Our Action Packed Summer continues! Here we delve deeper with professional surfer, world adventurer and eco-feminist, Lauren Hill.
(Missed our earlier feature on Lauren? Find out more of her story by reading it here.)
Not only does Lauren focus on environmental sustainability but also on encouraging female empowerment and helping shift common stereotypes of women in the world of surfing. We wanted to find out more about her involvement and how beauty plays a part.
Read on for our Q&A…
Q: Can you tell us more about what it means to be an “eco-feminist”?
A: Eco-feminism is just a word that combines my passions for empowering women and caring for the non-human world, simultaneously. We all belong to environmental and social systems that support us and allow us to thrive as multifaceted beings. The healthier these systems are, the healthier we are as individuals and as societies.
Eco-feminism has to do with the eradication of pollution. From an ecological perspective, this means realizing, educating, and working to end behaviors that threaten the ecology of the planet. From a feminist perspective, this means eradicating the mental, physical, and ideological “pollution” that a patriarchal system creates as it divides through oppression.
Q: Have you seen a positive shift to empower women within the world of surfing and sports? How?
A: Definitely. We’ve come a long, long way since policies like Title IX were enacted. What I’ve experienced consistently in my travels though are amazing women challenging themselves, taking risks and empowering themselves.
I’m not sure about other sports, but surfing is a great example of how backward some sports still are in their treatment of women; professional female surfers are generally paid significantly less than comparable male surfers, they receive less prize money in competitions, and mainstream media sources, when they cover women’s surfing at all, tend to hyper-sexualize female surfers rather than focusing on their surfing prowess.
Despite the lack of institutionalized support, women’s surfing is more diverse and of a higher caliber than ever before!
When I travel I get to meet women who are creating culture for themselves by making ‘zines, blogging, writing, making art, and telling their stories. They are working from the bottom up to shift dominant perceptions of what it means to be a surfer. Surfing is just a microcosm; as women, we have to change the old stories and imagery for ourselves.
Q: India, Australia, the California coast…your journey has taken you to all ends of the Earth. Have you noticed different culture’s have different perceptions of beauty?
A: Yes, in many ways. I love how different shapes and sizes and colors are considered beautiful in many different cultures. But, something that I’ve really been noticing lately is the consistent focus and encouragement for women to change their skin color. In the West, the dominant trend is to be tan. So lots of women dye their skin with self-tanner or go to tanning beds. And throughout Asia white skin is cherished, so many women protect their skin from the sun at the cost of living and playing outdoors, or they bleach their skin.
The common thread being that all over the world women are striving to be different than they are. We’re collectively buying into the idea that we’re not good enough as we are.
Q: When do you feel most beautiful?
A: When I’m amongst sunshine, sand, and sea.
Q: Surfer, activist, writer, the list goes on! What do you feel is the most rewarding part of what you do?
A: Sharing stories and connecting with inspiring women.
Q: One core element of your environmental philosophy is making sure to use sustainable products that don’t contribute to the pollution of the Earth and its waters, therefore counting you as an Ambassador of Juice Beauty is the highest compliment! We have to ask, what’s your favorite product?
A: Being in the sun and surf is my job. As much as I love it, I also want to protect my skin from overexposure to UV rays. Equally important is minimizing exposure to synthetic chemicals and nano particles that make-up many SPF concoctions— and preventing those chemicals from leaching into the ocean.
I love Juice Beauty SPF 30 Sport because it smells fresh and yummy, it’s easy to apply, doesn’t pollute ocean ecosystems, and it contains only Zinc as an active ingredient- no fillers, no chemical barrier sunscreens, no parabens, no nasty hidden ingredients. It’s straightforward skin protection with high SPF, plus the kind of nourishing ingredients that my skin desperately needs while being exposed to the elements.
Want to try the SPF 30 Sport for yourself? Get it in the limited edition Summer Survival Kit, along with the Oil-Free SPF 30 Moisturizer and Hydrating Mist, plus special gifts from Zobha Yoga and CLIF Bar to keep you protected, looking great and feeling nourished while in the great outdoors this summer! Shop it by clicking here.