A set of articles about the media storm around *that* kit

The story about *that* kit, belonging to Colombian domestic cycling team, IDRD-Bogotá Humana-San Mateo-Solgar, is still appearing all over the place.  I wrote about it, and linked to Alex Murray’s piece which was the first to do actual investigation into what colour the kit was really.

So I’m not going to talk about it in itself, but I’m interested in these three takes, especially on the mediastorm – why has this one got to the point it’s in every newspaper, on tv, all over the internet?

UPDATE!  And I love cyclocosm‘s take on how he thinks Brian Cookson could have handled it….  scroll down!

Before I start, huge thanks to fmk, who sent me a link to this – CyclingInquisition interview with Angie Tatiana Rojas, who designed the kit, on why she made the choices, and how it’s all felt for her.  It’s great to finally hear her voice in all this.And Ghostie sent me this video of Rojas talking about it, and the team showing the kit (crazy they needed to have a press conference about it!) (it is a TERRIBLE video from the Telegraph, btw.  “Vagina-like”? Gold fabric over chamois looks nothing like mine!

So, the articles:

  • Suze Clemitson‘s piece on the Guardian, talking about why the idea of female indecency is always worse than actual male indecency.
  • Ben Atkins writing on Huffington Post about the rôle of pro riders and Brian Cookson in turning this from a twitter viral joke to international media hysteria (all without actually looking at anything other than that photo, of asking the riders.  I do have to wonder what excuse a journalist like Kathryn Bertine has for sending a tweet like this and emails the UCI to complain, without doing a basic google image search to see what the kit really looks like.  No excuses for Cookson, the UCI should have done that too!)
  • Tom Palmer on The Roar – this is the most Australian piece I’ve read on it, and I love it.  I want to quote this whole section to finish:

Well Brian, bro, I present to you another standard of decency: mine. For mine, women who want to go race bikes can do so, and without being harassed by powerful men who get offended by their appearance.

I don’t want to get all feminist and say something like “this is what patriarchy looks like Brian”. But if I did it would be a valid point here. If Brian’s concern was that the women had been forced to wear a degrading garment, and therefore humiliated, then I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. However, the evidence shows that’s not the case.

The reality is that this is a story as old as casual sexism itself: “Women do something in public, public complains about their clothes”. Let’s avoid that story from now on.

This is a hiccup in a good process, in a sport that is learning to accept women. We – and I’m speaking predominantly to my fellow lads here – just need to take moments like this to check ourselves and think whether the way we treat women in our sport is ok.

  • UPDATE!  I thought I was done with this topic, but I love Cosmo Catalano‘s take on what he wishes Brian Cookson had said instead, when the media were storming….

I keep thinking about that poor 22 year old cyclist, Angie Rojas, who’s been described as deliberately trying for the illusion of nudity to shock and attention-grab, and had other riders say she should be banned as a designer, and her and her five team-mates being described as indecent by the highest-ranked person in the sport, because of one crappy photo on twitter.  I can treat this as an object-lesson in how a media-storm is made, but I keep thinking of the personal effects.  I guess the moral of this story is, if you have power, and want to make a public statement, please check the facts first.



5 thoughts on “A set of articles about the media storm around *that* kit

  1. -Here is an interview with Angie Tatiana: http://www.cyclinginquisition.com/2014/09/an-interview-with-angie-tatiana-rojas.html

    -And my favorite article so far: http://girlbikelove.com/2014/09/the-women-of-bogota-humana-and-their-fleshy-fabulous-kits/

    Women’s cycling in Colombia has near to zero support, there are very few races for women (some organizers have the audacity to let them compete with the men calling it “equality”), they have to look for sponsors on a per race basis, usually family and friends help set up raffles and other fundraising activities to collect money so they can travel and race. The sacrifices they have to make to be able to race, leave you wondering why they just don’t give up and quit. So excuse us if we don’t give a sh*t about having a fashionable cycling kit. I was laughing out loud when I read people telling them to leave the team, as if they have a ton options back home (or elsewhere). As a Colombian I was very proud to see them race, I admire how brave they are to dare to challenge themselves competing with girls and women that have more resources and better training that they do. Yesterday they said they were not changing their kit. That’s giving the finger to bullys and critics with class. Is like they are looking at this stupid media tornado in the face telling it, if you want to make us quit using shame and embarrassment, you’ll have to do better than that.

    I do hope however that this helps to get people’s attention in Colombia, and puts women’s cycling on the table.

    • Thanks so much for the comment – I really hope this means the team, and Colombian women, get much, much more attention. Angie Rojas has been so fantastic, every time I’ve seen/read her talk

  2. This is a tempest in a teapot and WHY the internet can be so bad. There is no democracy on the internet. A bunch of bullies gang up and TELL US that this is just so bad.

    Natalia is bang on. How about a little support for women’s cycling.

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