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Bike Talk: Women, Cycling, & The Media


As far as I have always known, the bicycle was a tool to liberate women. But what happens when you use something that has been liberating to reducing women to images that react to the desires of consumption? The basic theme remains the same: women are objects to sell, to be trained to consume and be sexually consumed. Very frequently now, I run across images on sites of our sisters half naked on a bike to sell a product, and I find it deeply offensive that bikes as tools of women's liberation are used to reduce women to this.

I get it, men are easy to buy, it's all part of the consumer-capitalist cycle targeting men to buy into a lifestyle of the commodification of all things human. Perhaps that's why ads, tested products, and stories are all geared towards men. All while, the cycling industry says that more women need to take cycling seriously if they want to be taken seriously. Really bro? As if putting a half naked woman or man on a product is going to appeal to us. I think it's you who needs to take us seriously.

It's not rocket science to get the data and find that women of all backgrounds are highly interested in cycling. Cities know that to have more women cycling, you have create the infrastructure, just how the industry needs to create the infrastructure to appeal to women to use their products. Unsurprisingly, women realize this is a problem, which is why they are rising in creating products and boutiques to sell to women, Cycle Chic and Po Campo are a great example.

If the industry wants women to represent their brand and buy their products, we need ordinary women who bike to relate to. Not models. We need stories, reviews, and ads that look like us, diverse in all our ways. Till then, women won't take your brand seriously. As women in cycling are growing, will the industry and media open it's doors to us? Is it prepared or willing to take on the status quo or ready to lead in creating the infrastructure for women to lead.

4 comments

SuperKat said...

im glad you covered this topic. I totally agree with your point on reducing the image of females on bikes. I can't stand when men try to hit on me while riding..im effin working here man I dont have time for you. pictures like these do only cater to men, women cyclists are concerned about safety more so than sexuality while riding. Yeah some of us wanna look cute all the time, but thats another thing..

jorjiapeach said...

yessssss.

Miss Bentley said...

Great post. I've been becoming increasingly more uneasy of the images Chicks and Bikes choose to post for a while now.

Some of these images beg the question- which is being portrayed as the more desirable object- the bike or the woman?

Dottie said...

I just want to say that I love this post, along with all the writing you've been doing lately. This is a subject that pisses me off, but I never have the energy to write about it.

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