Before we start I am going to say a word that many perceive as bad; I am going to say the F word...Feminism. Yes, I am a feminist. But before you get your pitch forks and light a fire, I believe in equality for all people. When I advocate, I advocate for men, women, and all ethnicities right to equality. However, in this situation it is a case of women not being treated equally.
Yesterday was the Red Bull Heavy Water Stand Up Paddle race. It is a race of epic proportions in massive surf. Ultimately, this race is one of this big risk but big reward scenarios. With $50 000 in prize money up for grabs, this race is the highest paying purse in the SUP world. This high paying purse is only available for grabs for the exclusive athletes that have proved themselves worthy and received an invite. However, in a sad turn of fate the women have not been invited to the event this year.
Now, in no way am I saying that the men are to blame for this. I am not asking that they have anything taken away from them. What I am asking is, "why can't the women come out to play too?" To say that only men can handle this type of competition would be a ridiculous statement. To make a statement about what we can or cannot do simply based upon our sex rather than any factual basis is the epitome of sexism. Because we are women, does not mean that we are inherently less then the other sex. In fact, there were multiple women who have not only expressed interest in this event but would also have the skill to be at the start line along side the men.
Regardless here are the facts:
-No women were invited in 2016
-No women were invited in 2017
- After social media posts one woman was invited.
-This woman was give only a couple days to prepare when other athletes were given weeks to prepare.
-There is no evidence saying that women can not handle this type of competition or that we would not do as well as men.
Ultimately, all I want is equality. I am not asking for men to has some of their rights taken away to facilitate our rights. I am definitely not trying to make this an, us against them situation. I do not blame the men for the situation. I understand that in a sport where there is not a huge amount of monetary support, that they would want to be involved in this race. However, we know that when men and women line up to race, that the women to do finish after all of the men. This is something I learned in my Physical Education degree. When looking at men and women in sports, you find a spread of men and women finishing intermixed. Perhaps the top x amount of men do beat the top women. However, the top women will beat many of the men as well. In certain situations the top women can beat the top men. It is not this clear cut, defined rule.
One of my professors taught me that every time you purchase, watch, or support something you are casting a vote. You are ultimately saying "yes this is ok." So, if you want to see change then do not support those companies. All companies want, are your dollars. If all of the sudden they are not getting your money then they are going to have to change or fail.
Now this is just my opinion and you are more than welcome to disagree. You have an opinion too and as such I will hear you out. I may not agree with it but I can listen and we can have an intelligent conversation about our opinions. Otherwise, how do we learn.
So in light of all of this, and because I am immersed in this as I am a SUP racer and a photographer, here are some pictures of some of the strong women that are taking a stand.
So with all my rambling done, all I want to say it that #IPADDLEFOREQUALITY
I stand up and say I want a change to make a better future for myself, my friends, my family, and my future children.
Please feel free to join the cause and #IPADDLEFOREQUALITY