We at Lips are big fans of Myriah Marquez (@myriahrose_). She is a core member of GrlSwirl. This gnarly skate girl is also a stellar human being, and we are so excited to have her featured on the Lips blog! In the following interview, she’ll talk a bit about bringing femininity to skate culture, sexism in Venice’s concrete playgrounds, and emerging artists in the subculture.
Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and how you got involved in skateboarding.
I am originally from the Border of Texas/Louisiana, and have recently moved from Seattle,Wa to beautiful Venice, CA. I started skating at the age of 11, at the time I was always sick and put on medications that made my weight fluctuate and gave me “blowfish” checks as the bullies would say. I had to move schools and picked up Skateboarding so that I would appear tougher and not get picked on. Little did I realize how truly strong and empowered it would help me to feel. I’ve skated ever since. I’m now 26.
What is the mission of Grlswirl? Why did it start?
We are an all-female identifying stoke-chasing community focused on bringing femininity and lifestyle to the male dominated skate scene. Grlswirl started in February when Lucy started recruiting other women in hopes of finding more comfort in numbers. We now have 120+ members and amazingly grow daily. It’s all about showing that you don’t have to shred to skate, you can be a mom, or you can work a 9-5 and skate, you can come from any background and if you find a true joy in skating then you CAN skate.
Could you discuss a personal experience of sexism you have faced in skate culture or elsewhere?
Oh completely, all my life there has been a definite smell of sexism in the air, from friends/family/skate culture. It’s not their fault, unfortunately it’s how it’s always been and that just causes ignorance. Besides your obvious “be a lady” “what do you think it looks like you hanging with the guys” “you can’t skate in a dress” “hey sexy” It’s more disappointing when you’re constantly snaked or stood right in front of at the park by a guy because being a girl you can just act like I’m invisible? No way bud. And the lack of options in the skate shoes, maybe I want half cabs too, maybe I don’t want to wear sequined low tops!
What are some things about skate culture that you love? How does art and music tie into this culture?
I love the people, they are some of the most raw folks you’ll ever meet. Skating for a lot is a form of meditation, an outlet for their good and bad times. Id say it ties in so heavily, with skating being an art form what’s better than mixing the arts? I come from a dancers background so when I’m riding with my tunes i can just groove and swirl to the music. It’s like a bird riding the wind, there truly is no better feeling… pure bliss.
Has skating helped to boost your self-esteem?
Oh most certainly, I had an undetermined illness from age 11-17 and at 17 had my Colon, Appendix and Most of my Rectum removed. I now have a J-Pouch and honestly for the most part feel weak and frail, but when I’m on my board I feel strong and empowered. My illness can’t hold me back when I’m on my board. Also in matters of safety and being a female, it’s a safety blanket. I don’t have to walk as fast as I possibly can when cat called or followed (which unfortunately happens. I know God forbid that A) I have a means for defense and B) that I can get away much quicker.
Why do you think it’s important for young women to have access to “male-dominated” interests?
It’s been a fight since the beginning of time for woman’s rights. There shouldn’t be a such thing as male dominated anything. Equality is the simplest way of putting things, it’s important for women of all ages to have equal access in all revenues. It sets the foundation for the future of our youth to grow without being blinded by gender roles.
The Lips platform is about a lot more than just sex. We are all about the female experience and expression in totality. Whether it’s skating, fashion, makeup, rock climbing, art, music – anything!!
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