Stirring the Pot: Gatekeeping in the Skateboarding Community

The skateboarding community has been notoriously associated with the concept of gatekeeping since skate culture became mainstream.

I mean, wear a Thrasher shirt as a non-skater and suddenly you’ve got an army of beanie-ridden, board-strapped teenage boys chasing you down as they yell “POSER!!” at you in perfect unison. That may sound a little far-fetched, but believe me: skaters are brutal. While films like Mid90s depict the best aspects of skateboarding (community values, personal growth, and an escape from the harshness of home life), they also give a taste of the worst. While the negatives (excluding drug and alcohol abuse) are depicted in a lighthearted, juvenile manner, the use of derogatory language heavily present in the film and skateboarding community–especially skateparks– unintentionally alienates and excludes individuals from the LGBTQ+ community from feeling comfortable, safe, and happy in a space designed to bring like-minded individuals together. Although I don’t skate myself, I see this toxic behavior prevalent in the skating community as I have many friends with personal experiences relating to the topic. To get a deeper insight, I spoke with my friend, Aidan Skillingstad, a fellow freshman at SDSU who is quite familiar with the toxicity found in the skateboarding community.

1. How long have you been skating and what brought you to start?

“I’ve been skating on and off since I was in the second grade when I lived in Las Vegas because I have an older brother who had a lot of friends who skated, so whenever my brother and I would hang out, he would always be skating. This eventually led to me getting my own skateboard. I ended up taking a break from it for a couple of years but I went back to it towards the end of middle school ‘cause I moved to a new place and didn’t have a lot of friends, so skating helped me make a friend group and break out of being alone. Despite making friends, I just like the activity in itself. Like landing a new trick is a very fulfilling feeling.”

2. Do you prefer skating alone or in groups?

“When I was younger I would skate primarily with my brother, just because I didn’t know how to skate so he would be the one teaching me stuff. But in middle school and high school, I preferred skating with people, specifically my close-knit friend group of skaters. And now, I just prefer skating alone–it’s more of an anxiety thing. Like being in a new place and meeting skaters is kind of scary because you don’t know if they’re gonna be better or worse than you or judge you.”

3. What was your first skatepark experience like?

“The first time I went to a skate park was in Las Vegas–my brother would get dropped off at the skatepark on the weekends, so we would just be there all day skating, but I was a kid so I didn’t really care if I was getting in the way or skating poorly. I was just following my brother around, tagging along for fun. But to older skaters, I was kind of annoying as I would just skate around without paying attention to other people.”

4. When did you first realize that gatekeeping existed in the community?

“So the first time I actually was aware of it was probably like middle school when I started getting back into it. I had a little bit of experience, but I was not good. I still couldn’t do much on the board, and none of my friends could either. We were all getting into it together, so there wasn’t any judgment between any of us because we were all trying to push each other to be better. But then we would be skating around town with a big group and come across a group of older skaters, ones that were a lot better. Even though we were really trying to give it our best, to them it seemed like we were just doing it to be cool. Over the years that feeling was just terrible, so that’s why now I prefer skating alone just because I just don’t like putting myself in that kind of situation. But it’s something that I like. I just don’t know why I should feel like I’m judged for that. It shouldn’t matter how good I am, just that I enjoy it.”

5. Have you had a personal experience with this?

“Well for me, I push mongo which is not the way you’re supposed to push on a skateboard. So there’s stances and the way you do a trick–you can be regular or goofy–then there’s the way that you actually push the board. This is something that causes a lot of judgment, so if you push regular that’s normal (left foot on the board, right foot pushing). But I push the opposite, which kind of looks stupid, especially when you’re losing your balance you do this weird kind of step thing which is a little embarrassing. If you push mongo, there’s this underlying judgment from other skaters, like you’re not really considered cool or whatever. So that was something that even now I try to avoid by practicing pushing regular. It goes back to the whole anxiety thing, which again is why I prefer skating alone nowadays.”

6. Would you say that the whole gatekeeping concept (existing in both skateboarding itself and within the culture as a whole) creates a toxic atmosphere which prevents people from getting into skating?

“I kind of feel conflicted about it because from one perspective, I don’t like the gatekeeping in skateboarding and I don’t like that people judge you for the brands you wear or the skateboard you have, but also at the same time as a skateboarder, I kind of have this tendency to gatekeep myself–it’s my first response when talking about skating that it’s my thing and that other people don’t appreciate it as much as I do.”

7. Has the toxicity in the community affected you personally?

“So even from a young age I knew that I was different in terms of who I was attracted to but I definitely tried to suppress the feelings or thoughts, so when I would go skate with my brother and his friends as a young kid hearing ‘g*y” and “f****t’ being used in derogatory ways by older teens made me feel like it wasn’t okay to be who I was. Likewise, skating with peers my age in middle and high school who also used this type of language on a regular basis did not help with self-identity. I was more open to who I actually was, but despite that, it was hard to be totally accepting of myself when my friends might not even be accepting of me.”

I’m going to be honest — prior to interviewing my good friend Aidan, I hadn’t even factored the LGBTQ+ community into the equation. I went in expecting just to discuss the common exclusionary, juvenile behavior of teens and left with a new perspective into how these harsh words and practices ostracize an entire group of individuals just looking for an escape themselves.

The use of negative language about LGBTQ+ individuals is especially harsh for teenagers to hear as they are in the midst of exploring their individuality, sexuality, and sense of self. This can be extremely confusing and frustrating for them, as the language denotes a lack of openness and acceptance in the community preventing them from feeling as if they can be themselves amongst people who share the same passion–skating. It frustrates me to know this. But Aidan recognizes that is just a factor of the culture–the harshness is just a phase every skater must endure before fully feeling apart of the community, almost like being hazed before being initiated into a fraternity. But if you skate, be mindful of what you say and recognize when others are spewing derogatory terms into the wind. It may just be “apart of the culture” and just another form of “locker room talk”, but words are powerful; let’s make the skating community more inclusive so that more individuals can appreciate the satisfaction of finally landing that first ollie.

Written by: Olivia Flores
Photo by: Isaac Lopez

Sexcapades: Losing Your Virginity Is Not Magical

Sexcapades

Don’t believe what they say – losing your virginity is the stuff of nightmares.

In my sexual awakening sophomore year of high school, one of my friends was dating a senior, whom she lost her virginity to. She described her first time as if fireworks and confetti shot out of his penis. While other girls awed, blushed and clasped their hands in excitement and slight embarrassment by the word ‘sex.’ I skeptically sat there contemplating if your first time is really a big deal.

From that moment I began imagine how I’d like my first time go down. I didn’t want it to be with someone I was dating, I didn’t even want it to special or good for that matter. Well, I inherently knew it wasn’t going to be good. I just really wanted to get it over with. I felt like there would plenty of more times for improvement and fireworks.

There Will Be Blood: My virginity story

As junior prom approached, my mother (who must have picked up my thoughts on becoming more sexually active) put me on birth control. A very smart, progressive and rational decision on her part. At the time I was talking to this boy C.P.* who I somewhat liked but at the same time I felt like it wasn’t a right fit. We had been sort of talking, we’d hang out sometimes, text and snapchat all the time. We were both virgins and were thinking about “losing it” to each other during prom weekend.

I’m violently vomiting everywhere at the fact I wrote the phrase, “losing it.”

If you don’t know what prom weekend is, it’s the weekend following prom where juniors and seniors from the high school rent motel rooms at the infamous Anchor Motel in Seaside Heights, NJ. Long story short that is not what ended up happening. It was the second night and there was a bunch of people in my room. One of the people was this kid who I know from sports, Pete, * and he was flirting with me. A close friend of mine noticed the flirting and being a good wing-woman ushered people out of the room as he disappeared to the bathroom. When he emerged, I was alone and shaking because I didn’t know what to do. He looked a bit puzzled and I was hoping he couldn’t see the anxiety in my face. It all happened so fast, but the only thing that came out of my mouth was, “I don’t know where everyone went, but do you want to take more shots with me?”

One thing lead to another and we ended up having sex. Well sort of, his penis barely went in and it hurt so bad. The only thing on my mind was that I couldn’t believe I actually manifested this whole experience. It was exactly how I wanted it to go down! Shout out to my fairy Godmother looking out for me.I wanted to be daring for my first time so I decided to get on top but, when I looked down there was so much fucking blood. In my dramatic mind it looked like a murder scene.

I should have been mortified but all I did was laugh. Like hysterically laugh because something was bound to go wrong. Pete immediately rushed to my aide and asked if I was okay. I was fine and all I really wanted to do at that point was take a shower and get drunk more with my friends. When I came out he was still in my room, and I was all shook because I’d thought he’d bounce. Nope, he was still there, which I guess was kind of nice. I honestly don’t know how but we ended up cuddling and falling asleep? Yeah, it was weird and then my friends ended up kicking him out, which is hilarious. Love them, thanks guys.

It was actually in this point in time where I learned I hate cuddling, especially with someone I don’t even like!

Anyway, that’s my virginity story, it wasn’t magical, there were no firework but, of course, there was blood.

Submissions from unsatisfied women, I’m so sorry ladies.

Part of the reason why I started this blog was to give people a form and open a door for people to talk about the kind of sex they have. I create a submission form which I sent out to my close friends who then sent it to their friends. I was really nervous that I was going to no response but I ended up getting a few. These brave souls shared their embarrassing and hilarious first time stories, so I’ll let them have the floor now.

Happy Birthday Mom! From Small Dick Epsilon

“I came into college as a virgin and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to download tinder. So, I match with this guy and we talk and plan to hang out. He bailed like five times so, clearly, he’s a fuckboy. Eighteen-year-old, virgin me was determined to meet up with him. We finally meet up for the first time, I drove forty-five minutes to see him. He takes me to his frat, no dinner, nothing! We literally said five words to each other and then fucked. Worst three minutes of my life, no foreplay or anything! He stuck his four-inch penis in my dry, tight-ass, virgin vag. It hurt like a bitch. So, I sleep over and the next day we get Chipotle. He really tried to make me pay for myself, I said to the woman ringing us up ‘oh we’re together.’ Like you really want me to pay for myself after you stuck your small dick inside me all last night? Not. A. Chance. Basically, my first time having sex was not like they make it seem in the movies. I was in a crusty, ugly, rude ass fuck boy’s room losing my virginity…on my MOM’S BIRTHDAY.  In a frat house nonetheless. Worst daughter in the world.” -Anonymous

Oh, Gravity is working against me

“So sophomore year in high school I had sex with this man-child who had better hair products than me. Basically, he turned on John Mayer’s Gravity and attempted to put on a condom. Five minutes go by, he’s still struggling to put on this fucking condom and I’m lying there like a dead fish. All while contemplating my life. Even better, I guess he specifically wanted to lose his virginity to that song so when it ended (he was trying to put the condom on) he frantically grabbed his phone to replay it. When he finally got the condom on he struggled for another ten minutes trying to get his dick in me. He had to be in me for at the most five seconds. It ended with me saying ‘did we even have sex,’ probably not the thing a guy wants to hear. Whatever dodged a bullet on that one because he ended up lying about his dad having terminal cancer to break up with me.” – Anonymous

Parting Words           

First times like first impressions can be tough. If you spend so much time trying to make it perfect, then you’ll end up hyping it in your head and being really disappointed when it doesn’t happen the way you want it. Just be natural and go with the flow, it’s not that big of a deal. I believe that when you find that right person you want to settle down with, that is all the magic and fireworks you need. Until then, keep on fuckin’.

If you have a funny, enlightening or educational sex piece that you’d like to submit, fill out this form.

Written by: Julie Cappiello
*All of names for this story have been changed from privacy reasons.
*Submissions stories were formatted to have correct grammar, spelling, punctuation and were edited to have a readable flow. Submissions were asked to be labelled anonymous by participants.

Why You Should Hear K-Pop at Least Once

Music is often viewed as an escape from the banality of life. Thankfully, there’s a growing genre everyone seems to be curious about: K-POP.

There’s so much interest within this genre, that fandoms for every possible K-POP group exist. One notable example can be seen in the popularity of the group, BTS. However, several people are asking the same question: what exactly makes K-POP popular, especially to American fans?

K-Pop is influenced by a variety genres and styles, such as Western Pop Music, rock, jazz, reggae, electronic dance, hip hop, rap, Latin, and more. K-POP is essentially a wide variety of music sung in the Korean language. This style of South Korea music originated in the 1940’s, athough the first official group to fit this category is the group, Seo Taiji and the Boys. The three member all-male group was active from 1992-1996, during which they experimented with various styles of music from the West (America). Just as Los Angeles is joined to hip-hop, Seoul is joined to K-POP, as most of the recording and music industries have their buildings within the city.

Fans can thank the internet & social media for increasing the popularity of K-POP to spread worldwide, especially with honorable mentions such as PSY with “Gangnam Style” and BTS “DNA”. Although they have become internationally famous through their songs, there are several other groups that I believe are worth knowing, since they have paved the way for PSY & BTS to become a worldwide sensation.

As an avid K-POP fan of 9 years, I wish is to share a few of my favorite artists that I believe would be great for beginners who are developing an interest in K-POP.

One of the first groups that deserves attention is Girls’ Generation (aka SNSD), a 9 member all-female group as determined by their name. With members Taeyeon, Seohyun, Sooyoung, Jessica, Tiffany, Hyoyeon, Sunny, Yoona, and Yuri, each girl brought something specific to this group such as vocals, dance, visuals (beauty), and rap. Girls’ Generation began their career in 2007 as part of the second generation artists of K-POP. One of their most famous songs online is, “Gee” and “Run Devil Run.” While the group unfortunately does not retain all its original members, due in part to Jessica’s leave in 2014 and certain members’ contracts ending, there still remains 6 active members in this group who recently created the single, “Lil Touch”. I believe that Girls’ Generation paved the way for girl groups, since their empowering style is an obvious influence found in many following groups.

Another group whose popularity I’d like to acknowledge is Super Junior, due to their influence on the male groups in K-POP. Super Junior originally started as a 13 member male group, but debuted with 12 members. Through their active time as a group, there have been 5 different units created for Super Junior to allow members to do projects in smaller groups within the official 12 members. However, over time this group has decreased to 8 active members: Leeteuk, Heechul, Yesung, Shindong, Eunhyuk, Donghae, Siwon and Ryeowook. A few of their greatest hits include “Sorry Sorry”, “Mr. Simple”, and their most recent release, “One More Time (Otra Vez).” One reason I chose to highlight them is because their music style has begun to shift towards a Latin influence, as they’ve begun collaborating with artists such as Leslie Grace & Reik. With this new collaboration of Hispanic/Latino music and Korean Pop, there is definitely going to be a rise in popularity for this group in the near future.

Additionally, I’d like to shout out Hyuna, a solo artist who has demonstrated her dedication to her singing career despite being embattled in the middle of a controversial issue in Korea. She started her singing career as a trainee for the group Wonder Girls in the late 2000s, but went on to become an official member of the girl group, 4Minute, from 2009-2016. As the main rapper & dancer of the group, she rose to fame with her unique on-stage personality. She had released solo projects on the side such as songs like, “Change” and “Bubble Pop.” Once 4Minute disbanded in 2016, she continued to follow her solo career and releasing songs like “Lip & Hip” & “Babe”. She was also part of the trio Triple H with two members from the group, Pentagon, Hui & E’Dawn.

Unfortunately, just a month ago, her company, Cube Entertainment, decided to release a statement online about removing her due to her secret relationship with Triple H member E’Dawn because of a strict no dating policy. Though they retract their statement by stating it was not officially confirmed, she decided to leave the company with E’Dawn so that they can be free to date without a company destroying their feelings for each other. I have hope that she will continue to succeed without Cube Entertainment holding her back.

Now, of course, as a fan of 9 years, there is one group I hold in higher regard than any other. The girl group 2NE1 will forever remain my favorite for one sole reason: their love towards their fans.

2NE1 formed officially in 2009 and remained active until 2016. This girl group stands out above other 2nd generation artists as they were considered the “girl crush” type of style in their performances. The members include CL the main rapper, Bom Park as main vocals, Dara as the overall visuals of the group, and Minzy the main dancer. One of their most viewed songs on YouTube is “I Am The Best”, which will seem familiar as most commercials have featured this song for electronic products. During their active years, they had their own show called 2NE1 TV, where they allowed fans in to see their bond with each other behind the scenes from their busy lives as artists. 2NE1 also competed for MTV Iggy’s Best New Band in 2011 & won this title where they were able to perform their music for fans worldwide on MTV.

Unfortunately, when the member Bom Park’s name started appearing in the news for a controversial scandal involving medication and being prescribed them in a different country that doesn’t follow South Korea’s laws, the girl group fell into a hiatus for about a year and then appeared in the 2015 MAMA Awards in South Korea for what would be the last appearance as a group. A few months later, the girls officially announced their disbandment, and ended their time together with their heartbreaking song, “Goodbye”.

Since this group had been my favorite for years, it broke my heart…to the point where it almost felt like I was going to quit my interest in K-POP. But being part of this fan-base reminded me that, even though they are no longer together as a group, we should still support them in their solo endeavors. As of right now, CL is trying to debut as an artist in America, Bom has made a recent appearance in the Netflix show YG Future Strategy Office and has been teasing a possible comeback, Minzy is a solo artist who just graduated university, and Dara is back home in the Philippines doing talk shows & traveling the world.

As a K-POP fan, I can wholeheartedly tell you that the dedication you put towards the genre goes a long way into helping you connect with not only the artists, but the culture surrounding the genre.

With that said, there’s actually a lot more that goes into supporting an artist’s music. Of course, you an buy merchandise from trusted sites or shops, attend K-Con Los Angeles or New York for an ultimate K-POP experience, and create forums to connect with other fans around the world. Honestly, just being an international fan allows you to gain so much respect for the artist and their dedication to become a well-known sensation. There’s so much heart and soul that goes into the music and choreography alone, that fans are willing to make the artist has taken the time to take care of themselves. They will even ensure that an artist eaten or slept enough before seeing them live.

Overall, I recommend that everyone jump into the so-called “bandwagon” and show your support for the K-POP community. It’s amazing to see that K-Pop as a whole is finally being represented in the United States with plenty of support from American celebrities. One thing is for certain; K-Pop won’t be fading away anytime soon.

Written by: Sofia Gomez