By Nick Hussey, 23 December 2010 | Comments (3)
I was brought up by my Mum to respect women. I took it a bit too far and this lead me to turn down some fairly obvious sexual passes from girls when I was younger, but regrets and ineptitude make for bad blogging, so let's move on...
Today's premise is: The world of cycling as a whole (but not in parts) does not respect women. Women cyclists are treated as sex objects only.
The Cyclepassion 2011 calendar is out. Cyclepassion.com. It's a symptom of an issue that pervades cycling. The fact that it actually features pro cyclists makes my skin crawl. Now ladies in skimpy outfits are very nice (I'm a lacy undies, rather than a PVC man myself), but it just continues to reinforce women cyclists as sexual objects only, and therefore not to be taken seriously. If a female cyclist is at the top and wants to make money, she needs to be pretty, and preferably with big boobs and have no issue with stretching an inner tube over her nipples. The calendar is a private venture to make money, so not overseen by the dark (and essentially crap) auspices of the UCI. It's just indicative of the rather demeaning opportunities for the Little Ladies.
It's not so long ago that women couldn't even race. They still aren't given the same distances as men, symptomatic of the patronising attitude towards the 'weaker sex'. Never mind that women are closing the gap on men in all sports, especially in endurance. Women famously may (still not conclusively proven, but it makes sense) have a higher pain threshold, giving them an advantage in cycling. So why do they do short, more explosive events, rather than as long as men? Or even longer?! Why on earth do women do a 3000m pursuit and men 4000m? And women 500m TT and men the Kilo?? It's a joke. Why make the distances shorter? To make it easier for the poor little girlies? Women will ride just as hard.
It's the same with podium girls. The most common way any impressionable 9 year old boy or girl will see a woman in cycling coverage is grinning like a Stepford Wife at a sweaty stick man, boobs squeezed skyward. (The women below are positively over-dressed, I just like their ridiculous juxtaposition with Ugliest Man in Cycling).
Go On, Kiss Him, I Dare You
This is practically the sole representation of women in TV coverage, since women's racing is rarely on TV. I've only ever seen one example of podium boys, and they all look like ridiculous inflated hairless gay stereotypes anyway:
Podium Boys. Mmm, Hairless.
I have a picture of Victoria Pendleton on the wall of my bike room. She's posing sexily. I don't think that makes me a hypocrite (Maybe it does, answers on a postcard or below, please). I'm a straight man who finds women (especially cyclists!) sexy. But if my wife fancied male cyclists (she doesn't, sadly) she's not going to find anything at all. Sexuality is part of us all. But when it's one-sided it's unfair, oppressive even.
Oh, hang about.....
Ok, so APART from that (doh) there are NO examples of sexy men (Is oil and cycling shoes sexy??)..... But I don't even GET this ad anyway, who is this aimed for? Gay men? Women who buy their men racing shoes? Or probably just a wee boney-shouldered pro with an ego the size of Moser's disk wheel.
That's Going To Chafe A Bit
As for the wider question of how its going to change, I guess it's societal, helped along by bureaucratic plonkers like the UCI. But then that means laying down more ridiculous ill-thought out laws.
Oh balls, it's all so complicated. I'm off to ogle Becky James in a skinsuit whilst The Good Lady attempts to get aroused by Ivan Basso and his polystyrene helmet.
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