While this isn’t standard fare for FrontLipped (we generally leave the feature articles to the big boys), with the amount of attention the controversy over Burton’s Love and Primo graphics has brought to this site and the mainstream media, it’s a topic we couldn’t leave alone.
If you need to get caught up on the issue, take a look on Transworld Business.
One of the older board graphics I personally can remember causing an uproar (and that caused many major magazines to run an ad featuring a female’s interpretation of what the graphic should look like) was one of Mark Frank Montoya’s pro models on Sims. The graphic received some negative feedback, but where were the protests, marches and news articles?
Not to continually rag on Sims (personally I wish I had one of these boards), but it was around the same time that this company released a board in collaboration with Vivid Video. These boards featured photos of various Vivid contract girls including Jenna Jameson and Briana Banks. A special edition featured even more revealing photos. The collaboration continued for two years. I’d like to see someone who believes this line is more tame than Burton’s current Love.
Last year’s Flow Infinite is another board that didn’t receive any press. I remember hearing that the Infinite’s graphic was inspired because the rider who designed it had a thing for strippers and partying. It’s a cartoon, but I’d say this (along with the reasoning for it) “objectifies” women just as much as Burton’s Love.
Peter Line has become renowned, not only because he is one of the greatest snowboarders on the planet, but also because he has come up with some of the most memorable pro model graphics on record. The Division 23 rainbow board? The dick-nose pony? And how about this gem (I believe it was from the year MDP released Pulse). A board that shows children being made fun of because they’re amputees, mocks kids with prosthetic limbs, promotes arson and the abuse of amphibians. No parental upheaval in sight.
And it’s not just snowboarding’s rebellious attitude (like some have said) that generates these graphics, some people just love looking at good-looking females. Head released a ski last season that I think is comparable to the Sims Fader. The newer edition of the ski uses the same graphical inspiration as this one (I just like this photo more). No protests to be heard of either year.
An argument I’ve seen repeated on many message boards that protest the Love and Primo is that parents are insulted by the fact that a company like Burton would produce something with such an offensive graphic. Wake up people, Burton has produced similar graphics before.
The UnInc. series has used strikingly similar graphics before, only a few years a go in fact. So why was there no uproar then? And doesn’t this make everyone who’s saying they were a proud supporter of Burton up until this year a hypocrite?
The final graphic I’m going to highlight is another board that’s in production this year. Each different size of Capita’s Stairmaster Extreme shows three different photos of a topless girl jumping on a bed. Capita is a small company compared to Burton, so I can see why Burton’s graphics have received more attention, but these are far more extreme in my opinion and no one seems to have heard of them, or seems to really care.
It’s obvious to me that snowboarding has grown to a point where it’s so popular that issues like this will continue to pop up, but the fact is that the people designing and building these boards could really care less. The double-edged sword of becoming a mainstream sport will continue to be ignored by the people in the industry who are true to the roots of the sport. And when the sword finally hits home? We may be in a place where the sport is better off, devoid of the “soccer moms” who line halfpipes around the continent and who push their children to be the next Shaun White.
My final opinion? Let’s leave snowboarding as it is, the simple act of riding down a mountain for the sheer fun of it. When any issue as serious as the objectification of women is brought in to the sport, it detracts from the soul of snowboarding itself. On the chairlift we should see each other as equals because we share the commonality of having a board under our feet, not as enemies because of the graphics on those boards.