Lynsey Dyer: Why “Pretty Faces” Will Be More Than Just Another Successful Kickstarter Campaign

It’s no secret that out­door sports are dom­i­nat­ed by males. Accord­ing to the Out­door Foundation’s Out­door Par­tic­i­pa­tion Report for 2013, out­door par­tic­i­pa­tion rates among ado­les­cent girls is at its low­est since 2006. Today, bare­ly over half of ado­les­cent girls go out­side to recreate.

Pro ski­er and female out­door cham­pi­on, Lynsey Dyer, is look­ing to change that. She’s col­lab­o­rat­ed with Uni­corn Films to bring the world her first all-girl ski film, Pret­ty Faces. Pret­ty Faces (by the way, it was just suc­cess­ful­ly fund­ed at over $100k) hopes to inspire girls to be more active by show­ing young girls that going out­side is pret­ty damn fun. We can’t wait to watch the film so we reached out to Lynsey to find out what to expect.

The Clymb: In one sen­tence — what are you try­ing to accom­plish with Pret­ty Faces?

Lynsey Dyer: We are try­ing to inspire girls to become more active and know what they are capa­ble of by being role models.

The Clymb: Main­stream media has an incred­i­ble effect on girls and their choice of sport. Case in point, archery’s fastest-grow­ing demo­graph­ic is young girls thanks to the Hunger Games. Why is it so impor­tant that media por­trays women as athletes?

Lynsey Dyer: Girls are most influ­enced by media at a young age and they need some­one to show them they have oppor­tu­ni­ties when they are most impres­sion­able. And I LOVE hunger games. Kat­niss – her char­ac­ter in real life is tru­ly an empow­ered female.

This might sound cheesy but girls obsess so much over their looks — if they put just a frac­tion of that ener­gy into their poten­tial and call­ing – I think we can help save the plan­et. Just wor­ry­ing about things like, “What will my friends think – what are my peers gonna think?” I spent 90% of my time when I was young think­ing of that and what if I spent half that time and ener­gy sav­ing the rainforest?

I don’t know who is to fault here – but maybe the ene­my put it into our minds to obsess over dis­trac­tions rather than liv­ing out what we’re here to do. If we can wake girls up and make them believe in their crazy dreams then hope­ful­ly we can impact the world for the better.

I want to make ski­ing look so damn fun that girls want to par­tic­i­pate and need all the help I can get.

The Clymb: I just wrote an arti­cle on the busi­ness of Yoga — women dom­i­nate that activ­i­ty. Why are par­tic­i­pa­tion rates high­er for some activ­i­ties and not so much so for others?

Lynsey Dyer: I think mar­ket­ing has a lot to do with it. Right now action sports as a whole is mar­ket­ed to 16–25 year old guys but I see huge oppor­tu­ni­ty out­side that mar­ket, espe­cial­ly to girls.

The Clymb: Ok – so now that we’re talk­ing to mar­keters, what tip do you have for them?

Lynsey Dyer: Sup­port our film!

The Clymb: What are some of the neg­a­tive influ­ences women get that dis­cour­age them from par­tic­i­pat­ing in the outdoors?

Lynsey Dyer: I think the main one is if they hear at a young age that sports are un-fem­i­nine. As in – they are called a Tomboy. I think it’s the ear­li­est pro­gram­ming we hear. A lot of girls I know [who ski] do the same things that our broth­ers did grow­ing up, did but we know that’s not the norm.

The Clymb: Per­son­al anec­dote: at an ear­ly age, my girl­friend decid­ed soc­cer is not fem­i­nine enough and quit. How often does this hap­pen?

Lynsey Dyer:
This is very very com­mon – that’s what we’re direct­ly try­ing to change. We think girls get the wrong mes­sages – they start to see mes­sages in media that it’s not cool for them to be ath­letes but it is cool to be a sexy pop star – and that’s why we have to get this in media.

The Clymb: I feel like the fem­i­nist move­ment has come a long ways and yet, there still seems to be a long way to go. How can brands, ath­letes, and read­ers con­tribute so women are accept­ed as out­door athletes?

Lynsey Dyer: Stop telling girls “you’re so pret­ty” and “cute” start say­ing “wow what a good per­son you are” “look how brave you are” pro­gram­ming those ideals into them. We think we’re help­ing increase a girl’s self-esteem by telling her she’s pret­ty but real­ly we’re telling her that looks are num­ber one. It’s health­i­er to encour­age a person’s char­ac­ter if you can say “look how brave you are and who you are on the inside.” Those mes­sages tell a kid what mat­ters most. That’s the first thing.

Oth­er thing is take your girls out and be active with them. The great­est thing you can do for a young girl is mod­el how you want them to be. We need empow­ered women to empow­er women and men to be active and sup­port­ive. Just hav­ing a real­ly good time shows kids it’s a fun way to live.

I first think – I think women are a dynam­ic mar­ket. I think they can see right through fake mar­ket­ing. If you want to gen­uine­ly reach women, learn about them and gen­uine­ly respect them in your dai­ly life.

Sec­ond­ly, I think the answers come when com­pa­nies gen­uine­ly lis­ten to the women around them. Women always have an opin­ion if some­one asks them what they want.