Yesterday on our Facebook page I shared an image with text that on reflection I shouldn’t have. The image was a woman on a bike looking back at her male cycling companion. She was ahead of him on the hill.
(I deleted it after lots of upset comments on the post and now I can’t find it.)
There are so very few images and jokes in cycling that feature women as fast, competent riders that I had to share it.
But not so fast. The text read, “I’m not like the rest of the girls, that’s where you made your first mistake.” It’s a meme of course, though I didn’t know that.
I just liked the idea that a male cyclist had underestimated his female cycling companion. I was reading it in that context. But of course the “not like the other girls” isn’t complimentary to other women. It suggests that not being like other women is a good thing. It holds up the idea that only special women pass men on hills. Really it’s not funny.
Had I thought about that I wouldn’t have shared it. But do you know what? The content on our Facebook page is pretty much generated by one person and that person has a full time job, a family, and some athletic commitments too. Tracy, Cate, Martha, Nat and Catherine step in from time to time but almost all of the posts are mine. I’m also fallible. I make mistakes. I’m sorry.
I was shocked at how angry our readers were. They were so fast to assume bad motives. Just let me know nicely I’ve made a mistake, please. I made a mistake and I’m sorry. It’s that simple really.