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Stop me from overreacting?
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I have a 'should I get my knickers in a twist over this' dilemma: New road helmets arrived today, major brand. One model has a Mudflap Lady icon with a helmet on it. At least it's not a Womens' Specific model...but it is Purple.
Grrrrrrr.
Should I just let it slide? Should I raise a stink? A viral stink or a more businesslike industry stink with my Rep?



Anne Barnes
ABBikefit, Ltd
FIST/SICI/FIST DOWN DEEP
X/Y Coordinator
abbikefit@gmail.com
Last edited by: ABarnes: Dec 18, 13 13:08
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [ABarnes] [ In reply to ]
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nothing in that link. UPload the pic to tinypic and then use the picture Icon above to put in your post.
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [SpicedRum] [ In reply to ]
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thanks, edited

Anne Barnes
ABBikefit, Ltd
FIST/SICI/FIST DOWN DEEP
X/Y Coordinator
abbikefit@gmail.com
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [ABarnes] [ In reply to ]
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I'm not sure what this is for, but I personally think it's cute.
To me, it's no more offensive than this one

But if it does offend you, and you have to wear or sell it, then I'd definitely talk to someone about it. I always feel that the businesslike approach gets more results, but sometimes there's nothing as effective as a good ol' fashioned viral tantrum. :-)

M

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The beatings will continue until morale improves

My blog
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [mdraegerpnw] [ In reply to ]
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funny, I too found that whole Wyoming Library information today when I googled the image. An interesting debate for sure, especially concerning the point that the image is altered (no visible breast) so is it 'co-opting' or perpetuating the image. Is it subjectifying or objectifying?

Anne Barnes
ABBikefit, Ltd
FIST/SICI/FIST DOWN DEEP
X/Y Coordinator
abbikefit@gmail.com
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [ABarnes] [ In reply to ]
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Yes, you are overreacting.
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [ABarnes] [ In reply to ]
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I always find that "taking back the phrase/co-opting" argument interesting, but ultimately I think it's personal. If it empowers you to use terms that were formally slurs (i.e. n-word, faggot, etc.) then I think you should roll with it. I can't see a black and white argument that this approach is right or wrong, I think it's always going to be subjective.

But in your specific example, I personally don't think the image is objectifying because of the contest. She's wearing a helmet and "pants" so she isn't as blatantly sexual as the mudflap girl, nor is she swinging behind the tires of a semi truck. But it is still a silhouette of an attractive female, so it is still, on some level, objectifying women.

I'm curious to hear what other womens think.

Michelle

------------------------------------------------------------
The beatings will continue until morale improves

My blog
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [little red] [ In reply to ]
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little red wrote:
Yes, you are overreacting.
+1


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DISH is how we do it.
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [travelmama] [ In reply to ]
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travelmama wrote:
little red wrote:
Yes, you are overreacting.
+1

+2

What I object to is the ugly helmet.

clm
Nashville, TN
https://twitter.com/ironclm | http://ironclm.typepad.com
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [ABarnes] [ In reply to ]
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I find that pretty offensive
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [ABarnes] [ In reply to ]
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What this says to me is regardless of whether she is an athlete, the focus is still on her body and her sexuality. All they've done is add a helmet and a few indications she is wearing pants and a shirt.

I would much prefer if it is women's specific because then it becomes part of the ownership of the stereotype that was mentioned. In this case, because it isn't for women, why is she there? To make the helmet sexy? Profession women's cycling has a hard enough time getting recognition. Symbols like that don't help if it isn't part of the ownership statement.

Whether you make a fuss is up to you. I personally wouldn't buy the helmet and would say something to the rep. I might do a WFT on Twitter to the manufacturer, see what they say.

I called out Wattie Ink on Twitter this fall for having their Bikini team but no equivalent for men. I made a joke about where is their banana hammock team. They didn't respond.

Who is the manufacturer?

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Jen - @ultragrrl

"In order to keep a true perspective on one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him." - Dereke Bruce
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [ABarnes] [ In reply to ]
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I think it's kinda sexy and fun. But I like to feel sexy and pretty in my kit.

I think it's why there are a lot of different brands to appeal to different kinds of female athletes.


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You. You make me stronger.
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [ABarnes] [ In reply to ]
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I really, really hate that term "overreacting." This implies that things fit into three easy boxes: i) overreaction, ii) underreaction," or iii) an appropriate reaction. Often an "underreaction" is the "cool" thing to do, especially when it comes to women. Women are seen as "chill" if they have an underreaction and "crazy" if they have a so-called overreaction.

If it viscerally pisses you off, figure out why. Articulate that argument, and put it in a framework that others can understand and perhaps realize they feel that way too. Or, you can play devil's advocate and present your case cautiously, with the caveats that most certainly come with any strong position on something.

For what it's worth, I saw that and rolled my eyes. So, no. You are not "overreacting" because frankly I don't believe that's a thing. You had a reaction, and any reaction is valid, especially if you can articulate why you had the reaction you did.
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [ABarnes] [ In reply to ]
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I'll bet this kind of imagery will work for the kind of woman who wants to reinforce a 'yeah i'm a girl but watch me kick your ass' self image. No judgment. And If it helps get a newbie on the bike, better still. Personally I'm more narked by Barbie-pink marketing to women, but clearly it works.

If the thing doesn't sell, you'll have more firepower with a complaint. It might be worth biding your time and seeing. Great post, btw.
Last edited by: kiki: Dec 19, 13 3:00
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [npda] [ In reply to ]
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all good points, here's how I initially reacted:
Rolled my eyes
Said out loud: "really??" Then I thought, oh get over it. There are half naked women on all sorts of advertising and bumper stickers and I don't even notice. I'm all for more depictions of scantily clad men, myself. "Don't be a prude". But I'm a lady in a male-dominated industry, I have to think what my customers may think.

So I held up the box to all the staff using my hand to cover the image, saying "would you buy this for yourself/wife/daughter/girlfriend" and they all said yes. Then when I uncovered the image every one of them changed their minds.

Last minute news: dropped a note to my local Rep, who responded to me in less than half an hour. He said that while that was printed on a first production run, the image has since been removed from all further packaging. So +1 for that company in my book.

Thanks for all the replies ladies!

Anne Barnes
ABBikefit, Ltd
FIST/SICI/FIST DOWN DEEP
X/Y Coordinator
abbikefit@gmail.com
Last edited by: ABarnes: Dec 19, 13 11:37
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [ABarnes] [ In reply to ]
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Very cool story and thanks for the share. I love the marketing testing you did on your male coworkers - very clever. I could definitely see a difference in picking out something like that for myself vs. receiving it for a gift (where you feel more judgement). Thankfully, my husband knows I /want/ the pink waterbottle/bento box/bar tape etc.

Better to be safe and avoid offense on that kind of marketing than be too edgy and cut off a target audience!


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You. You make me stronger.
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [ABarnes] [ In reply to ]
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overreacting



"Though she be but little, she is fierce" ~Shakespeare | Powered by HD Coaching | 2014 Wattie Ink Triathlon Team | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [ABarnes] [ In reply to ]
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Not overreacting.

Most of all, that logo is just weak and totally unoriginal.
Is there a more overused logo out there? I doubt it.

Advanced Aero TopTube Storage for Road, Gravel, & Triathlon...Direct-mount & ZeroSlip-mount, made in the USA.
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [ABarnes] [ In reply to ]
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You could be overreacting if you are taking this personally.... but as a female cyclist, it angers me. Images like this trivialize women in sports making it that much harder for movements in women's cycling to gain support, sponsors, and ultimately credibility. I don't mind if gear is flattering or fits well but it should convey the fact that I mean business and I will shove my foot right up anyone's ass if they get in my way.

I find that most things that refer to women in this industry do so in one of two capacities.. as ornaments to be enjoyed by men (images like this, podium girls, etc) or by catering to them in a condescending fashion (everything from bikes to kits being lower quality and less aggressive when painted pink). I have blogged about this issue before and complimented Cervelo for their video clip regarding women and bikes. Their attitudes represent what is needed if women's pro cycling will ever have a chance.. along with the condemnation of images and references such as these. Is it okay to be more concerned with how something looks than how it performs under heavy load/use/work? Sure, there is entry level gear for everyone. But at the higher end, I find women's products to be lacking professionalism and quality which implies that women do not ride seriously enough to require such a thing. Branding and advertising embeds itself into people's minds. Is this how you want women's sports to be viewed as a whole? Trivial and sexualized? I don't and therefore agree that there is something very wrong with this image.

________________________________________________

Coach Brain: Accelerate 3 ; Incoherent Ramblings
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [npda] [ In reply to ]
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npda wrote:
I really, really hate that term "overreacting." This implies that things fit into three easy boxes: i) overreaction, ii) underreaction," or iii) an appropriate reaction. Often an "underreaction" is the "cool" thing to do, especially when it comes to women. Women are seen as "chill" if they have an underreaction and "crazy" if they have a so-called overreaction.

If it viscerally pisses you off, figure out why. Articulate that argument, and put it in a framework that others can understand and perhaps realize they feel that way too. Or, you can play devil's advocate and present your case cautiously, with the caveats that most certainly come with any strong position on something.

For what it's worth, I saw that and rolled my eyes. So, no. You are not "overreacting" because frankly I don't believe that's a thing. You had a reaction, and any reaction is valid, especially if you can articulate why you had the reaction you did.

Every part of this is worth repeating:)

Great points too by JenSW and Duckie.

And +1 to this being a tired, unoriginal logo idea. Everything a logo should do this doesn't. Why would they want to piggyback their business recognition on trucker's mudflaps and show a woman in a non active position that says, "Look at my flowing hair under my helmet while I'm sitting on the ground (weird) on my ass"? Yeah, they've lost me. I don't identify with that at all.

ABarnes, I think the experiment you did in your shop was smart. Unlike most of us responding, you have to think about more than if you personally like a product or not--you have to think about your customer base. When you run/own a store, you have to think about your "brand" and how you're perceived. It sounds like you knew right away that this logo would be a problem. The company dropping the logo just underscores that you were thinking--not overreacting. Smart business move on your part and on theirs.

If I liked two local cycling shops equally and one started carrying a brand that I thought was in any way lame, especially to women, I'd be less likely to go there. Further, if one carried top notch gear and tried to have great women's stuff, I would go out of my way to be loyal to them. I do not think I am unique in this regard among female cyclists and triathletes. We work hard, we want our shit to work, and, we want to be taken seriously when we come in. (Btw, no, we do not want to hear about your last fucking cylcocross race in minute detail wrenchdude.)

OTOH, there's another group of women who seek out things that they think are "sexy" or "girlie" in cycling/tris as a criteria over, or on par with, performance. So maybe this company was trying to appeal to this group? This might be a smart marketing decision in that there are women who want to be perceived this way and want gear that reflects that. A lot of these same women seem to spend a lot of money on their kit and accessories too, more so than performance based items. It's not always an either/or, but if you are trying to appeal to serious athletes, I don't blame you for not wanting to be the shop that sells the (lesser quality) "girlie" gear or a product that might be perceived as objectifying women.

I'm guessing in the end this company decided the logo was too polarizing and they'd risk losing business. It certainly seems that your in-store poll showed that might be true.
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [Duckie] [ In reply to ]
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Duckie wrote:
You could be overreacting if you are taking this personally.... but as a female cyclist, it angers me. Images like this trivialize women in sports making it that much harder for movements in women's cycling to gain support, sponsors, and ultimately credibility. I don't mind if gear is flattering or fits well but it should convey the fact that I mean business and I will shove my foot right up anyone's ass if they get in my way.

I find that most things that refer to women in this industry do so in one of two capacities.. as ornaments to be enjoyed by men (images like this, podium girls, etc) or by catering to them in a condescending fashion (everything from bikes to kits being lower quality and less aggressive when painted pink). I have blogged about this issue before and complimented Cervelo for their video clip regarding women and bikes. Their attitudes represent what is needed if women's pro cycling will ever have a chance.. along with the condemnation of images and references such as these. Is it okay to be more concerned with how something looks than how it performs under heavy load/use/work? Sure, there is entry level gear for everyone. But at the higher end, I find women's products to be lacking professionalism and quality which implies that women do not ride seriously enough to require such a thing. Branding and advertising embeds itself into people's minds. Is this how you want women's sports to be viewed as a whole? Trivial and sexualized? I don't and therefore agree that there is something very wrong with this image.

Very well said.

Got a link to the cervelo video ?

Advanced Aero TopTube Storage for Road, Gravel, & Triathlon...Direct-mount & ZeroSlip-mount, made in the USA.
DarkSpeedWorks.com....Reviews....Instagram....Facebook

"Why would you want to be the last man alive on a sinking ship?"
.....-- on why Tesla shares its patents with competitors.
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [DarkSpeedWorks] [ In reply to ]
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Yup. Here you go.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQrYpiAxpe8

________________________________________________

Coach Brain: Accelerate 3 ; Incoherent Ramblings
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [Duckie] [ In reply to ]
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Love it.

I'd like to hear more from the people who just responded with "over reacting". The people who were bothered by it generally put some thought into their responses and gave reasons.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Jen - @ultragrrl

"In order to keep a true perspective on one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him." - Dereke Bruce
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Re: Stop me from overreacting? [JenSw] [ In reply to ]
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JenSw wrote:
Love it.

I'd like to hear more from the people who just responded with "over reacting". The people who were bothered by it generally put some thought into their responses and gave reasons.

It's a cheesy and ugly logo and if I were in a shop looking for a helmet if be looking at the actual helmet p, not the the logo on the box.

I guess I'm old enough and dealt with being the only female or one of the first of a small group of females to do something (women athletic trainers to work football at Division 1) that shit like this doesn't phase me. For me personally, there are bigger issues to get up in arms about. The OPer handled it well.

clm
Nashville, TN
https://twitter.com/ironclm | http://ironclm.typepad.com
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