Why don´t more Girls like jumping of walls? - TEDX talk

Dominik aus Bratislava hat mir (und vlt einigen anderen) heute dieses Video geschickt und mich nach meiner Meinung gefragt - was mich wirklich wahnsinnig gefreut hat :smiley:
Es geht darin um die Frage, warum nicht mehr Frauen Parkour machen und welche Barrieren es gibt, die den Einstieg erschweren
Ich würde das daher gerne zum Anlass nehmen um auch hier im Forum eine Diskussion zu dem Thema zu starten, und würde mich daher über Meinungen möglichst vieler Menschen freuen, weil ich denke es ist ein wichtiges Thema, nicht nur was die Thematik Frauentraining, sondern Inklusion allgemein betrifft

und hier noch mein persönlicher Senf dazu (in englisch, da ich in eig an Dominik geschickt hatte und grade zu faul zum übersetzen bin :P)

First of all a few things I don´t agree on: I don´t think that today the lack of female role models is that severe anymore. There are lots of female pro parkour athletes, and many have big Instagram accounts and lots of followers etc, but I think a few years ago this was probably not the case, and of course there are still more men. Personally, I never really needed role models in parkour anyway, because for me that is not what the philosophy is all about, because it is not important what someone else does, it is only important what I want to do on this journey. But I understand that a 13 year old girl might feel different.
second: I think the underrepresentation of women doing parkour in the media is not specifically a parkour problem, but a sports problem in general – in every discipline (maybe except gymnastics and other typical “female” sports) women are underrepresented in the media. The fact that the general public is only interested in big, “sick” jumps further contributes to this, because its just a fact that men will tend to be better at these things. It is also annoying that if a girl does something cool, it´s not perceived as good just because it was a nice line etc, but because “it was good for a girl”.
Third: regarding coaching: I think a coach should indeed challenge guys and girls in the same way and in general treat them equally, but I think it is also important to consider physical and mental differences (between sexes and between individuals). Overcoming a 2m wall is much easier for a 1,90 guy than for a 1,60 girl. A coach should communicate to its trainees that there are individual differences, and also sometimes sex differences, but that that´s ok, everybody has different strengths and works with what they got.
I think that parkour is mostly a male dominated sport, and I agree that this “boy code” exists (in one way or the other), and that it can be repulsive to girls, but also to boys who don´t represent the stereotypical male traits like being competitive, ambitious, “being hard” etc. As far as toxic training environment are concerned: yes, they exist, in some communities more than in others and I have experienced them in some cases. Disrespectful comments, being ignored at trainings and feeling like you are not welcome at a spot because you feel like you are constantly in somebodys way doing “sicker” lines than you are all issues. I think many girls tend to be a bit shyer and more quite than most boys (not true for everyone of course, but maybe by tendency), and quite frankly, it is very hard for a (young) girl to make herself noticeable at a spot where a bunch of guys are training bigger stuff and demand to do her own little lines inbetween. I also constantly battle the feeling of not being able to keep up, not being good enough. There are physiological differences between sexes which play a role in training progress, and consequently, if we just measure skill in distance jumped, this will often result in males progressing faster. It also often feels like you have to train twice as hard as a girl to even be noticed.
But I think the main issue is not just a boy-girl thing, but rather how we value people in parkour (or luckily, not all of us, but some people do): it often feels like you are only respected if you are “sick” enough. If you can pull that jump. Like your value as a person and your right to train at a spot are dependent on your skills as traceur and traceuse. And that is plain bullshit and toxic, to girls and guys alike, but I think it m hay often hit girls harder.
I for myself can say that in the Parkour Vienna community most of the time I have felt respected, valued and included, but of course other people can feel differently, and nevertheless I still have to figth my own feelings of inadequacy (but then again, who doesn´t…). And there are other training groups in which I felt like this definitely was not the case, and with for that reason I don´t train with any more.

So in the end: I think especially the boy code and toxic training environment are an issue, but also the way we value people in general – a person is not worth more because they jump further.
I think it is great if male athletes make the effort to considered how it might feel to be training in a mostly male community as a girl. That you often see males progressing faster than you, especially strength wise, despite you training more or longer. That you sometimes have to be very loud to also get to do something at a spot, when everybody is busy doing their own lines and doesn’t pay attention if other people also wanna use the spot. That by default you are often considered of less capable, because you are just a girl.
This effort of a male athlete (in this case Dominik) to reach out already shows a great deal of compassion and I highly value it.
I think if we all payed attention to girls and guys that are maybe less extroverted and less confident and actively try to involve them, show them that is not just jumping distance that counts, and that they are respected as a person and for trying, and not defined by their skills and succeeding or failing at a certain jump.
And since we can not look into another persons mind, the best way to become more sensitive in these issues is to talk to other traceurs and traceuses about this topic and ask how they feel about it :blush:

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Puh! A lot to think about… Where schould I start.

First. I fell like we have a very good community in Vienna and a lot of open minded and tolerant people, what I cherish a lot. Therfore we have quite some girls doing Parkour on a pretty sick level. This is a thing, that a like in our community.

But… I think it is engrained deep in our culture and thinking. Boy. The boy code hit hard :sweat_smile: “Willst anreißen, oder dich anscheißen?” Like Kitkat said, this can influence Men as bad, as it can Girls, but i think it affects Girls more often. A lot of Girls i train with, are just used to this kind of talk and do it as well :upside_down_face:
I try my best to be mindfull and include everyone, but i chatch myself now and then, beeing unnecessary hard, or mansplaining thing. To be fair, it is one of my flaws and I do this to guys to :sleepy:

I only once met a group of traceures, that were really toxic. (They wanted me to do a Flip while Drunk) They had pretty shitty attitudes towards training and not going all out, all the time. But I think you cant avoid these type of People. Some people are just pricks.

I think we have a pretty neat community here and I woukd love to improve even more. I think it is great that we have some spokesgirls, that are a strong voice for female Traceures.
Thank you Kathi

Go Luisa :muscle: hab dich in dem anderen Video von Sen gesehen.

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Puh, großes und komplexes Thema! Aber danke fürs Anschneiden :slight_smile:

Für mich persönlich waren Vorbilder im klassischen Sinne auch nie wirklich wichtig, weder bei Parkour noch in anderen Bereichen. Aber ich könnte mir vorstellen, dass das für jüngere Mädchen oder einfach andere Persönlichkeiten vielleicht eine größere Rolle spielt. Gibts jemand von euch, der/die eine Art Vorbild hat/hatte?

Für mich ist da auch die Grenze zur “Medienpräsenz” irgendwie fließend. Und die hat schon einen großen Einfluss, finde ich, auch wenn da sicher viel auch unterbewusst abläuft. Und ich glaub auch, dass es nicht nur um die Darstellungen in den Medien geht. Sondern gerade bei Parkour auch um die öffentliche Wahrnehmung. Also quasi um jedes Training, bei dem wir in der Öffentlichkeit sind. Und da sind wir in Wien vergleichsweise ganz gut unterwegs (so zumindest das oft gehörte Feedback einiger Traceure aus anderen Ländern). Aber wir wollen uns ja nicht zu lange auf den Lorbeeren ausruhen :wink:

Nachdem ich viel allein oder mit einzelnen Personen trainiere bekomm ich vom boy code nicht so viel mit. Kann aber gut nachvollziehen welche unangenehmen Trainingssituationen es da geben kann bzw. es bei mir auch schon gegeben hat. Aber ich weiß garnicht, was man da wirklich ändern kann. Außer selber für eine positive Trainingsatmosphäre sorgen oder ev. ansprechen, wenn etwas auffällt (und Feedback angenommen werden kann).

Keine Ahnung, ob das nur meine Wahrnehmung ist, aber für mich ist Parkour auch noch einmal ein wirklich spezieller Fall. Einerseits ist er mit einer starken Erwartungshaltung verknüpft: Parkour ist “cool” (“Do a backflip”). Auf der anderen Seite hat es total viel mit Risikoeinschätzung, Angst und Überwindung zu tun. Das sind viele Situationen, in denen man eher struggled als “cool” ist. Außerdem trainiert man oft öffentlich - jeder kann zuschauen. Das allein erfordert schon mal viel Mut mit dem Sport zu beginnen. Gerade am Anfang, wenn das mit der Körperwahrnehmung vielleicht noch etwas schwierig ist und man sich bei neuen Bewegungen “blöd” vorkommt. Wenn man sich dann in der Trainingsatmosphäre nicht wohl fühlt oder der boy code dazukommt, ist halt eine echte Challenge.

Aber riesiges Thema und sicher noch unglaublich viele ungenannte Aspekte…

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I basically agree with most of the things mentioned in the video. It would take a while to leave a comment on all the mentioned aspects so i just limit myself on the topics i think are the most important. Firstly i would like to start with „the boys code“. In fact it exists and is regularly used in our trainings but in my opinion its not correct to only see it as an girls based „attack“. Lets not forget that there are also sayings as „dont be gay“ which is also kind of insulting to other stereotypes if we want to be specific. Nevertheless we defenetly should try to avoid the use of such sayings in close future but i personally wouldnt be too mad on someone who in the moment trying to push me and accidently uses them. I am convinced the aim was not to upset me or other girls. (And funnily often those words are also used by girls amoung themeselves)
Also with sayings like „go to the kitchen“ or „girls shouldnt jump“ i have not been confronted yet by a traceur since i started doing parkour in 2016. Maybe its only my luck that i had always the pleasure to train with guys that never dared to say such words but even IF i wouldn‘t just start to put all the guys into one box but more be concerned about HIS mindset and background if he has such point of view thesedays. (and probably i would not continue to train with him and focus on persons who doesn‘t share such opinion). But also in this case i wouldn‘t just look on the boys/traceurs but also on the non traceur females which have the opinion that jumping is not a girl thing. This is a mindset which should defenetly change and way more to present parkour as a non genderrelated sport. As Kitkat and Radieschen have already mentioned: Talking is the key! We can’t look through someones forehead and do straight assume that a person doesn’t welcome us.
Young Parents nowadays should not copy the „old school“ view form their parents that every sport has their gender but start to be openminded and let their children choose their prefered activity. Also already grown up women shouldn’t see sports as an way to ONLY get a nice bikini body afterwards but that movement offers so much more. Parkour is way much more than just flips and dangerous tricks. Even if there is so much more to talk i will stop here. :blush:

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Das mit dem “trainieren in der Öffentlichkeit”, sehe ich auch als einen sehr nennenswerten Punkt! Vor allem als weibliche Anfängerin muss man durchaus am Anfang einiges an Mut aufbringen, wenn mal keiner Zeit hat und man trotzdem gerne trainieren gehen möchte. Da kommen schon oft Gedanken, dass man nicht “gut genug” ist und/oder dass man sich blamieren kann. Klar betrifft das nicht nur die Mädels, jedoch sind Buschen meist schon viel risikofreudiger und auch nach wenigen Sessions auf einem gewissen “Level”. Aber auch wenn man mal mit fortgeschrittenen Traceuren trainiert, kommt man sich doch oft “überflüssig” vor. Hier würd ich jedoch auch versuchen entweder die Atmosphäre aufzulockern (Reden) und/oder mich einfach auf meine Ziele zu konzentrieren und einfach Spaß am Training zu haben. Immerhin soll man ja immer Freude am Training haben und sich zu nichts gezwungen fühlen und das alleine als auch in der Gruppe!

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I agree - and regarding the boy code (I actually don´t like that word, I think because it basically reinforces gender stereotypes even more, but anyway, at least we know what we are talking about, more or less): I don´t even think that it is always bad, and it is true that some girls (including me) sometimes talk/act according to it - because we all adapt our behaviour to some extent to the people surrounding us, in order to fit in. And in some situation being just a lttle bit pushy towards friends, being a little bit cocky and in general just messing around to me can be helpful, fun, and overall just fine. And as Melli said, I am also not always pissed at comments that could be considered sexist, if they come from people who I know for sure respect and accept me and it´s just a joke under friends. I don´t think it is necessary to always be extremely considerate of the lingo we use when training with friends/people we know very well.
But to me, it very much depends on situation and day. When I already feel insecure, because I am having a hard time doing a jump, or just having a bad day, trying to push me and telling me to “stop messing around and just do it” or “show some balls” will not help at all, on the contrary, it will in fact really hurt me and make me feel very bad about myself. I think, again, the solution here is to actively try to be more sensitive and empathic in our training life, because that way you will notice very easily how somebody is currently feeling, and know what to say and what not to say in this moment. I know that reading emotions can be hard for some people, but in these cases it is even more important that you just ask how a person feels, until you develop an eye for it. And for people we don´t know well enough to tell, we should just try to be especially respectful and accepting, until we know what is ok for them and what not.
Of course it helps if people clearly communicate what is ok and what is not ok, but that can be very hard and takes a lot of guts, especially in an adrenalin-loaded, often mostly male training enverionment, when you are new and don´t wanne be perceived as weak or complicated (I think that is btw also an issue, that expressing how you fell often results in being perceived that way)

After all: it should not be the girls* job to “just get a little thick skin” and “don´t be a pussy”, and talking about this issue certainly help. But as Basti said: some people are just pricks, and will probably never change :wink: Unless you really enjoy discussing stuff with peolple like that, my suggestion is to just not go train with them, if they make you feel bad, no matter if you are a girl, boy, or anything inbetween! That won´t change them, but at least will certainly be be healthier for you.

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