Thirteen-year-old Olive Bowers is not a professional surfer. She is a young woman who enjoys the sport, just like her brother and father do.
When she was looking through an issue of Tracks Magazine (a surfing magazine), she notices that there was one picture of a woman in the magazine. It was not of a woman surfing but one in a dark room. She went on the website as well and although she saw a couple of videos and articles of women surfers, most were of women posing away from the water. Not really surfing. It bothered her.
So she wrote an open letter to the magazine, which her mother posted on her Facebook page. It got enough views for the Sydney Morning Herald to write about it. It went all over Australia and all over the world.
What many people did not see is that before it went viral, before millions of people saw the story, the editor of Tracks magazine actually wrote a rebuttal to a 13-year-old girl.
Luke Kennedy, editor of Tracks Magazine, started by talking about how his mother got him into surfing. How he loved the sport because of her. How so many of his writings have to do with her. How he has tried and really worked hard on bringing women's surfing into his magazine.
Yet, he did not discuss what Chelsea, the August vixen in Tracks, had to do with surfing.
Then he went on to talk about Olive's grandmother Helen Garner. How she is the reason that this is even in the news. As he stated in his letter "whose name no doubt helped young Olive to climb up to the Sun-Herald Soapbox."
Not the well-written letter by a 13-year-old girl. Not the fact that she might have a point.
Yet he still did not discuss what Annabelle"s "Hot and steamy" picture has do to with surfing.
He then went to basically say that Olive was wrong to feel the way she does because his magazine is not what she says. That she did not look into the magazine because if she did she would have seen better depictions of women. She did not look in the past to see that they have written about women before. That the market place does not care about women surfers because he cannot get any ad money for it.
Although he kept on saying they would keep Olive's comments in consideration, the whole blog post is condescending and rude to a teenager's plea.
Sadly it has an editor who is saying the only reason why Olive even got to be in the paper is because of who she is, not the valid point she is making. Not the pictures or what she felt like when she opened a surfing magazine.
If Tracks is truly the "Surfer's Bible" then why can't they change the way people look at women's surfing? Why not respect young teenagers words instead of making up every excuse in the world to try to prove her wrong? Why write a letter back saying you see some of her points and then try to vilify her.
Olive is not wrong. The magazine is extremely geared towards men. Women surf as well. She wanted to say that it is not right. She is 13. The editor is not.
So I decided to see who was right.
I went on Tracks.com
I clicked on women.
These were the four topics to choose from. Vixens, Poster Girls, Videos and Miss Bintang.
Here is Miss Bintang and the hot bikini girls. No water, surfboard or story.
Tell me how this is liberating to women surfers again?