Not in "love" with Burton
Dear Mr. Burton,
I admire a man who builds a career and a life around something he loves. Passion is probably one of the greatest motivators for success. Your snowboarding company is a testament to this.
I live in the Vail Valley, home to two world-class ski resorts. The snowboarding culture you’ve created through your company is not just a fashion statement or trend here; it’s a way of life.
While I admire what you have built, I’m not at all impressed with your “Love” line of snowboards and related products. Snowboards with photographs of Playboy Playmates on them completely cross the line.
I believe in the principles of individual freedom and freedom of expression. I try to employ a “live and let live” philosophy, but I also believe in respecting others. As a woman, I would look at the boards emblazed with the naked images, roll my eyes and think they were tacky, immature and rude. But as a mother of two boys, I’m horrified.
I am trying to raise my second- and fifth-grade boys to be kind, respectful men. The influence of “what’s cool” already has invaded my older boy’s decisions; it’s only a matter of time before the younger one follows suit. I struggle to filter inappropriate messages and language they see and hear on TV, in movies, in music, on the Internet, at the skateboard park, even at the neighborhood park.
Please tell me what I’m supposed to say to them when we’re standing in line for the bus up to Beaver Creek to spend the day on the slopes and a group of guys next to us has the entire collection of Burton “Love” boards? Or while we’re on the lift with some guy with one of these boards? Or when we walk by these naked women propped in the racks outside Mid-Vail on our way into lunch? Or on top of the car in the parking spot next to us at the grocery store or the post office? I’ve already started preparing my speech about how photos that depict women this way are offensive to me, how it turns women into objects, not human beings, that it’s incredibly disrespectful and that it’s totally not cool.
Your company is adding to the problem perpetuated by the media. How is this skewed image of women going to affect how boys view girls as they grow up, how they treat them and what will it do to the boys’ perceptions of a healthy relationship?
I understand these limited edition snowboards were designed at the request of two of your professional riders, but they shouldn’t be available to the market in general. In the course of trying to find out more about the line and your company, I happened upon a YouTube clip of a boy discovering the boards on your Web site. And when I say “boy” I truly mean that; though his face is never shown, it is clear from his unchanged voice that he has not reached puberty.
I’m not a stuck-in-the-’80s, mom-jean-wearing prude, but this whole thing really bothered me. An e-mail about your boards is circulating to which I’ve read many responses indicating I’m not the only one.
I’m running this letter as my weekly column in the Vail Trail newspaper. I’ve also decided not to buy anything for my boys made by Burton, including your family of brands: R.E.D., Gravis Footwear, Anon Optics, Analog Clothing, Channel Island and The Program.
You and your wife are raising three boys of your own. I’m appealing to you as a fellow parent. In an interview posted on your Web site, you state, “I’d like to be remembered as a good husband, father, friend, relative and someone who always did the right thing for the sport of snowboarding and the Burton brand.” In this case, I don’t think you’re doing the right thing.
Linda Boyne is an Edwards resident and a regular columnist for the Vail Trail. E-mail comments about this column to email@example.com.
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