“Go ahead, I’ll catch up later.” Said every woman at some point in her life while riding, running or god forbid I say it, during sex. I’ve said it and likely so have you. But it’s time to stop.
I’ve been fortunate enough in my life to have been given so many opportunities that many, man or woman, would be grateful for. So I’ve never felt the need to publically or otherwise voice my concerns about the glass ceiling or sexism, because honestly, I was pretty blind to it until I entered into the male dominated outdoor and cycling industries where I encountered some astonishing behaviors. As a true east coaster, I’m not easily offended, but goddamn it, some guys make it fucking difficult. Whether it's someone saying they “wish they were a girl” because strava would be a breeze, or when a giant bike company told me I couldn’t work for them because having “lady parts” meant I couldn’t sell bikes to a room full of men or when a notable Danish ceramic bearings company gave me and the only other woman in the office the boot for disagreeing with our male manager, I kept my mouth shut. But in light of recent events, I feel that by staying silent, I’m not doing myself or anyone else a favor.
I was lucky enough to work for Specialized, an innovative company in the bike industry which has been criticized for being “evil.” Despite some of its quirks and annoyances, I found their approach to women's cycling refreshing. And while I don’t work there anymore, I do respect their attitudes towards women in sport and business. Their recent What's Worth It campaign is a good example of how they are trying to rewrite the horrible script the cycling industry has written for women. Having worked for a bike company, I know this is just marketing, but it's good in that they are trying to change the dialog. Where as other companies, here’s looking at you Pinarello, are perpetuating the lie that women aren’t as good as, competitive as, strong as, dedicated as, men. I realized that there are biological difference between men and women that do give men the advantage, but let’s not minimize our dedication to sport.
Honestly, I don’t give a shit what your gender is, be a good fucking human that is kind and sympathetic. Realize everyone has insecurities, varying weaknesses and strengths and we’re all just trying to have some fun while we’re alive. So do good. Be good. Support people and companies that align with your views.
And while it is likely I’ve offended some people and companies with this essay, shame on you. You should have behaved better.