Defying Expectations

Girls have taken skateboarding by storm, defying gender expectations. 

Since the 1960s girls have embraced the sport to showcase athleticism, freedom of movement, and daring behavior that has earned them accolades.

They fashioned unique clothing styles and asserted their self-empowerment in a male-dominated sport.

Judi Oyama, one of the few Asian American women in professional skateboarding, made her debut at age 16. In 2018 she was inducted into the Skateboard Hall of Fame.

Judi Oyama, 1978

Judi Oyama, 1978

Courtesy of NHS, Inc., photographer John Krisik

Judi Oyama's Skateboard Helmet, 1979

Gift of Judi Oyama

Judi Oyama wore this helmet while racing during the late 1970s and into the 1980s.

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Why does this trophy have a boy on top?

Judi Oyama's Trophy, 1979

Gift of Judi Oyama

Judi Oyama was awarded this trophy in 1979 at a skateboarding competition in Berkeley, California.

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Cindy Whitehead grew up in Southern California, where she aspired to be a professional skateboarder but found few female role models. At age 15, she was the first girl skateboarder featured in the centerfold of a skateboard magazine. One year later, she became a professional "vert" skateboarder.

Cindy Whitehead, 1977

Cindy Whitehead, 1977

Courtesy of Whitehead Family Archives

Cindy Whitehead's Jersey, around 1980

Gift of Cindy Whitehead

Cindy Whitehead wore this jersey as a member of the Sims skate team in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

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Skateboard, 2013

Gift of Cindy Whitehead and Dwindle Inc. dba Dwindle Distribution

Cindy Whitehead designed this prototype and founded the brand "Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word" to make girls more visible in a male-dominated sport.

The shape and design of the board is modeled from Sims Skateboards that she rode during her professional career.

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See Girlhood in 3D! Explore a model of the jersey.