If you followed me on Twitter over the weekend, you may have seen me try to make my small voice be heard.
Last week a prominent Melbourne cycling shop held a launch event attended by their equally high-profile and hugely talented women’s cycling team. Their homage to women in sport was to parade naked models in heels, save for a thong and a wash of pink body paint.
Unsurprisingly the photos they later published, replete with leering men in suits, backfired on social media. Their response was, and continues to be to systematically erase and block any negative post, tweet or comment to their social media channels. After 48 hours, and a Facebook 5 star review that was trashed overnight, they issued a statement, maintaining the stunt was “extremely tasteful” and “not at all sexually offensive”. This, despite the barrage of criticism from both men and women, which they continue to delete.
There is no doubt that this shop has been a strong advocate for women’s cycling in the past, but refusing to engage in constructive dialogue on the issue, or even acknowledge that their actions were regressive, degrading, and damaging to women in sport is pure folly. And it hurts. Because we all end up losers.
I want to celebrate the dedication and achievements of our strong, beautiful female athletes, not their tits and ass. I want female cyclists to not have to strip in order to be able to poke their head above the parapet and attract a decent sponsor. I want cycling manufacturers to understand that when I ride next to my male counterpart, its not for their titillation. And I want my local bike store to take 5 minutes to consider whether their next promo might just be as offensive as this.
If you want to follow the conversation, please follow the fearless @catherinedeveney who despite personal attacks from many, many misogynists is still in pursuit.
Then watch this video. And share.
How the Media Failed Women in 2013
And if you want your voice to be heard add your signature here: