As a male who participates in a lot of traditionally male-dominated activities I am often reminded by some of the feminists in my life that I am not allowed to have an opinion about women participating in these activities. Maybe partially because of this I've never really been a fan of my school's Women's Center. I mean, where's the men's center?
I do understand that there are a lot of problems with "gender equality" and that historically a lot of guys have been major jerks. I am not stoked with a lot of the stereotypes of women in skiing and I agree that something needs to be done to fix this. I just don't think we need a bunch of angry feminists screaming about tolerance.
What we do need are more films like Pretty Faces. I saw the trailer a few months ago like everyone else and was stoked. When I found out that it was showing in my home town I resolved to go, for the first, and probably for the last time to an event sponsored by the Women's Center.
I was not disappointed.
In short this film got me more stoked to ski than any other film I have watched this year. Why? Other than the fact that female skiers are way better at choreographed dance scenes than we are, I enjoyed the film because it was a genuine expression of excitement. There was no attempt to be deep and preachy. There was no pretentious talk of pushing the sport. There was no posturing of deep internal conflict while the epic music played. Instead the audience was treated to well shot visuals of a bunch of ladies enjoying skiing.
Sure, they scared themselves, they pushed their limits and the sport, but they handled it all with excitement and humor. They made it clear that the emphasis of their skiing was fun. As our community mourns the seriousness of competition jocks and tries to asses the risks that we expose ourselves too these ladies are out there just enjoying skiing.
People complain that the level of women's skiing is so far behind men's. I guess I just have a different perception of what good skiing is. I believe the best skier on the mountain is the one having the most fun. That means that Pretty Faces was full of some pretty good skiers. The stoke was infectious in every shot, it's hard not to laugh and cheer watching this movie.
I realize that these ladies may not be dropping as big of cliffs or hucking as many rotations as their male counterparts but I don't think that cheapened the stoke I got from the film. They are still going bigger and harder than most male skiers I know and I think the fact that they are a little closer to my skill level actually gets me more stoked. That kind of skiing is just a touch more attainable, I can actually set my goals to things I saw in this film. (ok, maybe not, I know I'm never going huck a double anything.)
In the end I think the purpose of a ski film is to build stoke for the winter and Pretty Faces did that incredibly well. Go give it a watch, even if you have to brave the Women's Center to do it.