It’s that time of year when the trailers for all of the ski and snowboard movies start to drop, encouraging us to leave the dog days of summer behind and prepare for a winter of deep snow and cold temps. While we’ve always been accustomed to the general inequity between men and women in these films, this year we’ve been treated to an extra special slap in the face.
Matchstick Productions, the film company responsible for the groundbreaking film All In, in which for the first time, women captured more screen time than men, didn’t include a single woman in this year’s film.
Perhaps we should have seen this coming given that they billed All In as “not a chick flick,” clearly in an effort to comfort men who might for the very first time in their lives have to look at people on screen who aren’t mirror images of themselves. (We can only imagine how traumatic this could be, and we understand why they’d have to go to such lengths to boost men’s self esteem and make men feel good about themselves.)
Scott Gaffney, the director, and Murray Wais, the co-founder of MSP, have explained their decision to not feature women on surprisingly daft Instagram comments and in this Outside Magazine article:
- They asked the four women they knew and they weren’t available.
- It’s only natural that the four guys they asked to been the film brought along their friends, who were all men.
- The media didn’t really seem to care about the women in All In.
Let’s unpack this bundle of bullshit, shall we?
- The practice of creating gender equity is not a value held by the men of MSP because it if was, they could have done anything from asking the four women from All In for their recommendations on other women, to dropping some DMs into the accounts of other well-known women skiers, to spending a few hours researching up and coming skiers. They simply didn’t try.
- When you have a concept that excludes half the population, go back to the drawing board. Your concept is fundamentally flawed.
- Do you have to get a cookie to do the right thing? Gender equity isn’t about what it does for your bank account or ego.
My ask of you: Do not watch this film. Don’t give MSP your money. You are part of the problem if you aren’t part of the solution. Your minimal sacrifice will actually have signifiant and positive outcomes. And as Lace Laya said on our Facebook post about this issue: “Ski movies have always felt like an excuse for white men to get together and celebrate their privilege and call it stoke.” So let’s find ways to celebrate the upcoming winter in an inclusive and supportive way.
My ask of MSP: Be Fucking Better. Apologize. Acknowledge your mistake. Share your plans for remedying this situation in the future. Hold yourselves and other men accountable. Elevate women even if you get nothing out of it. You could have done this on Instagram over the last few weeks. You could have done this in the Outside Online article. Yet you have chosen to ignore every opportunity to make this better and instead you have dug your heels into the pile of shit you created. And that’s why I’m calling you out. (Also because no one else in snowsports is, despite all of we-support-women-so-much-we-launched-this-marketing-campaign rhetoric over the past few years).
I know my ask of MSP is big, particularly because it requires Gaffney and Wais to reflect on their behavior and words publicly. They have to demonstrate vulnerability, admit wrong doing, question their privilege, and map out a plan to be better. But men aren’t taught to do that. Most exist their entire lives without any real accountability. And that’s at the core of this issue. There are no women in Return To Send'er because there’s no real consequence for excluding them. It’s why we also see a mere peppering of women in every other ski film this season.
It’s unfortunate that in 2019, we are still having these conversations. It doesn’t bode well for all of the other real work that needs to get done. If we can’t figure out how to include 50% of the population in skiing, we are going to be hard pressed to tackle other issues like racial diversity and economic inequality.
If we, as a community, don't hold them accountable, who will?
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