone), you need to donate now. There’s a lot of cool swag you can get by giving just a few dollars, and the result will certainly be worthwhile.
I spoke to Lynsey about Pretty Faces, and here’s what she said:
Q: Why did you decide to make an all female ski movie?
A: We see it as an opportunity to connect with and celebrate skiing’s female population. The mass media doesn’t offer young girls many good examples of powerful role models. We need to show them there’s more to the world than skinny jeans, reality TV, and fashion magazines — that they have a place in the mountains and what that kind of lifestyle can look like. A lot of girls stop participating in sports at around 11 to 15 years old. Or they think that if they want to ski, they have to do it like the guys. We want to show them what’s possible on and off the hill so they can live up to their potential.
Q: Why’d you decide to call it Pretty Faces?
A: It’s a double-entendre. It’s a reference to the phrase “more than just a pretty face,” but it also refers to the mountains, as in “that’s a pretty face, let’s shred that one!” Our goal is to show girls that there’s a lot more available to them beyond what they look like.
Q: What’s the movie about and how will it be different from a conventional ski movie?
A: The movie will show what it’s like to be a skier girl at different stages and ages of life. So we have a young character who’s so honest I think we’ll all be able to relate, then a high school girl, then a professional woman who sees skiing as an outlet, then a ski pro, and then a great wise woman who has nothing left to prove and is just out there to enjoy herself. The goal is to show we can all enjoy skiing, even though we come at it from a lot of different perspectives. We’re still looking for some of the characters, so we’re welcoming video submissions.
Q: Tell me more about these submissions. Why did you decide to go that route, and what are you looking for?
A: We want to encourage inclusivity rather than exclusivity. I know a lot of women feel intimidated when they come out to the mountains. We want to encourage them to feel like they can be part of skiing, too; to feel comfortable in the sport. What’s more, we want to show girls that they have a chance to be seen, if they put the effort in. So If someone has a novel idea or wants to share something unique about what skiing is like for them, then they should send us a submission. [editor’s note: Go to UnicornPicnic.com to follow steps for contributing footage to Pretty Faces. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have footage to submit.]
Q: I know you’re going the Kickstarter route. Why?
A: For one reason or another, we just weren’t getting the corporate support we needed, so we thought we’d turn to the audience to see if they’d be willing to back us in something they’d like to see. I’ve never tried to make a movie before, so this is all new to me. Right now I’m really focused on meeting our goal of $60,000 by January 16, so I’m hoping that everyone who reads this interview will give us their support.
Q: What’s the timetable for the movie, assuming you get all the funding you’re looking for?
A: If all goes according to plan, the film will come out next fall. We’d like to use it as an educational tool, taking it into schools and workshops to inspire girls to get outside. It’ll be more interactive than typical films. If funding allows, we’ll have a speaker panel along with it and possibly a workshop for girls.
Q: I know you’re the founder of SheJumps.org. Can you tell me about that?
A: To me it’s all the same thing. It’s getting more girls active and outside. If girls spent even half the time being active and outside as they do worrying about how they look or how their peers perceive them, it’d be a tremendous benefit to both them and society. Everything I do is toward that.
And now, as promised, here’s the trailer for Pretty Faces. Watch, and then please donate at Kickstarter.com.
*Data from the Pretty Faces’ Kickstarter website.
A note about next week:
From January 6 through January 11, I’ll be joining the Columbia Sportswear’s Omniten team in Park City, Utah. Yes, this season Columbia has selected me to be part of a group that’ll be trying new stuff and having all sorts of cool adventures (go here to learn more). So be sure to check back for updates. I’ll be posting all about it.