Ah, the female psyche, that convoluted mystery of the ages! I started wondering a few weeks ago what the general views of the women in our industry were. So I figured I'd ask! I created a survey with the goal in mind of finding out which ski companies women felt the most, and the least supported by. Here are my findings, I made pie graphs and everything!
In the category of "Most supportive", Faction won by a landslide with about 30% of the votes. Behind them was K2, and 3rd place was a tie between Line and Coalition. Huge props to Faction for being such knee jerk reply to the question and creating a brand image synonymous with female support.
Most female supportive companies, according to the survey.
As for the "Least supportive", we also had a landslide winner, Armada. 2nd place was Rossignol and then Voelkl. No real surprises here. Although I personally wouldn’t really even consider Rossignol as a freestyle brand anymore, but maybe that’s just me? Regardless, they have an entire, active instagram page dedicated to women with lots of good ski action images.
Least female supportive companies, according to the survey.
This survey didn’t really help combat the stereotype that women can’t make up their minds, as you’ll see Faction appears on the “Least supportive” graph, as well as Armada appearing on the “Most supportive” graph. Someone even backed up their opinion of Armada being supportive by stating they have a big female team with lots of social media coverage. *scoffs* The Armada womens Instagram page hasn’t been active since 2015! That takes me to my next point.
I took to social media to tally how much exposure brands are actually giving female riders. (I would like it to be known here that judging an entire brand's level of support by Instagram alone isn't the best way to go, this is simply an experiment.) The experiment is as follows: on November 22nd 2019 I went through the Instagrams of several ski companies, and went back 60 posts. I counted the amount of female content and divided them into 3 categories: "Action/Skiing", "Lifestyle" and "Cringe". I am not opposed to lifestyle shots, so long as they don't outweigh the action shots. The "Cringe" category would contain posts like ski marketing of a sexual nature and just all round cringe posts (I'm looking at you @voelklskis, post 18 August 2019 of Kevin Rolland, in full ski gear, standing in a pool while a bikini clad girl dives over him without even the dignity of a tag, SMDH). Here we go!
FACTION: It appears Faction have earned their top spot in my survey as they had the best ratio. Out of the 60 latest posts, 15 of them featured women. They had also just dropped the women's segment from their movie which was a banger. I award them an A+. Yes, I've decided I'm going to grade them. My article, my rules.
K2: With 12/60 of their last posts being female content (only 3 lifestyle shots), this is a damn fine ratio of female content. It also included promotion of their riders projects, which we love to see. In my arbitrary ruling, they get an A.
LINE: Hmm. I had to go back 28 posts to see an image of a pair of girls skis, and the second slide was a picture of Taylor. All up, Line only had 5/60 posts that were female. This seems like a complete waste as Taylor won the vote of "most inspirational female skier" in my survey. LINE YOU SHOULD BE CAPITALISING! *shakes fist*. So they get a C. I'll bump it up to a C+ because Tay was in latest TC episode.
VOELKL: They actually did pretty well. 12/60. Six lifestyle and six action. Please note that the majority of their female action content is racing, which we all know is super lame. Plus the aforementioned cringe post. Meh, Give them a B-.
ICELANTIC: These guys actually had a few fans in my survey, with a few pointing out that the CEO is a woman. So I was utterly disappointed with their instagram. Of the last 60 posts only TWO were female ski action photos. They had 4 lifestyles (and one cringe pic), BUT they had THIRTEEN pictures of dogs?! You're twice as likely to see a post of a dog on their page than a girl! What's a bitch gotta do to catch a break?? D! No! Make that a D-!!!
ARMADA: I feel like everyone knows what I'm gonna say here. Out of the last 60 posts, NONE were female content. I had to go back SEVENTY EIGHT posts to find one of Maude. Maude came second in the survey of most inspirational females, and Henrik was first for the men. They undoubtedly have one of the best teams in skiing, yet have next to nothing going on for the female side? Maude is an OG style queen, but where's the fresh blood? Where's the love and support for up and comers? Big fat F.
Anyway, back to the survey. I asked some other questions out of curiosity. Like, how supported do women feel by their fellow male skiers? Turns out, actually pretty damn supported! Any supportive guys out there reading this, you're doing great sweetie!
Less than 20% felt "mostly unsupported by male skiers" or "only supported by male friends"
I also asked wether women preferred to wear women's outerwear or mens, (R&D departments pay attention please):
Less than half of women surveyed actively select womens outerwear! I personally find this staggering as the sales of men's outerwear bought by women goes towards boosting the statistics of male sales and the argument of "there's a higher demand of male ski things". The more money put into the women’s side of the industry, the more (in an ideal world) is put back into womens skiing.
Also, just for fun, I asked whether female prize money should ALWAYS be equal. The answers are split into "Yes, always" and "It's situation dependant":
It's almost 50/50! Is anyone else as shocked by this as I am? Not because I feel strongly either way, but simply because I just assumed most girls felt a hard yes on this topic. Huh.
The crazy thing for me, after all this info, is that it seems, as a company, that it is better to support no women at all than to support only one, at least from the viewpoint of public vilification. I can't name a single female athlete for Atomic, or Nordica, or Rossignol… And yet, Armada came out by FAR the worst. And arguably, they're a great company for women! Their women’s line is insane! High quality and well designed, and it seems like they support their one female athlete really well. Is that not better than what Atomic or Nordica are doing? According to public perception, no. Crazy.
I don't know what to do with this info, but here it is anyway!