Rolling towards the staircase, Junior Aubrey Jee’s worries of falling are drowned out by the cheers of friends behind her. She jumps. She lands. Her friends roar, and she rolls confidently away.
Jee taught herself to skateboard at the beginning of the pandemic and, since then, has used it as a way to connect with her feminist side.
“I think [skateboarding]makes me unique and it shows that I’m able to do things that a lot of men do,” Jee said. “It’s a very male-oriented sport, so I like being able to show off that girls are able to skateboard.”
Jee’s first encounter with a skateboard was in elementary school, when her dad took her skateboard shopping. “I found that I was really bad at it so I didn’t like it. I rolled around for a few months and then I was done,” Jee said.
It wasn’t until the pandemic hit that she picked up a skateboard again, alongside her friend Guy Robbins.
Jee said skateboarding became their bonding activity and, from there, her friendship with Robbins grew quickly.
“We started out like strangers, and then became like siblings,” Robbins said. “[Aubrey] has done a lot [for me]. She’s introduced me to new stuff, like exploring new areas, and meeting new people.”
Jee also said that her friendships with Robbins and other skateboarders have contributed to her love for the sport: “That really drives me, just making new friends, and being able to be a part of the skateboarding community…progress isn’t necessarily the only reason why you should skateboard” Jee said.
In order to stay close to the skateboarding community, Jee plans to attend college in Los Angeles. “The majority of the girls who skate are in LA, and so it’s way easier to become part of the community when more people are there,” Jee said.
Most importantly to Jee, is embodying the feminist movement throughout her participation in the sport. Jee said she wants to empower other women and young girls to skateboard, by continuing to pursue a heavily male-dominated sport.
“It’s very surprising for most men to see a little girl be able to do something they can, or be able to do something they don’t expect. And that’s always the most satisfying part of [skateboarding], just being able to prove people wrong, or being able to surprise people, and breaking those stereotypes,” Jee said.