WARNING: This post may contain traces of sarcasm
Recently everyone’s favourite host of late-night (or early evening the previous day, depending on your timezone) Q&A sessions, Amber Pierce wrote a rambling and hysterical piece of histrionic propaganda about the paucity of financial investment in women’s cycling. Among her many emotionally charged and irrational claims was this little gem:
“And for the love of pete, STOP this narrative that investing money in women’s cycling will somehow ruin it. Money is precisely what women’s cycling needs to progress; the passion, professionalism, people, ideas and motivation are all there.”
Amber is, of course, dead wrong.
There are many, many ways in which one could readily refute her argument. For example, women are weaker than men and terrible at riding bikes. Everyone knows that women can’t even keep up on the Tuesday morning group ride and are never, ever able to pass big, strong men on bikes.
In addition to this, we know that all women cyclists are liars. And obviously we all know that women’s cycling just hasn’t developed enough yet to deserve to be called professional or be required to maintain minimum wages even at the “top” level of the sport. I mean, who can argue with the President of the sport’s governing body?
So let’s just end the emotive language and feminine hysteria right now. If this is how women’s cycling looks without money, imagine how much worse it would be with money? Imagine a world where women were treated with respect and their achievements were judged on their own merits? Imagine a world where becoming a world-class athlete would no longer require women to put themselves in debt and risk their financial survival, let alone actually be able to earn a decent living? Imagine a world in which your sister or daughter could pursue a career as a cyclist seriously?
Do we really want to live in a world like that?
Next thing you know women will be wanting the right to vote, to get quality educations, to own land and make their own choices when it comes to their medical wellbeing.
It’s a slippery slope gang, if we start treating women as people who knows where it’ll end?
So it’s clear that we’ve got to do the work to maintain the power in women’s cycling. And we certainly need to keep the money out of the hands of the women. We all know that they can’t be trusted to make purchasing decisions anyway. After all women only:
- Control more than 60% of all personal wealth in the US
- Account for more than 85% of ALL consumer purchases, from healthcare to cars
- Speaking of which, women are responsible for 80% of healthcare decisions and 68% of new car purchase decisions
- Influenced $90 BILLION of consumer electronic purchases in 2007 (that’s 5 years ago – hint, the number’s a lot bigger now)
And much, much more.
So we can see that, just like voting, education, property and medicine, if we start letting women have equality things will inevitably get much, much worse.
It’s abundantly clear that women cannot be trusted with money or influence. After all, look at how many arsehole men they’ve raised over the years.
Alright, seriously now. Amber makes some great fucking points in her article and it behooves us all to make time to read it and ponder the future that she has a vision for. I think about funding in women’s cycling quite a lot because I happen to agree very much with Amber, especially in her other post where she discusses two important aspects of marketing as related to women’s cycling. Like Amber, I remain convinced that there is a way that collectively, we (fans, riders, teams, managers, federations, etc.) can invent a new and different model of professional cycling.
Professional women’s cycling. As Amber very rightly points out, the racing is different. It makes sense that the structures and organisations that support the sport should also be different. There’s an alarming amount of intelligence and insight rolling around in the women’s pro peloton and it really needs to be harnessed.
In the tech world where I work, there’s a big focus these days on moving quickly and with agility to discover and test new ideas, discarding what doesn’t work and pursuing aggressively what does. There is no reason that a group of committed and enthusiastic people, willing to commit time and resources could not do the same for professional women’s cycling.
It’s simply a matter of believing in the available talent pool, and any fool, even a foolish arsehole man, can see that there is a lot of talent and opportunity waiting to be harnessed in women’s cycling.
So, investing money in women’s cycling probably will ruin the outdated and ineffective model that’s based on the idea of a “lesser” version of the men’s sport. Good. Fucking great. Let’s ruin that sport.
Then let’s build a better one.