I admit it…I LOVE pink. Not the pale baby like pink, but bright, hot pink, fluro pink or magenta pink. Yep. I’ll have it all…so call me a girl.
I’m really not entirely sure what it is about pink that makes for such divisive opinions in women’s cycling. It’s just a colour after all. In an article by Grace Wong from http://www.theguardian.com titled ‘Why must cycling companies saddle women with pink?’ (http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/bike-blog/2013/sep/11/cycling-women-pink) it is claimed that the over-feminizing of female products may in fact inhibit women from being assertive on their bikes.
I beg to differ. Women portray themselves in different ways and create their own agenda every time they jump on a bike. If a woman feels the need for the floral and frills, then good on her, that is her choice. If a woman chooses pink and purple and feels great in that, then hail to her.
What we are talking about here is the inability of some women to see that actually, it isn’t the colour, or the florals or frills that make us seem like we lack assertiveness. Or the lack of images of ‘awesomeness’ referred to in the article that put us a step behind any equality with men. I think what is really at play is the fact we become accustomed, male or female, to not openly display our confidence.
This argument about the mechanics of bicycle company marketing just adds further fuel to the possé of pedallers who talk about all the barriers and inhibitors to women’s cycling. Damn it people, just get over this argument!! You can come up with any story you like about barriers, but I guarantee you I can counter it…and don’t give me this rubbish about pink products from cycling companies makes us feel like the helpless, weaker female.
I wear pink, I ride a pink bike, I have a load of pink stuff. None of it makes me feel like a woman who lacks ‘awesomeness’…in fact, to the contrary – I’m not saying this to blow my own self-inflated trumpet, but to make the point that I don’t feel any less assertive because of my affinity for all things pink. And I like the fact that some bike company took the time to think about how they can make a pink bike, and make it look awesome, just so I might feel ‘awesome’.
This argument is not about the marketing strategies of cycling companies, it’s about our willingness as women to listen to how many barriers people are telling us we have. Not enough infrastructure, not enough safety, not enough nice women’s clothes…well I’m sorry, get over it. Maybe there aren’t the bike paths we want, but how about learning how to use the ones we DO have; maybe there is a safety issue, but how about learning some skills to make you a safer rider; maybe there aren’t any women’s cycling clothes you like, well find some from another sport which make you feel comfy and happy – who says we must ride in cycling gear on a bike anyway.
We need to stop this notion that cycling has so many barriers, and stop this notion that cycling companies perpetuate the myth of the helpless female by marketing products that are pink. It is we women who perpetuate the myth!
There are bike companies out there who have listened to this ridiculous argument and not wanted to be seen as ‘shrink it and pink it’ companies. Almost in a complete reversion of this they have chosen quite masculine colours and styles for both bikes and clothing; some women like those colours and if they feel good in them, they will exude confidence.
I like a company that has the guts to fly in the face of the feminist backlash and produce a bike which is, without doubt, awesome…and pink! In 2013 LaPierre produced their top of the line women’s carbon road bike, the Sensium 200L, in white and hot pink. I have one, so I can comfortably say it is awesome. For 2014, the same company has produced an entry level women’s road bike, the Audacio 400L… in black and pink, it looks awesome. Among their women’s range there is also the Shaper 100L…it is awesome because I have ridden one. In fact, all their women’s bikes are unashamedly feminine, but have a significant touch of ‘awesomeness’…and no, I am not paid by LaPierre to say that, or anyone else.
It isn’t the colour, or the floral, or the blingy bits which make us feel less assertive. And it isn’t the lack of ‘awesomeness’ in marketing campaigns for women’s cycling that make us feel less ‘awesome.’ It’s our lack of willingness to disregard the perceived ‘barriers’.
If we continue to say that we as women are pushed to the back of cycling because we are women, or that we have too many barriers, or that bike companies don’t use the colours we like, then all we do is perpetuate the myth. The truth is, if you feel good about yourself, you’ll exude confidence, or ‘awesomeness’, and everyone will see it regardless of what clothes you wear or what colour bike you ride.
For me, I’ll stick to pink!