In between a male dominated skate scene, it was quite a challenge to find a committed female skater in Munich. Luckily we got in contact with Sofija Pantelić. The 18 year old student has been skating for almost four years and has quite a reflected point of view of the Munich skate-scene as one of the few female skaters in Munich.
How did it all start?
First I saw skating of course as a hobby. I started skating in a park around the corner and went there every day after school. It didn’t take a lot of time, till i figured out, that this is my thing. I still like skating in a park or a bowl better than pure street skating.
What exactly do you like about it?
It’s just a different feeling, riding the bowl. It’s a feeling of freedom and better for me to figure out new tricks.
What comes to your mind when you think about „Women“ and „Skating“?
First of all sexist graphics on decks and prejudice towards women who skate. It starts with the common thinking, that women are anatomically not build for skating. So it’s impossible to reach the level of men. But I don’t think so.
Of course men have been skating over 50 years. Women started like 20 years ago. Men have a big advance in that case. So they know, what they can do. Women still have to figure out what they are able to do. There are just a lot of years missing, to get the required appreciation.
How do you handle sexist graphics?
I ignore them. I personally don’t mind it, since it is not addressed to me. You can see sexism everywhere. Commercials, Musicvideos whatever.. Nothing new about it, as long as I don’t have anything to do with it.
Do you recognize sexism or homophobia within the skate-scene?
I haven’t recognized homophobia within the scene. Outlawing of gay or lesbian skaters hasn’t stroked out to me, yet. But yeah, I see sexism towards women the graphics of the decks. I mean there are idiots and machos everywhere. But I’ve never been hit on by skaters in the park. Maybe idiots don’t skate?
How do male skaters treat you in the park?
You have to gain respect. Of course there are a lot of girls buying a deck, fooling around in the park and just don’t take it serious. This changes, when you go there every single day. You get your respect within the scene, if they recognize your ambition. That’s cool.
Isn’t it the same case when boys start to skate?
Well, girls always have to be two times better or more ambitious to get in that scene.
A boy with a skateboard always has a different perception than girls. As a girl you always have to proof yourself. But as I said, as long as you take it serious you will get your probs.
Do you recognize a certain gender problem? Is gender a topic within the scene?
Actually no. You don’t speak explicit about it. But sure, if you compare the success of men and women, you can totally see it. There are big differences. In a common skatepark, gender doesn’t really matter. There are more and more girls who skate, also older women. You can really witness this at the Hirschgarten-Bowl.
Is there a female skate-scene in Munich?
99% of course are male skaters. In general there are 5-6 girls, that I know. That’s not a lot. It’s definitely a difference skating with girls than with boys. But that’s probably, because there are always boys around and your used to it. With girls you have different conversations and you push yourself a bit different. I would like to have more girls around, even though I don’t make a big difference to other the opposite sex. At skate-contests it would be really cool to have some more girls around. It gets kind of boring competing with boys all the time.
Do you animate girls to start skating?
There are new girls coming to my local skatepark all the time. I also try to talk to them. Most of the time they are too afraid to go in the park. So I try to make it comfortable for them. I also did some workshops with girls. I try to push and animate them whenever I can. They really don’t have to be afraid, you know?
Do you set yourself limits?
As a women you might think about certain tricks a bit different, if you still want to have kids. But I hardly think about not doing a certain trick, because thinking about injuries. Injuries are a part of skating. You gotta handle it!