The Salt Sirens started in 2017 after I grew tired of reading articles and looking at pictures from the male gaze in just about every major ocean sports outlet. Each article that referenced a woman had to mention that she was great “for a woman” and there was always an underlying assumption that men are the ones who do ocean sports while women simply watch from the beach.
I wanted a place where all ocean-loving women could come and hang out. Freedivers, standup paddlers, kitesurfers, scuba divers, surfers, marine conservationists–as long as you loved the ocean, you are welcome here.
Writers have contributed to The Salt Sirens from the U.K., Malaysia, Kenya, South Africa, the U.S.A., Canada, Australia, Taiwan, the Netherlands, Fiji, Sweden, and more. It’s been awesome to see women (and men) from all around the world share their thoughts and experiences here.
However, I can see where we have failed when it comes to representing and uplifting our community.
Actionable steps we are taking to become more inclusive
Encourage BIPOC* creators to contribute once ad income resumes: Due to the pandemic, income at The Salt Sirens has come to a halt and we have paused taking on contributors for the unknown future. However, once we are in a position to take on contributors again, we will specifically seek out BIPOC, queer, and writers of all ages rather than passively await being pitched.
*BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
Raise awareness of BIPOC ocean all-stars: We will support the athletic, scientific, creative, and conservation endeavors of amazing BIPOC ocean all-stars by providing increased media coverage. This will allow our readers to discover BIPOC role models and support these ocean all-stars in ways that are needed.
Social media and editorial representation: We will actively capture or purchase images that reflect our diverse readership rather than passively reposting images sent to us. The vast majority of images we receive tend to be from white, thin, young women. This has created a culture where those who fall outside of this demographic may not feel included.
Use our platform to amplify marginalized voices and movements: We will repost and share information outside of our website’s posts. For example, detailed information on Black Lives Matter paddle-outs for surfers demanding social justice.
Promote BIPOC-owned businesses: Seek out and promote surf camps, resorts, dive operators, and companies owned by BIPOC ocean lovers.
While we’re still a small website that relies on a trickle of ad money and affiliate income, we have big dreams overtaking the main (unanimously white and male) players in the ocean media industry. We hope that by setting these inclusive foundations early, we can grow an outlet that supports and represents ocean lovers from every age, ability, race, nationality, and background.