On silence

If you hadn’t heard, following my email to the Head of Specialized, and his formal apology for “the pink issue” (as I heard it described), Total Rush Cycling followed suit.

What we saw, and objected to, was a small symptom of a societal issue that runs far deeper. One which transcends cycling and sport. But that’s for another day.

Today, we can celebrate because small voices were heard. Some big voices joined in too.  Three members of the Lululemon Specialized Women’s Cycling team; a prominent journalist or two; a Tour de France winner.

But equally, many stayed silent, only joining the conversation after its conclusion.

I received several private messages of congratulations or thanks from prominent voices that stayed silent despite my personal plea to them. Another prominent voice, arguably the most influential female in cycling, initially pledged to contact me. My phone has since stayed silent.

Of course, I can’t pretend to know what private conversations or actions occurred, but in the public arena, silence is often construed as consent. Every interaction creates social norms, and therefore if you disagree, the onus is on you to say so. As Elie Wiesel, political activist and Nobel Prize winner said,

 “We must always take sides…Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

So never be silent. Even if your opinion is different to mine. Because its healthy, constructive dialogue that leads to change.  And because in the words of that great philosopher Dr Seuss,

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” 

Don’t want to stay silent?

The Representation Project

Destroy The Joint

Everyday Sexism Project

Thanks for listening. And watch this space…

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