Okay, that’s a lie. Even my Twitter bio says so. It reads, ” Philosopher, feminist, ethicist, cyclist. Dean, College of Arts, University of Guelph.”
“Cyclist” is there right up with “philosopher” and “feminist” and before my not-so-new-now big job.
At the blog we’ve worried here and there about the reluctance of women to identify themselves with things they very obviously do. An example? Runners who say they aren’t runners. They’re just people who jog about town a bit. Women who say they don’t surf. They just muck about in the waves with friends. So here at Fit is a Feminist Issue we’ve been encouraging women to use the terms that actually apply to the physical thing they’re doing. We’re runners, climbers, sailors, cyclists, rowers, etc etc.
However, maybe, just maybe, in the case of cyclist we should slow it down a bit.
Here’s the Guardian, “Should we stop using the word ‘cyclist’?’
Why? Because drivers don’t think cyclists are human.
Here’s an excerpt from the Guardian piece: “Stopping using the term “cyclist” has been up for debate since an Australian study last week found 31% of respondents viewed cyclists as less than human. The research also found that the dehumanisation of people who cycle is linked to self-reported aggression towards them: if you see a person as less than fully human, you are more likely to deliberately drive at them, block them with your vehicle or throw something at them, the study found. “
I wasn’t a fan of referring to myself as a mother who rides a bike. I think women should be valued as persons, not just in our relational roles. But frankly it didn’t occur to me that the alternative was being seen as less than human!