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Article on the Front Page
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Did anybody else read the article on the front page of slowtwitch about the future of triathlon. Featuring this paragraph I was a little taken aback. And I'm just looking for how other women might feel about this. Then again I think that people who make generalized statements about entire groups of people are probably not paying much attention.

Do you believe women are weak? Fearful? Unequipped? Unable to exert? Unmotivated to compete? Because that’s what we all thought; what we all said. What do you think now? I ask this because what we all said about women is what we are all saying now about Millennials. Maybe they’re not weak, fat, lazy, uncompetitive, unequipped. Maybe they’re waiting for something from us that they haven’t seen yet.
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Re: Article on the Front Page [Miamiamy] [ In reply to ]
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I read it to suggest that triathlon companies erroneously assumed that women were too weak, etc, to be a significant force in triathlon. I think the author was saying that triathlon companies have made similar false assumptions about millenials.
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Re: Article on the Front Page [Miamiamy] [ In reply to ]
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The quotes below are from Herbert's article about the SwimRun in North Carolina

"When teams register on runsignup we check athletic resumes from the past 24 months and typically expect Half Marathon times faster than 2 hours, Half IM times sub 6 hours and Full IM times sub 14:00 in order to be accepted. "

It's been a while since I ran a sub-2 hour 1/2 mary. I'm not saying it couldn't still be done, but it's a lot of effort and pain that I didn't used to have. My point is that I won't be in that "great race" because I don't qualify. I wish them well, but I will spend my multisport money somewhere else. Hopefully, this brings light to the rest of the multisport malaise, at least on the women's side. It's that they don't feel like they fit in or that they're good enough.

Wag More, Bark Less
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Re: Article on the Front Page [Miamiamy] [ In reply to ]
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 the premise "that's what we all thought, we all said" doesn't seem airtight :>
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Re: Article on the Front Page [kiki] [ In reply to ]
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I'm on my 3rd edit here. Yikes.

I agree, and it did make me pause when I initially read the article. I thought, "really? Did any group of guys truly think this?"

I kind of dismissed the analogy in the article about millennials because I thought it was a literary device that didn't quite ring true. I thought the point was about raising expectations, so I though, "eh, fine. Whatever."

I just re-read Herbert's call for more women to race the swimrun. The qualifying time for half marathon is 2hrs? That seems ok, but only because I could do it. I originally read it to say the qualifying time for a full marathon was 2hr-something. My brain stopped caring at that point.

Is a qualifying time of 2hrs for a half too fast? I don't know. I think a person who puts on a half marathon would know better than me. How many women can do it?

I don't think I read posts carefully enough. Please disregard my foolishnes here.
Last edited by: CalamityJane88: Jan 10, 18 12:16
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Re: Article on the Front Page [Miamiamy] [ In reply to ]
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I just read it now and I think the author could have written this in a much more... tasteful and meaningful way. If he's talking about gender inequality in sports - whether it is how marketers, advertisers, or sportsmen have perceived and treated female sports participants and/or athletes - it would have made more sense if it was written as such rather than using gross generalisations aboutt women and then comparing us to millennials (like ... wtf?). I don't know what the author is talking about us "waiting for something" from them (men), sorry we can train, sort out our gear, and compete on our own just fine.

It appears that others have also struggled to understand what the author meant. This particular paragraph sinks an otherwise good and interesting article.
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Re: Article on the Front Page [Miamiamy] [ In reply to ]
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For the last two days I have debated whether to respond. But, my 2018 "resolutions" included adding my voice when I felt I had something I wanted to say, especially in an arena where dissent is likely (and where I usually simply keep quiet). This is the era of #metoo, after all, and there's an actual request here to say how I feel about this. So, here it is.

I am the "oldest" of GenX, with parents who came of age in the 1950s but didn't enter the 60s revolution in substantive ways, and they sheltered me and my two sisters in part because we were girls. On TV I watched both Miss America and Julie Moss crawl across the finish line. As a young adult I attended a very liberal Seven Sisters college, and when he dropped me off, my dad said, "Please don't come home barefoot and braless," somehow not realizing that I was already both those things pretty regularly. I went on to write a PhD dissertation on development of semantics and have spent the last 30ish years earning money by telling people, "This is what you wrote. This is what it sounds like to your audience. This is what I think you probably meant" (i.e., professor, editor). I have spent a whole lot of time with women, with millennials, and with men who post on Slowtwitch.

As per Dan's article:
1. Words matter. As an editor, I'd have told Dan that the paragraph MiamiAmy quoted was going to set off some alarms and detract from his message.

1a. Mirror, please. All of us, regardless of "gender," tend to use words that carry implications we may not realize and often don't want. I find the Internet fascinating as a way to hear views outside those of my personal circle. I am continually astonished by the number of women who talk about "visits from Aunt Flo." Is "menstruation" or "my period" somehow inappropriate or too embarrassing to say? I definitely do not think I am "pathetic," and I never refer to my genitalia as "Queen," "Princess," or some other form of royalty. I understand why people like those terms; I just think they come with baggage I don't want to carry. And what is with "I want to prove it to myself" (from men too but especially from women) -- to me that sounds as if we have some doubt that we can. When I hear that, I think, Can't you just say, "I want to do something really challenging"? Why in the world do you have to prove anything to anyone, let alone yourself???? Did you at some point, or do you now feel "...fearful? unequipped? unable to exert? unmotivated to compete?" And when I hear, "I was bullied/unathletic/low in self-esteem growing up, and that is why I tri," I hear "I was fearful" and a whole lot of other things that sound like "girls weren't supposed to X, and it was really hard for me to 'do me.'" All that leads directly to ...

2. Regardless of the words, I agree with Dan's underlying point. Many men -- and a whole lot of women -- did -- and still do -- show at least an inkling of a belief that women are weak(er), un(der)equipped, and unmotivated (again, often without realizing it or consciously meaning it). A lot of us were raised that way. Others have it so ingrained in their socialization that they don't always realize it. How many posts have I seen where women say they don't know how to change a tire or do other simple mechanics -- and they often phrase it as, "Oh, I could never do that!!!" instead of "OMG that is awesome, I cannot wait to learn that important part of riding a bike." I cannot remember how many times I asked my local tri club to host a womens-only mechanics clinic where we could take our bikes apart and reassemble them under the watchful eye of an expert. When clinics happened, they were almost always a man demonstrating how to deal with a flat tire. It took my local bike shop (which employs at least two women as mechanics) to offer a Park Tool class that finally allowed me to take off the bottom bracket and replace bearings. That does not make me #badass in any way; it's just "normal" behavior in my world. And all THAT leads directly to ...

3. The Slowtwitch womens I know -- and the men I know personally -- do not typically do these things. I have seen Dan expertly fit women (including me) and hand over the keys to the fit studio to Annabel so she could do a bike fit for Sally. I have seen Kristi and a whole host of others assemble and disassemble their bikes and pack them up for FedEx. Ashleigh met her husband (we love you Monty) while she was a student in one of Dan's fit clinics, well before she kicked my ass at the Margarita Mile at womens camp. And bless you Coach Ian for teaching me how to change a tire five minutes after teaching me how to clip in for the first time (in his garage), how to take off the fork (and everything else) to fit my bike into a RusterSports bag, and how to recable the whole damn thing.

We are strong. And smart. And sometimes doubt ourselves. And sometimes say stupid stuff. And, I think all of us -- men, women, Gen X, millenial, Dan, me, all of you -- are in fact looking forward to something from the triathlon (business) community that we haven't seen yet, and I am happy to be part of that discussion.

Okay, end of rant. I feel better. Thanks for posting, Amy, and opening channels for discussion.
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Re: Article on the Front Page [Gee] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for speaking up, Gee. I will now re-read your post because I want to. Thank you.
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Re: Article on the Front Page [Miamiamy] [ In reply to ]
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Ladies:

There are some typos in that article to which you refer. They remain, because I did not want to be accused of changing a thing in that article. I stand precisely by every word I wrote, in exactly the way I wrote it, and I hope you'll let me go even further as I continue below.

In that article I wrote that we're making a mistake in our sport, and by "we" mostly I mean our race director community. "We" have decided that the problem with the lack of Millennial participation rests with "them". They are lazy (according to what I hear). They are obsessed with indoor games. They are not tough minded; they are uncompetitive. I hear this all the time. I think that's a false narrative; a false reading; and blaming the customer is dangerous to the future of any business.

I've seen this before. I saw it when I was young. We said the very same things about women.

When I was in high school I ran on the boys cross country team. If you were a girl, you had no such option. Nor could girls run track. When girls were finally allowed to compete in track, they were limited to the half-mile. That was the longest race a girl could run because, of course, it was dangerous to have them run longer. That was the prevailing opinion (men made the rules; it was men who decided the prevailing opinion).

Now, please, you can get mad at me if you want. But I was 14 years old. Yes, we had Francie Larrieu and Mary Decker, but "we" (I guess) considered them outliers. "We" grudgingly gave girls the mile. It took us quite awhile to give you the 2 mile. While most of us (even I, as a teenager) knew that was silly, that is what my father's generation decided, and it's the world I grew up in. Today "we" still shortchange entire swathes of people who we make excuses for (including but not limited to Millennials).

I answered one of you who PMd me, writing that the Ironman took place in February back when I first went to Kona, in 1981, and I came home and produced my first race in August of that year. I don't remember how I got a race up and going that fast, but I did. I was not unique by any means. I suspect that probably 1 in 10 of all Ironman participants between 1978 and 1981 became race directors. Maybe more.

When I produced that first race, we had women in that race. A fair number. They did the same race as the men. Of course! And this is one thing that made triathlon great: That from the beginning we treated women absolutely equally, in every way, and we were pretty harsh on anyone in our community who did otherwise.

This gender-blind treatment pushed women forward, and held them back: The benefit of that equal treatment speaks for itself. But we also became a very technical sport, a harsh and demanding sport, so women were suddenly faced with a pretty brutal physical and technical and mechanical test less than a decade after (in many states, including California) not being allowed to run at all.

But if you truly decide you want to spread this gospel of triathlon, well, Danskin did it, and women overcame their disenfranchisement very quickly. At the peak, four of the largest six races in the world were women-only races.

So, can I double down? When I wrote about "we" and "us" in my article, I included myself because I was alive and running back when "we" disenfranchised an entire gender. Now, today, not only am I "we" and "us", but you are too, regardless of your gender. None of us get a pass. So, if you or I think that women, or Millenials, or people of color, or people from a particular country, aren't sufficiently represented in triathlon, whose job is it to fix that?

When I returned from the Ironman in 1981 I was 23 years old, without a pot to piss in, barely making rent. I promise you I was dumber than any one of you reading this (and, because I know a lot of you, I'm still dumber that many of you reading this). The reason I'm bullish about 2018 is because I know what you might not: That there are a number of new race directors right now who are NOT money motivated, who are thinking well outside the confines of how we've limited ourselves in terms of price, course, distances, ratios, bike surfaces, rules, waves, bike types, and general product offerings. There are some folks ready to make a product that is much more palatable than the typical, historic triathlon.

These, the products, creative new products, will appeal to both newbies and vets alike, will appeal to a swathe of Millenials and the women who haven't found triathlon sufficiently compelling, and to those who have not grown up doing sports that their cohorts and cultures typically participate in.

In 2013 the combined participation of girls in cross country and track surpassed boys. So, problem solved. We're there. Danskin showed that if you make the right product, women will flock in numbers that way outstrip men's participation. Therefore, I don't think at all about how to get more women into triathlon. I think about building the right product, because women are perfectly equipped to race once they see a product they want to buy. Likewise Millenials. Which is what I think I wrote in my article; it's what I think about every day; it's what I think about as I plan the upcoming TBI conference in 2 weeks; and there is an announcement I will be making at that conference specific to this very point.

And, because I know many of you, I know that you (specifically you, who are reading this) are givers. Net producers, not net consumers. What I hope is that you'll either see compelling products you want to become involved in, or you'll see what's going on and conceive of your own new products. My exhortation to you is to not hold yourself back. You and I have counted the cost enough. At some point we need to stop counting and just step out.


Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
Last edited by: Slowman: Jan 14, 18 15:09
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Re: Article on the Front Page [Miamiamy] [ In reply to ]
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just to say this has been a thoughtful interchange, which otherwise seems increasingly absent from online discussion -- I'm grateful to Amy for raising it, Dan for expanding on his point of view, and all the other posters for their insights.
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Re: Article on the Front Page [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Dan, thanks very much for expanding on your thoughts. I really appreciate that you've included this on the forum and thanks to the OP for highlighting it to the rest of us.

I do get what you mean because it has happened so obviously in other sports such as surfing, soccer, rugby, etc. ... do we even hear about professional female baseball, basketball or NFL teams in the US (do they exist?) My experience with triathlon has always been a very positive one - every one that I've done is incredibly supportive and inclusive. It has never mattered what the participants level of ability, age or shape is (use of generous cut off times, age groups, athena waves have all helped).

Perhaps that is something that we (I should say *I*) have taken for granted in triathlon. When I read your paragraph - I was shocked, because did that way of thinking really exist? Does it still exist? Why, it would be silly not to realise that it did (and to some extent continues to), of course.

I have not noticed that there isn't enough women participating in the sport but rather the lack of ethnic diversity (another discussion to be had... swimming can be particularly problematic, I grew up in a large city where access to swimming pools was very difficult and expensive). Also, I started doing tris at a later generation during a time when several professional female triathletes were revered (still are) - so many role models to look up to.

I know there's a lot of discussion about the "demise" of triathlon but I think it will always ebb and flow... people will do their first tri and become addicted for a few years, or a lifetime. Others may just do it once as a bucket list thing. And it's all OK because the sport will continue to evolve. Well done to the pioneers including yourself who have worked hard to set the right tone and environment for the sport. RD's have a lot of responsibility in creating the right mix where people want o be part of the community (and we are one) and race. Perhaps other women have had a different experience and I think it's good to have these conversations.

I know a triathlon conference is coming up... it would be great to continue this conversation. The forum and the website (where articles are published) are other great places. Who loves triathlons and doesn't read Slowtwitch?? (I live on the other side of the world so the influence is far and wide-reaching). There could be many, many more participants if triathlon continues to inspire people - and not denigrate them, if you know what I mean? Also, have a look outside the US market - triathlon, I think, is thriving.

You really should pin your response or append to the original article. It gives a really good comprehensive overview of where triathlon has been which can allow us to reflect on where we (both men and women) are at now. It will also help to clear up any confusion that readers (including me) have had reading the original paragraph. Really thoughtful and considered response - thank you.

(PS - I noticed you have a new poll up - I'd love to see a race that's like Xterra without the mountain biking part - so the run being on trails and of course the swim would have to be in the ocean preferably a surf beach... swweeeeet as!)
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Re: Article on the Front Page [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Dan and others. Thank you all for the thoughtful replies.

Amy
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Re: Article on the Front Page [snail] [ In reply to ]
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snail wrote:
(PS - I noticed you have a new poll up - I'd love to see a race that's like Xterra without the mountain biking part - so the run being on trails and of course the swim would have to be in the ocean preferably a surf beach... swweeeeet as!)

i'm announcing something on the 26th. you might find it interesting.


Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: Article on the Front Page [Gee] [ In reply to ]
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Hi Gee, I just want to say I agree 100% with everything you wrote. Not most of it; all of it. Do you have a blog? I think I might like to read more of what you write.

Regarding "the queen", I suspect it's an (in my opinion) over-stated reaction to penis being king for so long. That's what happens when paradigms shift - the pendulum over swings true center (believe I saw that written by Dan somewhere). My approach, which is to think people were clearly mistaken for assuming / stating women were weak, or they were intentionally aiming to hold us back as a means /out of desire to retain control, isn't helpful either.

To breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive.
Last edited by: Tsunami: Jan 16, 18 5:08
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Re: Article on the Front Page [Tsunami] [ In reply to ]
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There are a myriad of reasons I love, love, love triathlon, including, but not limited to, how in my experience men and women have been regarded as equals in the sport and how smart and friendly most triathletes are. What a community!

Looking to the future, my triathlon satisfaction requires small, local races with friends. I don't need medals or the prestige of IM. In fact, medals and IM seem cheesy. When my kids beat me at monopoly, I tell them that I still won my age group & we laugh at how silly that is. You can slice & dice anything to make winners of us all. We've done the millennials wrong with all those participation medals. Making winners of us all and putting on glam races obscures what really gives satisfaction-- Making a good effort, suffering a bit, with friends.
Last edited by: CalamityJane88: Jan 16, 18 9:37
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Re: Article on the Front Page [Tsunami] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you, that is very kind (and gratifying!). Mostly I just write textbooks. :) You are actually the second person this week to ask me about blogging, and it is only Tuesday morning, so maybe I should think more about it! Both Dan and Jordan have asked me to write more here and offer a ST womens voice, and you can find my bike fit article and my review of the Peak Performance book in the archives. What do you think people might want to hear about?

My most recent rant on this topic in general was in response to discovering that the 2018 kits for my local tri club are gender-specific. Men’s cuts and sizes are light blue and green. Women’s cuts and sizes are light blue with pink highlights. There is no option to buy men’s sizes with pink or women’s with green. I am not sure if I should see this as “maybe more women will get involved if they think the team kits are cute” or “many women see pink athletic clothes as a sign of empowerment” (both of which I have heard in response) or just another ingrained and unintended way of saying women don’t get to have the “men’s” stuff.
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Re: Article on the Front Page [Gee] [ In reply to ]
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An ST women's voice would be excellent; specially one as erudite & articulate as yours.

I really dislike the pink trends in women's sports clothing.
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Re: Article on the Front Page [Gee] [ In reply to ]
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Gee wrote:
..... You are actually the second person this week to ask me about blogging, and it is only Tuesday morning, so maybe I should think more about it! Both Dan and Jordan have asked me to write more here and offer a ST womens voice, and you can find my bike fit article and my review of the Peak Performance book in the archives. What do you think people might want to hear about?

Unfortunately I don't feel I usually have a good finger on the pulse of what most people might like. But one thing on my mind of late is what do I want to get out of triathlon at this point. I participated for 10 years for the sheer fun of it, with zero expectations, and generally finished bottom 40% if not worse. I've been real close to final finisher in a couple to a handful of events. But I really used to just love being out there, doing things I like to do, outside. I expected to be 1 and done at the full distance, but found it oddly satisfying. That started the desire to improve. That eventually led to hiring a coach and finding some podium spots. This also ended in injury and now post surgery, trying to come back, I feel a bit lost. 10 months post op, things are still not quite right, and I don't know what goal to set. Can I go back to participating for just the fun of it when I was so recently trying to aim higher? Will I find that satisfying? I used to balance not being competitive by choosing formidable-seeming courses (read HILLY), which led to great satisfaction for conquering what was before me, which not many sign up to do. At present, that doesn't look like a good choice for me.

Sorry to ramble on, but I guess one topic could be - what's the middle ground between "just trying" and pushing to be the best you can be?

Gee wrote:
My most recent rant on this topic in general was in response to discovering that the 2018 kits for my local tri club are gender-specific. Men’s cuts and sizes are light blue and green. Women’s cuts and sizes are light blue with pink highlights. There is no option to buy men’s sizes with pink or women’s with green. I am not sure if I should see this as “maybe more women will get involved if they think the team kits are cute” or “many women see pink athletic clothes as a sign of empowerment” (both of which I have heard in response) or just another ingrained and unintended way of saying women don’t get to have the “men’s” stuff.

Pink can go either way. A small dash, the right exact color, can seem sassy. But my gut reaction to most pink I see on women's gear is to roll my eyes. Of course I say that and remember that my snowboard is hot pink. It's also covered in stickers.

To breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive.
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Re: Article on the Front Page [Scheherazade] [ In reply to ]
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Scheherazade wrote:

I really dislike the pink trends in women's sports clothing.

I love the pink. And my pink gravel bike.

clm
Nashville, TN
https://twitter.com/ironclm | http://ironclm.typepad.com
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Re: Article on the Front Page [ironclm] [ In reply to ]
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ironclm wrote:
Scheherazade wrote:


I really dislike the pink trends in women's sports clothing.


I love the pink. And my pink gravel bike.

I think pink should be a choice, not the default.
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Re: Article on the Front Page [ironclm] [ In reply to ]
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Right before xmas I bought myself (anticipating my hubby's failure to buy the right gift for me!) a new jersey thru my cycling club. I didn't hesitate to buy the 2017 men's blue, size medium. It has a full zipper so its def a men's jersey. Pink is cute, but I tend to wear blue. It matches my garmin, running shoes and sports bras. B/c of the full zipper & risk of accidental exposure, I've made a personal committment to ditch my mom-bras and wear my better-looking sport bras with the jersey. Its was only $35, too! Win/win!!
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Re: Article on the Front Page [edbikebabe] [ In reply to ]
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This is where I am, too, for the most part. I like pink well enough -- what I do NOT like is having the choice be a) "women's-color kit" (regardless of the actual color); b) "men's-color kit" (which will not fit me, I wear an XS or S in women's sizes); c) no kit from this club.

For me, the choice is an easy one -- no kit from that club. I will train in my racing team colors even when at club events -- my racing team is completely separate from my local club, and although the team is headed by a man, there is just one print for all team members (to match his; it's blue and gold). But it does upset me that I paid money to belong to an organization that segregates the club like that, especially in contemporary society where many people feel that gender is more fluid, not binary, and not stereotypical. "You are a woman, so you have to wear the women's [pink] clothes" goes against pretty much every fiber of my being.



edbikebabe wrote:
ironclm wrote:
Scheherazade wrote:


I really dislike the pink trends in women's sports clothing.


I love the pink. And my pink gravel bike.


I think pink should be a choice, not the default.
Last edited by: Gee: Jan 18, 18 17:07
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