We’ve been here before, and it probably won’t be the last time we visit this matter either. Last night we were failed again by a leading cycling brand who simply don’t know how to represent women.
Women in the cycling industry are already at a disadvantage with lesser media coverage, lesser pay and prize money, and limited availability of kit and clothing. Thankfully the women’s scene has been growing at a rapid rate in recent years, and the gender playing field is starting to level out.
However, it appears we’re still in this knuckle-dragging era where sex sells, regardless of what you’re selling. Last night, American off-road protection brand, Six Six One, posted to their Instagram account an implied naked woman wearing nothing but knee pads. Thus ensued a cyber war of the sexes…
I don’t know what this photo is trying to represent, or show for that matter. Where are the shin gouges, the awkward cyclist tan lines, the sweat, the mud and the tears. Where is the essence of MTB in all of this?
There’s no denying that this model is attractive, and those knee pads are pretty good looking. But this cheap marketing tactic of using women is a serious issue in an industry where women are constantly working hard to prove that skill is more important than gender.
I’ve got nothing against nudity and female models, or male models, and I have a pretty light sense of humour, but even I get riled up over ads like this. I often face sexual discrimination when I ride, or even talk bike with the boys, and it’s images like this which contribute to their way of thinking.