Nancy Chang grew up skateboarding in an environment offering highly polarized perceptions of women. Female skaters were viewed as more masculine than non-skater girls, whereas skateboard magazines depicted women as sexualized non-participants. Chang says that she struggled to comprehend to these stereotypical images. "Gender is a spectrum," she says.
Not until her early 20s, after moving to Seattle, did Chang find a supportive community, a group of female skaters, where she could comfortably question stereotypes surrounding gender. The group afforded her, she says, "the opportunity to define what I wanted to be about -- to reclaim feminism for myself."
That led Chang to a local organization, Skate Like A Girl. Co-founded by Fleur Larsen and Holly Sheehan in 2000, SLAG strives to foster inclusive community for girls and young women through skateboarding. SLAG offers one-day clinics and skateboard camps and sponsors summer tours that expose other girls to the sport. SLAG also provides girls the opportunity to be positive leaders. "Skating doesn't have to be a party culture," says Chang, currently co-director with Larsen.
"Fundamentally, the SLAG community is about dialogue," Chang emphasizes. SLAG creates "a platform for girls to ask questions, share ideas, and engage in discussion so that established social ideologies do not become normalized. SLAG gives young women agency."