Malin Kullberg / Cecilia Lidén

Women in motocross media today are very often extremely sexualised, striking poses, flirting with the camera or even riding in their underwear if riding at all.
Athletes like the strong, educated, entrepreneur Cecilia Lidén, who is both a girly girl with a career in the MakeUp-industry, and a real adrenaline active in all aspect, is a too complex image for the mainstream media to handle. “Being both” is often either exaggerated, or not allowed at all.


Malin Kullberg, Sweden

malinkullberg.se

Malin from Stockholm fell in love with all things motorcycle related early in life. Her first bike she got at sixteen, a Honda NSR 125. Today she rides a Triumph Street Triple R, but dreams of cruising the streets on a well-kept Café Racer.
In her teens she also learned photography and has since taken thousands of images. Since 2010 Malin Kullberg works as a professional photographer. The secret behind a great shot according to Malin, is the genuine connection with the person or item that your capturing- that breaths reality.
Documentary photo has always been an interest for Malin, who always aims to get under the skin of the people she photographs.
In her photo exhibition MOTO FEMME she has portrayed 12 female motorcycle riders across Sweden, in both image and text. The purpose of the exhibition is to change the way we see women, not only within the moto scene, but throughout society. We still see objectified women in semi-nude or pornographic images posing with various bikes, and the fact that this is so socially accepted, has feed Malins urge to give light to the reality of real women in motorcycling. The modern, beautiful, brave and interesting women from real life are the women Malin thinks should be represented in bike images instead of the stereotypical, unattainable bodies we see today. MOTO FEMME also aspires to inspire more females to want to start riding and racing to experience the wonderful two-wheeled lifestyle.
 
"I hope these images and stories will surprise, empower, put a smile on your face and suddenly start longing for clean asphalt and open roads"

 

When and why did you get in to photography?
“I started photographing at twelve years old when I got my first analog Pentax camera. I loved shooting detailed images, I could sit in a field for ten minutes trying the get the setting just right to photograph a dandelion.
I can relate to photographers older than me when they talk about the good old days! Today when everything is digitalized, it's all so simple. You can shoot a hundred photos a minute, and if the image still is not exactly what you had imagined, almost anything is possible to alter in Photoshop.
As I grew older I started getting interested in people. I loved secretly shooting images of people in the city, and still enjoy catching a moment in a really great snapshot- because it's real and authentic.”
What’s your worst/best/most intense moment related to action sports?
“My best memory with my bike, was riding Gotland Ring for the first time- there's no better feeling than getting the full flow around the track. It's all about tact and timing; when you've learned to waltz, you will slowly but surely increase the pace. Enormous focus is needed, but it gives you the most amazing endorphin rush when you set a new record.”
What do you think of the lack of role models for girls and women in male dominated areas? 
“I'm inspired by all the women who has broken new ground, being the first to claim space in a group of men, for example Susie Wolff. We need more female role models to connect with, not objectified bodies.”
How do you see women evolving in the action sports scene?
“It's crucial for women of all ages to have other females to look up to. The whole idea of my photo campaign MOTO FEMME is to portrait relatable, ordinary, beautiful women of all ages, to inspire and empower other women. The women already in the industry needs to get more space and credit, needs to be showcased more.”
What are your hopes for the future of the industry?
“I hope that women become more supportive and unite in the fight for equality, so that we can reach our goals.
I also hope that people will start realizing the massive impact and responsibility media has, and stop accepting the current climate. More women need to have their voices heard, and we need to stop objectifying women, stop the sexualization, and instead focus on people's personalities and abilities.”
What is the number one preconception or prejudice people have about you?
“I think the biggest prejudice people have is that I'm in to fashion, yoga and don't like to work hard and get my nails dirty.”
Do you have a feature or body part that you have been self-conscious about? Do you think low self-esteem in girls and stereotypes in media are connected?
“Media has enormous power over how us women perceive ourselves. It's so shameful and awful how focus is shifted from personal worth, accomplishments and personal traits to just aiming to looking and feeling attractive for other people. It seems we are never allowed to think that we are good enough, and we are constantly fed with the idea that something about us needs improving.”
Is there a difference in how women and men are portrayed in the action sports industry?
“Looking at women in moto as an example, we are flooded with images of naked women posing with rad bikes.  The untrue cliché is that "It's always been like this, and will always be like this".
In commercial ads, in magazines, there are often pictures of women and men in the same frames;
and while he men are fully clothed, confidently sitting on the bikes, or standing masculinity with their arms crossed in cool gear and Kevlar jeans, women are often seen squatting or lying on the floor, beneath the men, or standing in sexy poses behind the men. Of course without suitable clothing, if clothed at all.”
What would you say to people who want to get in to action sports, but think they might not fit in?
“Even if you haven’t seen us yet, we are a growing community of cool, prestigeless, strong – and first and foremost- completely normal and diverse women out there, who just love doing what we are doing. And we’re waiting for you.”
 

Cecilia Liden, Sweden

www.cecilialiden.com

Cecilia is not just active in action sports, but active in general. She’s an entrepreneur who owns and operates one of Swedens best Make up Schools,
and is also a multiple time world champion in Make Up. Cecilia has been in to horse back riding her whole life, and started riding bikes in her 20’s;
enduro, motocross, roadracing and streetbikes. Just turning 40, but feeling like 18 according to herself, Cecilia also does bike stunts for TV and films;
she did the bike stunts as Lisbeth Salander in the famous movie The Girl with the dragon tattoo a few years ago. Next on her bucketlist is to arrange an
off-road trip to Marocko or Dubai, bringing along a great part of her excellent and cool dirtbike-buddies.

 

“I have always been and adrenaline junky and have always felt the need for a thrill. `Full throttle full time´ is my motto and I love all types of actions sports; Love to ride dirtbikes, off-road bikes, roadracing on tracks, dune and desert riding in the lovely dunes of Dubai and Marocko? Diving with sharks and wreck-diving, skiing off-pist and hiking, I love snowboarding off-pist
too, mountain-climbing and rafting – Pretty much everything that gives me a thrill!”

 

What’s your worst/best/most intense moment related to action sports?
“Probably when my break-wire got stuck in my front wheel and I did a frontflip down a 3-step stair-jump? That was pretty intense!”
What/Who is you favorite initiative, project, professional, leader, athlete or brand in the action sports sphere?
“Travis Pastrana. He is so good damn excellent and talented at what he does, always brings that little extra something. Even though he’s done it for so
long, it still looks like him and his friends are just playing around in his backyard. And he seems to be so modest and always give great credit to his
team – An inspiration!”

 

Who is your biggest inspiration in life? Why?
“My grandmother Norma! She has been my idol all my life. Unfortunately she passed away 2 years ago. She raised 4 kids and managed to pursue a great
career as a journalist, travelling worldwide her whole life, retiring when she was 75 years old? Just to start working as a travel guide until the age of 81! 
She always had full throttle and combined it with both family and career, and we are talking the 50´60´s 70´s.”
What do you think of the lack of role models for girls and women in male dominated areas?
“I think girls overall sadly has a lack of self-confidence and are not taking enough space when it comes to work/careers and as athletes. I think that
if girls see other girls as role models more often, and see girls that have succeeded in an action sport or career, they get a little extra push – and
that´s probably something they need.”

 

How do you see women evolving in the action sports scene?
“I think we need more action for girls, attracting them to the sports and letting them continue. I’ve worked hard for the girls in motocross, trying to gain higher status and more activities for girls in the Swedish MX scene. If more and more active girls keep pushing and pulling the strings, we will
make it happen.”
What are your hopes for the future of the industry?
“I hope girls get better status and more respect in the motocross and motorcycle industry. More than just being “cute” when riding?”
What is the number one preconception or prejudice people have about you?
“People are normally caught by surprise when I say I ride and compete in motocross and perform motorcycle stunts. I am quite petite and would be
considered a real girly girl, paying good attention to my looks, and working in the beauty industry as a Makeup-artist; So people don´t really expect
me to ride bikes.”

Do you have a feature or body part that you have been self-conscious about? Do you think low self-esteem in girls and stereotypes in media are
connected?
“Low self-esteem of teenage girls is definitely connected to the Medias stereotypes. Most teenagers really struggle to fit into the box and the
“normal” of today’s trends and looks. ”

 

What would you say to people who want to get in to action sports, but think they might not fit in?
“Everybody fits in! You just need to put your mind into it. Don´t be shy, just go with the flow”