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just some guy

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Sexism in Cycling and the rest of the world
« on: October 31, 2015, 13:37 »
Ok where to start

https://twitter.com/Velorooms/status/660448853229858816



so 1 add is selling a product = sexist using sex to see the product

The other image is a "art" shot which I guess is degrading to women

The 1st image was tweeted by the bike company the 2nd was PFP retweeting it does that make it better worse or than the 1st image ?
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    Larri Nov 12, 2014

    just some guy

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    and if the colnago 1 is sexist then then is ?

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  • Flo

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    I don'thave a huge issue with the Colnago ad, I am more offended by the Pippo pic (but really, I'm not.) People are so sensitive these days
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    just some guy

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    I tend to agree

    sure there is a lot of sexism in cycling just look at the womens peloton verse the mens re money, TV etc etc

    but the colnago advert certainly got a lot of people angry
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  • Flo

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    I tend to agree

    sure there is a lot of sexism in cycling just look at the womens peloton verse the mens re money, TV etc etc

    but the colnago advert certainly got a lot of people angry
    Really even the salary gap/prize money gap does not bother me that much, male cycling is simply more popular and bigger so it's normal. But change has to start somewhere and higher salaries and prize money and more TV for women's racing would be a good start. I don't think it's reasonable to think women will get equal salaries soon.
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  • just some guy

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    Really even the salary gap/prize money gap does not bother me that much, male cycling is simply more popular and bigger so it's normal. But change has to start somewhere and higher salaries and prize money and more TV for women's racing would be a good start. I don't think it's reasonable to think women will get equal salaries soon.

    But why is more popular, because it is seen more ? reported more ? then why is that - doesn´t take long to become sexist

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  • Flo

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    But why is more popular, because it is seen more ? reported more ? then why is that - doesn´t take long to become sexist
    All historical.
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  • podgie

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    Picks up open can of worms and hands it back to JSG!   :lol   

    The cycling world is blatantly sexist.  Whether it is in salaries, how women are treated by some teams (the Mexican one comes to mind) just to mention a few of many instances.

    What is different is that PFP is using her good looks to grow her brand just as Jolanda Neff does.  Just look back there are plenty of racy images of Rochelle Gilmore and who can forget the naked Victoria Pendleton on her bike. But also look at the tasteful photo shoot Ashleigh did earlier this year.  What differentiates this is that these women chose to do this and it is that it is their personal choice how to brand themselves.  One might say that there is a issue in the women's peloton that makes them feel that they need to build their personal brands in this manner, but again it is personal choice.

    I had a meeting with a young SA rider today and I suggested that she use her good looks to further her brand, but again it is her choice whether she wants to do that


    With the Pippo pic his choice again, although it is an advert and he was undoubtedly getting paid a lot for it.

    What is sexist is adverts like the Colnago one or the E3 Harelbeke  ones that use women's sexuality only for the benefit of those placing the advert. 
    What is sexist is having a women's race on the same time as the men's and not showing of the women even when cameras are on the road.
    What is sexist is the number of women abused by male members of staff in teams.
    What is sexist is the pathetic different levels of prize money between men and women at associate races.
    What is sexist is not a single women on the Rouleur Classic panel.

    What is sexist is  (add any number of other possible examples!)



    Righto jumps off soapbox....   :D

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  • cj2002

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    I agree with all of that.

    An athlete - male or female - taking control of their image to enhance their earning potential is no problem. Sex sells, whether it's PFP in a short dress or Beckham/Nadal/Cristiano Ronaldo selling underpants. It's a marketing technique as old as visual advertising itself.

    That Colnago advert, meanwhile... that is symptomatic of a culture that exists throughout all sport, really, but seemingly especially cycling. The girl is - as far as I know - not a professional, and would just be getting paid for the shoot, with no benefit to her larger career. It was entirely constructed to titilate - like the E3 posters. And it's done nothing positive for the Colnago brand. As I said at the time, notice how it's hard to even see the Colnago branding on the bike. It's terrible even as an advert.

    You could argue that there are more important things to deal with than this. That TV coverage, sponsorship, salaries etc. need to be sorted first. But - as I said - it is symptomatic. As long as people within the sport put out adverts like that, it makes women's cycling a laughing stock. If the marketing treated women as equal to men (and, of course, in some ways the racing is better), then the sponsorship and the TV coverage would surely follow.
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    Kiwirider

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    Couple of thoughts on the original and follow up posts (as I put off writing my weekly report to our client and my handover notes to my incoming colleague ...)

    I define sexism quite broadly- including such things as being at a disadvantage due to your gender, as well as being objectified because of elements of your gender that are irrelevant to the situation at hand.

    That advert is inherently sexist - as it would be if it had a male model there giving the same "after you jump on the bike you can jump me" message. As others have said, the model doesn't look to be much of a cyclist - let alone the posing - so there's really no way that Ernesto could argue any redeeming cycling related value in the picture.

    I also agree with CJ that the ad is damaging to the brand. Colnago bikes were always a thing of beauty and something that were lusted after by most cyclists. They were in an elite category with the likes of Bianchi, De Rosa and Cinelli (again, to me at least). If you're having to rely on someone or something blatantly non-cycling related to sell your product, to me the message is "my product's actually not that special". That however is a side issue to the thread topic ... except to say, that there are (or were) worse, such as this Clement ad: http://www.bikehugger.com/post/view/it-was-the-80s-and-90s (The paint jobs are equally offensive!!!)

    On a related note about the Pippo ad, do folks realise that the only time that Sidi uses women is as models to sell motorbike boots? Kinda sad, ay ...?

    As for the PFP picture - again as a couple of other posters have said, there is nothing inherently sexist in it. (It looks to be very similar to the Cyclepassion calendar that's been produced recently.) I see no difference between an athlete of either gender choosing to make money off the fact that they have legs that let them push pedals powerfully and that same athlete choosing to make money off having a cute butt that people want to take photos of. The operative word is "choose".

    Where things do get very different is when the only way that the athlete in question can build their brand is by selling their looks - rather than using their sporting reputation and resulting profile to be able to sell products.

    To give an example of the sort of difference that I mean, compare Podgie's example of Rochelle Gilmore with Dan Carter (NZ rugby player).

    As far as I've ever been able to discern, Rochelle's marketing and brand value was primarily based on looks - even the "glamour" shots done for Honda and Wiggle aren't really tied to the products. In fact, do a google image search of pretty much any top female athlete in pretty much any discipline and you'll find that the vast majority of the pictures aren't sporting shots ...

    Contrast Dan Carter - who, as most Kiwi women will happily tell you, has advertised underwear for a long time. By contrast, he has also advertised rugby boots, sports gear, fitness products - not to mention things like financial products and other products where all that he brings is the (stupid) NZ association of All Blacks with all that is good and just and fair.

    To me, that type of distinction is completely sexist ... Carter's brand is based on his sporting ability, his looks are secondary. Gilmore's brand is based on her looks, her sporting ability is secondary.

    To pick on the pay differences, I'll offer what I think is a sadly illuminating story from NZ a few years back.

    Even though everyone associates the country with rugby, it is really only about 6 or 7 on the list of participant and (TV aside) spectator sports. The top sport in NZ is actually netball (for those who don't know it - kind of like basketball, but played almost exclusively by women). For many years NZ had one of the best players in the world - Irene van Dyk. She was "professional", which meant that she worked part time as a teacher. She did have some advertising - the whole team advertised a NZ whiteware brand, plus she advertised a couple of other products. At one stage she wrote a piece in the papers saying that, as netball was NZ's top sport, as she trained hard and long hours and had to sacrifice much, and as she'd just been awarded the prize for top player in the world for the umpteenth time, wasn't it fair that she got paid as much as the top All Blacks. Anyone guess the response?? Comments ranged from how arrogant she was to she should go back to her native South Africa to how her husband should put her in her place (yes, seriously).

    Concerning prize money in cycling, read Helen Wyman's post over at "Cut and Paste Daily" from last cross season - which says it all:
    http://www.cyclingnews.com/blogs/helen-wyman/helen-wyman-pressing-the-equality-button/

    Having known a number of top male and female athletes in a number of disciplines I can say without a word of doubt that both sexes work as hard as each other and sacrifice as much to get to the top in any given discipline. Anything that values that input differently based on something as irrelevant to the level of effort required on and off the same "field of play" as the sex of the person who's making that effort is pathetic, archaic and should be changed.

    And on that note, it's weekly report time ...  :(
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  • Claudio Cappuccino

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    • Venga! Venga! Venga!
    But why is more popular, because it is seen more ? reported more ? then why is that - doesn´t take long to become sexist
    I wont be making friends with this here but women's cycling really sucks: hardly tactics, hardly action. It is like watching the Sky Train of 2012 in the Tour de France, yawn.

    I do have an excellent idea to promote the popularity of women's cycling but I think I wont be making friends with that either. No, it doesnt have anything to do with sexism. Just with our yearly calendar....

    Those adds are a bit sexist if one is sensitive but that add of Pippo is just plain dirty: I mean wtf? I hope he got a lot of money for that because he will need it after she has been sh1te the last years on his bike.
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  • Kiwirider

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    I wont be making friends with this here but women's cycling really sucks: hardly tactics, hardly action. It is like watching the Sky Train of 2012 in the Tour de France, yawn.

    You do realise that you have completely shot down your own argument?

    Women's racing is boring (and, by necessary implication, isn't as good as men's racing) because it's as boring as men's racing ...  :S :S :S :S :S :S :S

     :cool
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  • just some guy

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    I wont be making friends with this here but women's cycling really sucks: hardly tactics, hardly action. It is like watching the Sky Train of 2012 in the Tour de France, yawn.

    I do have an excellent idea to promote the popularity of women's cycling but I think I wont be making friends with that either. No, it doesnt have anything to do with sexism. Just with our yearly calendar....

    Those adds are a bit sexist if one is sensitive but that add of Pippo is just plain dirty: I mean wtf? I hope he got a lot of money for that because he will need it after she has been sh1te the last years on his bike.

    What are you basing that on though, the Womens races that are TV ?

    IF we take like for Like ie follow are race on Twitter say RvV the womens racing is much more un and random

    If you are taking worlds then I might agree

    FWIW the WWT and TV will probably make womens cycling less random and less attacking and more controlled but that is for another day ;)
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  • podgie

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    I wont be making friends with this here but women's cycling really sucks: hardly tactics, hardly action. It is like watching the Sky Train of 2012 in the Tour de France, yawn.


    Sorry I am not understanding the language you are speaking?   Could it be total and utter bollox?
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  • AG

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    the womens racing I have watched I have really, really enjoyed.

    the problem is that there isnt much of it on tv ... so people dont get to watch it.  Therefore they dont get to follow it, wait for it and watch it next time.

    People ... fans ... generally want to watch their favourite or known riders.  When they dont get the chance to develop a following in the womens rosters - they wont watch even when it is on.

    its a catch 22
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  • Capt_Cavman

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    Having known a number of top male and female athletes in a number of disciplines I can say without a word of doubt that both sexes work as hard as each other and sacrifice as much to get to the top in any given discipline.
    I agree with all that but so what? It's not about input measures, it's about output.

    I wonder how many sports actually categorize whether there is a "mens" sport or whether there is the version of the sport that is open to all and a number of versions that are subsets for people who would be unable to compete otherwise, e.g. women, juniors, seniors, disabled, blind, blah blah blah.

    I have never seen the justification for rewarding one and only one subset to the same degree as for the open category. It can be fudged by calling it a men's category and a women's but we all know it's just a fudge.

    I think the Colnago advert is poor, what is it saying about the bike, what values does the company hold? what type of person are they trying to attract? 15 year old virgin boys by the looks of it, and they don't tend to have a few thousand Euros to spend on a bike. Sex does sell, but not often in such an inept way, as if the advertising company couldn't think of any genuine reason anyone would want to buy a Colnago. Marketing through social media channels is pretty new and it looks to me like somebody going off and doing their own thing. Very crass. But sexist? I don't agree with JSG's definition; I would say there isn't any evidence of prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, and I'm not even sure that it particularly objectifies women, it's just a Beevis and Butthead riff on the word, "ride"; you just need a person in the picture to make it work.

    With regard to objectivisation, we in Britain are in our customary pickle whereby objectivisation of women is frowned upon by our liberal media, amplifying the hysteria of a small number of social media serial offendees. Meanwhile objectivisation of men is seen as totally fair game, hilariously counter-cultural.

    With regard to the PFP shot, I think it's great. Sportsmen and women sell their image all the time, even the most successful will make more money for longer for endorsing products or getting a career in the media as opposed to prize money. Think Cristiano Ronaldo or David Beckham. It's the way the world is in it's innately unfair way; railing against this is just saying, "Stop the world, I want to get off."
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  • hiero

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    the womens racing I have watched I have really, really enjoyed.

    the problem is that there isnt much of it on tv ... so people dont get to watch it.  Therefore they dont get to follow it, wait for it and watch it next time.

    People ... fans ... generally want to watch their favourite or known riders.  When they dont get the chance to develop a following in the womens rosters - they wont watch even when it is on.

    its a catch 22

    I will agree that you have stated a common argument. And while I agree that there is a catch-22 effect, I do not think it is large.

    You have to grow a sport, or a business, or an audience (all of which ARE businesses, eh?). Examples consist of the growth of cycling audiences in the US and other global growth. Those audiences started from such tiny percentages of devotees that most media considered the audience non-existent. It grew. When races were offered, some got audience.

    What happens when you get audience? Money enters. Athletes start earning money. You don't start out by paying the athletes big bucks and expect them to draw an audience because you are paying them. The audience has to grow and be there. And, in spite of the fact that women's racing HAS gotten airtime and race time historically, it has not gotten the audience when it does get time. As for higher salaries for the women - those will have a chance when the audiences pay more attention.

    I think a more valid argument is that there are no women's races with a stature like that of the grand tours, specifically Le Tour. And I do not think holding a women's TdF is the same. Since they've historically done women's versions of the race, and those versions failed to get enough audience to keep them alive, I think I'm safe saying that they aren't the same.

    It was Le Tour that got cycling on the air in the US - and in other int'l markets where there is penetration. The Tour de Trump got airtime - but did that last? We had track on the air from Trexlertown, I think? I don't think that even got a 2nd year. The smaller races just don't get the audience. Now, after decades of audience awareness, and the growth of the internet - meaning worldwide availability of quality broadcasts of "other" races, I think there is audience growth in the "other" races. Which I point out to validate my point about the Tour. It was a single point of growth for audiences for cycle racing broadcasts in the US, and in some other int'l markets.

    I think the fact that the X-games was popular for a while demonstrates the validity of my observation. The X-games happened, and spun off some trials broadcasts, because there was an audience that wanted it. It grew, it wasn't made. Well, it was made, some, but they could do that because there was a real audience that payed attention. It was based on a cultural phenomenon, so it didn't last, but it still validates my point. If you have an audience, you can get coverage. If you get coverage, and then can get audience, you can keep coverage.

    Women's road racing has, historically, been given opportunities to grow audience. For whatever reason, that has never happened. Having watched the women's world's this year, I think that tactics and all that are far more interesting than they were 20 years ago. This year's women's worlds was a good race, afaic. And who rode it didn't matter, really.

    Also worthy of note is the national card. When Connie Carpenter-Phinney and Sarah Hammer were riding - women's racing got some media attention. It didn't stick, tho. But then, after Greg, US attention to the Tour didn't stick either. It lasted about a year, maybe two past Greg's last winning tour. Until the Armstrong days.

    So there is something, in the US at least, to be said for star quality having an impact on audience. If Ronda Rousey were a cyclist and knocking off wins the same way she is dominating women's UFC, you would see media coverage and audience come to the sport in the US. So one answer is find a star. It's kinda like Joni Mitchell said:
    Code: [Select]
    . . .I was standing on a noisy corner
    Waiting for the walking green
    Across the street he stood
    And he played real good
    On his clarinet, for free

    Now me I play for fortunes
    And those velvet curtain calls
    I've got a black limousine . . .

    Folks in general miss a lot of stuff because they are fascinated by stars. It has something to do with being human, but I'm not sure exactly what.

    I do think opportunities should still be created. Perhaps women's racing can repeat something like this year's worlds, and build some audience.

    Personally, it strikes me that what they need is to focus on some of the 2.1 type races, and make a couple or a few an annual women's show. Like the Tour of Utah. Make a few of those big for the women. Or find an angel to roll a women's only special GT somewhere.

    But I think that the women looking for better pay when the audiences aren't there? Where's the beef, ma?
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    Kiwirider

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    I agree with all that but so what? It's not about input measures, it's about output.

    True, output does count - but that output is, or at least should be, the quality of the sporting competition. And that's not specifically tied to gender ...

    As an example, the women's football world cup was held in Canada over the summer, and it was widely acknowledged that the quality of the play was much better than the men's world cup. Ironically, one of the reasons was because the women played a tougher game - in the sense that they didn't have all of the pathetic diving and over-dramatization in challenges that characterise the men's wolrd cup. Certainly they couldn't run as fast or kick as far as the men - so output was less in that regard - but the quality of play was better.

    Similar comments apply with (ice) hockey here, where the sort of slamming into the boards and general aggression that characterises the NHL is illegal in the women's game. A significant majority of hockey fans will tell you that, as a result, the women's game is a much more skillful and flowing game to watch. (They make the same comment about Olympic hockey - both genders - as the same restrictions apply.)

    To use a cycling example - a few years back my partner worked with a women's team and a men's team in their respective bike tours in NZ. The men's race was Pro Conti and the women's were the elite professionals. Both races used the same finishing stage - a 50km crit. Ina Teutenberg won the women's version and the men's version was won Cameron Meyer. He was paid more, got more prize money (in fact, the women's race subsidised the men's for a number of years, but got canned for whatever logic made sense to Jorge ...) and had more career opportunities that moved his salary even higher when he started with Orica Greenedge. But the women's race had a higher average speed ...
    So, on any basis of your output argument, something's off there ...
     


    I wonder how many sports actually categorize whether there is a "mens" sport or whether there is the version of the sport that is open to all and a number of versions that are subsets for people who would be unable to compete otherwise, e.g. women, juniors, seniors, disabled, blind, blah blah blah.

    I have never seen the justification for rewarding one and only one subset to the same degree as for the open category. It can be fudged by calling it a men's category and a women's but we all know it's just a fudge.

    Please tell me that you're not trying to argue that only adult men can play real sport ... because that is what it sounds like you're saying ...






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  • Capt_Cavman

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    True, output does count - but that output is, or at least should be, the quality of the sporting competition. And that's not specifically tied to gender ...

    As an example, the women's football world cup was held in Canada over the summer, and it was widely acknowledged that the quality of the play was much better than the men's world cup. Ironically, one of the reasons was because the women played a tougher game - in the sense that they didn't have all of the pathetic diving and over-dramatization in challenges that characterise the men's wolrd cup. Certainly they couldn't run as fast or kick as far as the men - so output was less in that regard - but the quality of play was better.

    Similar comments apply with (ice) hockey here, where the sort of slamming into the boards and general aggression that characterises the NHL is illegal in the women's game. A significant majority of hockey fans will tell you that, as a result, the women's game is a much more skillful and flowing game to watch. (They make the same comment about Olympic hockey - both genders - as the same restrictions apply.)

    To use a cycling example - a few years back my partner worked with a women's team and a men's team in their respective bike tours in NZ. The men's race was Pro Conti and the women's were the elite professionals. Both races used the same finishing stage - a 50km crit. Ina Teutenberg won the women's version and the men's version was won Cameron Meyer. He was paid more, got more prize money (in fact, the women's race subsidised the men's for a number of years, but got canned for whatever logic made sense to Jorge ...) and had more career opportunities that moved his salary even higher when he started with Orica Greenedge. But the women's race had a higher average speed ...
    So, on any basis of your output argument, something's off there ...
     
    Please tell me that you're not trying to argue that only adult men can play real sport ... because that is what it sounds like you're saying ...
    I guess you hear what you want to hear. I was saying the opposite, anyone can play real sport; but the only way Marianne Voss or Ina Teutenberg are going to win anything is to exclude half the population from competing against them, otherwise I'm guessing your average speed anecdote will count for very little. Likewise juniors, seniors, disabled etc.

    "The quality of the sporting competition" is a vague phrase that means pretty much anything you want it to, depending on context. Does it mean that the competitors are most likely to win in terms of the rules of the sport? Or does it mean, as you imply, entertainment value?

    Where has there ever been a correlation between reward and entertainment levels in any sport (with the possible exception of boxing)?
    Motor racing (a sport without gender segregation) is the most glaringly obvious example with F1 being the dullest form of the sport by some margin. Yet F1 is where the money, the prestige and the history making is; maybe the lesser competitions are more exciting because the best drivers aren't in them? It doesn't stop them being lesser competitions with less able competitors.

    As you say, the sports' governing bodies continually tinker with regulations in order to make the sport attractive to watch at the highest level while trying to ensure that it is essentially the same sport at entry level. This top down / bottom up approach will affect the stuff in the middle in different ways. But I disagree that the "quality of the play" in the women's world cup is better, because that definition of quality completely ignores defence and the art of preventing your opponent from demonstrating their quality.

    Play acting and similar unedifying behaviour is a matter of refereeing and something football has never dealt with properly, (check out field hockey and rugby for sports which are properly officiated at all levels) but bizarrely the tolerance for those that feign injury is an (misguided) attempt to protect the naturally gifted, entertaining, attacking players from those that are tasked with stopping them. Is the lack of play acting actually an indication of lack of quality? Defenders aren't as suffocating and attackers rarely create goals with individual brilliance outside the elite men's game? Just a thought.

    It's an interesting conversation to be had on the day a female jockey won the Melbourne Cup.

    My point, which I didn't make particularly clearly in my last post, was that I see no logical reason to make a specific case to reward women as much as elite men but not to do the same for any other category of competitor which also exclude elite men.

    But I'm not one-eyed about it and more than happy to have my logic challenged.  :)

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  • Kiwirider

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    Interesting discussion on a number of points ...

    I realise that this thread has basically finished, but I've been travelling and resettling after my latest swing at work, and feel that I owe your last post the courtesy of a reply.

    First off, I wasn't "hearing what I wanted to hear". I wasn't sure what exactly your point was - hence asking you to clarify. And now that you have done so, I can squarely say that I agree with your "anyone can play sport" point.

    But again, I'm confused by your implication that it is somehow wrong to have a separate category for women - or juniors, masters, the disabled, etc. They work as hard, provide as much of a spectacle - and at times more of a spectacle - than the category that often soaks up most of the prize money and often race/compete over self same distance and course/terrain. The only difference is that they often do so a little more slowly or with a little less power.

    A number of sports are starting to think along similar lines and are awarding equal prize money for women and men, a well as - to take the very valid point that you make in one of your last paras - increasing prize values for juniors, para categories, masters, etc. The New York Marathon from a couple of days back is one example, as is the sport of triathlon.

    And you are completely right that "quality of competition" is completely subjective. My experience is that too often the definition is taken very narrowly by media and administrators based on their historic "comfort zones" rather than with reference to the fullest spectrum of fans. This is a normal kind of phenomenon though - institutions usually lag behind the changes that the societies/groups that they serve have already made.

    I wont even start to unscrew the lid on your comments about F1 and the level of reward across different sports - that is a whole other very large, very stinky kettle of fish that could keep us having a really interesting discussion/debate for many years to come! Suffice to comment on the example that you give and to say that I agree heartily with the fact that F1 is as boring as bat-sh*t and that it is a mystery to me how a sport that is living on it's past glory continues to attract so much money.

    My last comment will be on your raising the issue of Michelle Payne's win in the Melbourne Cup. Check out some of the comments following on from her speech and her raising the issue of sexism in Aussie horse racing - especially those from the Australian Jockeys' Association guy:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/racing/73702764/Melbourne-Cup-2015-Equal-opportunities-boss-slams-sexism-in-Aussie-racing
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/racing/73748388/Melbourne-Cup-winner-Michelle-Payne-criticised-for-calling-out-sexism-in-racing
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  • hiero

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    I realise that this thread has basically finished,  . . . .

    I'm not sure about that. I will add this. Because it is fewer words. Point distilled.

    It does not matter what the quality of the competition is. It does not matter how well one team, or category, or subset, competes against each other. What matters is the fan base. If the athletes have an audience, they will get airtime, and money. If they do not, then they will not, and they should not.

    It is no more complicated than that. Paying "equal" prize awards is pointless. It will accomplish nothing. If an audience grows - then the prize compensation will also have the ability to grow. (Somebody else might take that profit if the riders don't stand up for themselves.)

    I point againt to Rousey as an example. When I first ran across her, she was nothing more than a Youtube nascent phenom. Today she is THE champ, and arguably the GOAT - but that was not true then. There were other women competitors with good looks. It wasn't good looks that made the difference. Something about Rousey got audience. And audience drove what happened. Without the UFC, she would not have the championship titles she has today. Without the audience, she would not have gotten UFC attention.

    "Should" is not important here. We all believe in "should" - but it does not matter. "Is" matters. When the women, or the juniors, or whomever, bring an audience - they will find that they can negotiate salaries and prize awards.

    Got to have the audience first. First.
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  • Kiwirider

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    I'm not sure about that. I will add this. Because it is fewer words. Point distilled.

    It does not matter what the quality of the competition is. It does not matter how well one team, or category, or subset, competes against each other. What matters is the fan base. If the athletes have an audience, they will get airtime, and money. If they do not, then they will not, and they should not.

    ...

    "Should" is not important here. We all believe in "should" - but it does not matter. "Is" matters. When the women, or the juniors, or whomever, bring an audience - they will find that they can negotiate salaries and prize awards.

    Got to have the audience first. First.

    Would that it were as simple as you say.

    As to why I say that, take a look at the respective coverage of the men's and women's races from today's Superprestige round over at our friends at CN:
    men:http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/superprestige-ruddervoorde-2015/elite-men/results/
    women:http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/superprestige-ruddervoorde-2015/elite-women/results/

    One stock photo of Sanne Cant for the women's race vs a large number of race photos of the men's.

    This level of "airtime" is highly indicative of the relative media coverage of women's and men's cycling throughout the season - yet it in no way reflects the relative sizes of the fan base of the "sides" of the sport.

    Another example is the one of netball back in NZ that I mentioned in an earlier post. That is by far and away the top sport in the country in terms of players and spectators. It is only a small exaggeration to say that every single woman in the country will have either played or watched that sport for an extended period of time over her lifetime. There is no equivalent sport that touches Kiwi men to the same extent - even the quasi-religion of rugby can't come close to matching it.

    Yet, despite this, netball gets a fraction of the coverage that rugby gets - plus a fraction of the sponsorship attention (other than "women's products" like whiteware - and yes, I am cringing as I type that - diet products and tampons).

    So, no, it's not a simple case of have an audience and prizes + money will follow.

    And the screwy thing is that the lack of coverage in these cases doesn't even seem to make commercial sense. I've wracked my brains, and the most that I can come up with as a reason is that media organisations and sporting bodies have failed to recognise the sea change that has happened in society and the change in the economic and social roles that women have. My hope is that, in time, those archaic institutions will catch up.

    Oh, and just to clarify - there's no "woe is me" or "men are evil and this is a conspiracy" in this - but there is confusion as to why this situation exists and disappointment that it does.


    It is no more complicated than that. Paying "equal" prize awards is pointless. It will accomplish nothing. If an audience grows - then the prize compensation will also have the ability to grow. (Somebody else might take that profit if the riders don't stand up for themselves.)

    Again I'll disagree.

    Let's for a moment assume that, as you argue, fan base is everything.

    So, how do you get fans to any event?

    As I see it, first, you have to have enough of an incentive to get competitors to compete at that event. Certainly, you want those who are there first and foremost for the  love the sport. But all competition costs - and if you're trying to encourage serious elite sports people, they need to be able to afford to make the sacrifices needed to compete. Take away prize money and you effectively restrict many sports to the wealthy only. You certainly restrict those that require a considerable time commitment or large number of resources ...
    (And remember, that amateur sport wasn't developed for any sort of pure grounds - it was solely a way for the English aristocracy to ensure that they weren't beaten by fitter, stronger commoners by making sure that the later couldn't afford to compete.)

    Likewise, the audience wants to see a high level of competition and skill. It's not a long bow to draw to say that people who have to hold down a day job and train will often not be as skilled, fit and strong as their professional counterparts. Again, prize money is one way of helping to remove some of those financial demands.

    That's not to say that you're completely wrong ... but it is to say that there's a real case of "what came first - the chicken or the egg?" in the argument ...



    I point againt to Rousey as an example. When I first ran across her, she was nothing more than a Youtube nascent phenom. Today she is THE champ, and arguably the GOAT - but that was not true then. There were other women competitors with good looks. It wasn't good looks that made the difference. Something about Rousey got audience. And audience drove what happened. Without the UFC, she would not have the championship titles she has today. Without the audience, she would not have gotten UFC attention.
    All that I'll say to that is - you do realise that UFC has equal prize money for men and women?

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  • hiero

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    . . .

    This level of "airtime" is highly indicative of the relative media coverage of women's and men's cycling throughout the season - yet it in no way reflects the relative sizes of the fan base of the "sides" of the sport.

    Another example is the one of netball back in NZ that I mentioned in an earlier post. That is by far and away the top sport in the country in terms of players and spectators. It is only a small exaggeration to say that every single woman in the country will have either played or watched that sport for an extended period of time over her lifetime. There is no equivalent sport that touches Kiwi men to the same extent - even the quasi-religion of rugby can't come close to matching it.

    Yet, despite this, netball gets a fraction of the coverage that rugby gets - plus a fraction of the sponsorship attention (other than "women's products" like whiteware - and yes, I am cringing as I type that - diet products and tampons).

    So, no, it's not a simple case of have an audience and prizes + money will follow.

     . . .

    All that I'll say to that is - you do realise that UFC has equal prize money for men and women?

    When I first ran across Rousey she was a Strikeforce newb, on her 3rd or 4th win. Not making much in the way of bucks. Her matches were all on Youtube for free. It was the attention that those got that got her in the door at the UFC. Now she is their biggest draw, and if she is not already a millionaire, she will be after this next fight - but I think she is likely already quite wealthy. So the audience comes first.

    Your argument hinges on your assumption about the existing fan base. Maybe you are right. I certainly know nothing about netball, nor the audience of it. And I will grant that their is more nuance in the whole situation than I made out. And, I will grant that their is a stickiness in coverage - a tendency to keep things the way they are. Some places it will be stronger than others - cultural. But, one must simplify arguments for clarity of communication. Unless your last name happens to be Locke, or Hume.

    But I am far from convinced that the fan bases are anywhere near equal in cycling. And, I would be willing to place a small wager that a thorough investigative report on the netball audiences would reveal that the real fan base is much smaller than for rugby. I would also be willing to bet that if you got a reporter on that story, and they discovered this large untapped audience for netball, and  who then published a WTF article? You'd see media coverage grow very rapidly. But that hinges on the "large untapped audience".

    My thinking is that there are two ways to successfully grow women's racing. One is to find a star. Since this is not something that can generally be planned, it won't do as a strategy. You could point to the old Hollywood star system - but that worked in a different media era, and I do not think you could do the same today.

    I think the 2nd method is the only one that will ever have a real impact - establish a race identity that is a "Classic" type annual big enough to be like the TdF for men. It could be a one day or a stage, but I would think a stage race would be preferable. This can be done, witness the Strade Bianche's instant rise to Classics status. Maybe it would be a spin off an existing race. Maybe it could be a spin of something newer like Tour of Utah or that Colorado thing.

    Amof, thinking about it, one might do better to try and establish this initially as a US event. We have more open potential here, and the recent success with establishing new races here that get media will help pave the way. And Americans are big on the whole equality thing - so I think there is potential there to get audience transfer from a men's venue.

    But I don't think it should be a women's version of an existing race. It needs to have some separation. Tieing it to an existing men's race will doom it to eventual failure. (Failure being media inattention) I think history teaches us that. Logic certainly does not - but the events that become history are not always logical (rarely, more like, eh).

    On the other hand, I would never stand in the way of the crowd who loudly protest the unequal pay and protest for more pay for women. And if they get it, good on them. I just don't think it will do anything in the long run for the whole unequal media time thing. Morally, I often stand with the people saying that women and the lesser categories should get more of the profits from the more mainstream side of the sport. I really believe that the society is better off when profits are liberally spread around. E.g. college football profits going to support all sports at the college. But I've always been something of a populist. It follows, in my mind, that profits from men's road racing would be well spent by sharing with lesser-haves. Keep the roots strong, in my thinking.
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  • hiero

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    . . .

    All that I'll say to that is - you do realise that UFC has equal prize money for men and women?

    Hey! Hold on, wait a sec. You know, I kinda skimmed over this statement, trusting you to know what you were talking about. BUT, do you realize that there WERE no women in the UFC before Rousey? Dana White, the head of UFC, was infamous for saying he would NEVER hold a women's bout in the UFC? Right? You knew that? He changed his mind because Rousey was not only good, she had a fan base before the UFC took her on. She had "proved her chops".

    But Rousey had something more important than wins, imo. She had star quality. Why did she get Youtube views? Meisha Tate is good looking. Gina Carano is great looking. Holly Holm is great looking. And they were winners! So it can't be looks. Or, not all looks. Why was Ali a star, and not Tyson, Foreman, or Frazier, except as how they compared to Ali? Whatever it is, it is VERY difficult to package. Milli Vanilli tried - and it worked for a while but ultimately failed. Whatever it is, Rousey has it.
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  • hiero

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    I had to add this here. A little humor, perhaps, to lighten your day! You know, there has been a significant movement this past several years towards product models who are more "mainstream", or "next-door neighbor" like.

    I think they got real cyclists for this photo shoot! And what could be a more appropriate tatt for a cyclist celebrating the TdF then a French press[1]?


    http://shop.lookmumnohands.com/collections/pants/products/womens-podium-pants
     1. You in other countries may have another name for it. It's a coffee maker.
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  • hiero

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    Hmmm. Now y'all have got my attention on this topic.

    So I saw this Helen Wyman "blog" post today, and it is quite pertinent to the discussion.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/blogs/author/helen-wyman-blog-womens-cyclo-cross-is-in-rude-health/

    Her conclusions really do not tell us better about which came first, chicken / egg : money / audience. But I do think that her observations are of a business truisim: start small and grow. Any cx media coverage / prize money / race investment is small relative to pro road events. Therefore, if cross-gender equal footing is provided, it is a small investment (relative). And if that small investment grows an audience, then you HAVE an audience to support larger investments. All successful small businesses start following this rule: start small and grow. (Corollary: if it doesn't grow, do something else!).

    Regardless of all that, I think you guys will enjoy the article, and everyone will cheer the progress that Wyman sees. I did notice that the recent cx at Koksidje got equal coverage, as far as I can tell. Wyman's article might also be pertinent to kiwirider's post a few posts back - about the superprestige coverage.
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