In a recent TEDx talk in Jackson Hole, Wyo., professional freestyle and big-mountain skier Lynsey Dyer discussed the personal struggles she has faced throughout her career in a male-dominated sports environment. “It eventually caught up with me that I had one weakness,” she said. “And that weakness was that a long time earlier, I had adopted the idea that I would do anything but be called a girl.”
To me, Dyer’s words perfectly sum up the idea that as girls grow up, they are still pushed to act within stereotypes. Even in 2014, girls aren’t supposed to be strong or tough. And girls who love to take part in sports rarely get the chance to see themselves depicted in films, books or other media. As an avid skier from an early age, I was always ashamed of being a girl. I remember being told on multiple occasions by older boys with whom I participated in sports that I should go home and play with my dolls. I felt ostracized from the pink culture of girlhood that I seemed to encounter at every turn. Only outside in the mountains could I be myself — free of judgment.
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