A few days ago, Yobeat posted a video of French snowboarder Arthur Longo slapping girls on the ass as he rode by. When I first saw it on Instagram, I was angry and had no idea what to do about the issue. It wasn’t until I remembered that I suffered through years of journalism school to speak out against things that are, well, wrong. With a little motivation from a former Yobeat fan (i.e. the letter she wrote to them, which you can read in full here) I decided that it was time to write this post.
Like many male and female riders I know, the mountain is a safe haven. It is essentially our happy place, where job stress and bad break-ups can ultimately be relieved by a good pow day. We go, we ride, we (probably) drink and then we repeat. What Arthur Longo said by posting this video is simple: the mountain is your happy place, if you’re a male.
As a female, society teaches us that catcalling and unwanted affection is flattering. It means you’re hot and it means males want to bone you. Parts of our body are just objects, and males should feel free to touch them if they please. Well I have a bit of a newsflash for the entire planet: we don’t want it and it’s not flattering. It’s actually terrifying, especially when you are alone. The last thing any female needs to start having to put up with is this shit in a place where they ultimately feel safe. A place where they go to escape from that kind of stuff. As that letter so boldly states “Female riders don’t go the slopes to be sexually harassed. In fact, I’d say that most of them go there so they can forget about shit like that. To forget about their bad day, their shitty boss, the asshole creep on the street who told them to “smile, baby”. You should be teaching males to have respect for their female counterparts on the slopes, NOT that we are somehow there for their entertainment. Not that they can feel free to touch the private areas of our bodies without permission.”
I don’t know Arthur Longo personally, but I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he didn’t put this video out there to cause harm. The problem is it did. The problem is that I read comments on the video that said things like “I’m going to start doing this” or people simply just laughing at the actions in the video. The problem is videos like this could start turning a place that females love into another place they have to fear.
Before I start getting inevitably labeled as an “angry feminist” I’d like to say that, while I do identify myself as a feminist, this is not an “angry feminist” rant. These are the words of a human being who doesn’t believe her body, or anyone’s body should be treated as an object – something that is there at anyone’s disposal just so they can get a few likes on an Instagram video. It’s 2015 and it’s time to start teaching some respect. As Emma Watson said, “Men, this is your issue too.” Let’s make the change and keep sexual harassment out of snowboarding.