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Bikini-themed promo for local bike tour deepens criticism of industry’s gender issues

Posted by on August 13th, 2014 at 3:34 pm

gsp email
Screenshot of an email promoting a local bike event.

One of the Portland area’s biggest bike event companies apologized Wednesday for sending a promotional email dominated by a big photo of a weathercaster in a bikini.

“Frightening Poll,” said the email from Good Sport Promotion (screenshot at right). “47% of Romanians did not expect today’s heatwave despite having watched the weather last night.”

“Remember Nadia Comaneci?” the email’s text began, referring to a Romanian athlete (but not the woman pictured). “She got the first perfect 10 in the Olympics. (Montreal 1976) This weekend we have a perfect 10 on the weather forecast.”

It was a promotion for this weekend’s Portland Century ride, an annual event organized by Good Sport Promotion, who also organize and promote the Tour De Lab, Worst Day of the Year Ride and Pedal Petal.

Many bike-lovers objected as the image spread to people around the country.

“What are they thinking?” asked Janet LaFleur. “And how old are the organizers?”

“This is an unsubtle way of telling women it’s a bros-only event,” wrote Portlander Lizbon Grav.

“Now I’m glad that I didn’t sign up this year,” wrote Jordan Devereaux, a (male) OHSU Ph.D candidate. “No money for them.”


In an email to BikePortland, Leah Benson, owner of the female-focused Northeast Portland shop Gladys Bikes, wrote that the Good Sport email was a sign of a widespread “sexism in the bike industry” that goes beyond any particular shop or event company.

About an hour after a screenshot of the email was circulated on Twitter this morning, Good Sport owner Porter Childs apologized on the company’s Facebook page. He expanded on it in a subsequent Facebook post and finally an email to BikePortland Wednesday afternoon:

In our excitement to send a last minute reminder about the Portland Century, an attempt at humor fell flatter than a bike tire riding over broken glass. We offended valued members of our cycling community and the greater Portland community.

While we can’t retract an email newsletter that was sent, we can offer our most sincere apology. We have been producing events for over 15 years and we pride ourselves on being inclusive. We welcome riders of all shapes, sizes, colors, sexes, backgrounds, and beliefs. Our philosophy of “come ride with us” extends to everyone. In particular, we support the efforts of women to transcend what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry (cycling), and encourage ongoing dialogue in our community and within our own company to promote the involvement of females in cycling.

Correction 5:40 pm: A previous version of this post gave the wrong quadrant for Gladys Bikes. It’s now in Northeast Portland.


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Comments
  • PNP August 13, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    We never will get past using women’s bodies as decorations, will we? And the sad part is that women agree to be used that way. This reminds me of that whole “podium girls” thing we discussed recently. Oh well, not much I can do about it other than wish people were better.

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  • Hart Noecker August 13, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Wait, when did the world of sports become a sexist boy’s club where womens’ bodies are objectified as property?!! WHO LET THIS HAPPEN!!??

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    • Chris I August 14, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      To be fair, most Americans don’t think of cycling as a sport.

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      • Oregon Mamcita August 15, 2014 at 9:40 am

        ???? Your source or reasoning????

        I am unaware of any good, unbiased study that delves into American’s
        feelings about bicycles one way or the other. I suppose we could look
        at bike sales as an imperfect indicator of sentiment. Can we define some
        bikes as indicating “sport” and compare their sales to the sale of commuter bikes or general purpose, entry level bikes (Magna).

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    • Pete August 14, 2014 at 7:55 pm

      America started out as a sexist boy’s club. In many parts of the country that’s still the case.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • SE PDX Rider August 13, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    I don’t understand why that is sexist. I am being serious. I’m not offended by bikinis. Not offended by making fun of the news cast that features bikini clad anchors. I don’t think that coffee shop Bikini Brew was that awful either. Was the coffee good? Is it ok for someone to like being served that way?

    Nor do I think its offensive to MAKE FUN OF MEN who fall into the stereotypical category of thinking about IT nearly all the time. I think the sarcasm and the double-flip and self-effacing nature of this attempt at humor was lost on some overly sensitive people…

    Who ride bikes… ugh… now cyclists hate bikinis and beautiful women and gymnasts?

    I don’t think it was offensive. I don’t believe anyone that tells me it’s some kind of representation of a larger social problem we are oblivious to and if I loved my family I would agree. No way, no how.

    The humor went awry because the detractors lack vision to see it’s intent and complexity. Period. Happens to people like me all the time. Try sarcasm on a post over at the Oregonian. That’s fun!

    This is cheese and if it makes a few whiney folks uncomfortable enough NOT to sign up for the ride then so be it. Better chance for sexist, oggling, masculine ME to get a spot.

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    • Gibbs August 13, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      Point: willfully missed.

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    • Anne Hawley August 13, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      As a white Portlander and therefore not the target or subject of racism, I understand that I don’t get to define what constitutes racism. If a person of color says that something is racist, I accept that it’s racist. I shut up, I notice, I try to learn.

      I don’t argue, and I don’t ask for an explanation. I can read, and it’s my job to work toward understanding.

      As a woman, I do get to define what constitutes sexism, even while I still understand that my definition may not coincide with another woman’s.

      If something that strikes me (and a lot of other women) as sexist doesn’t seem sexist to you, fine. But your not understanding why it’s sexist doesn’t mean a) that it’s not sexist, or b) that we who find it sexist owe you an explanation or a defense.

      Why is this so hard? If one woman says it’s sexist, then it’s sexist to one woman–which means it’s sexist.

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      • shuppatsu August 14, 2014 at 9:39 am

        I’m a half-asian man and let me tell you, your reply was deeply half-asianist. You may not understand why, but not being half-asian you are not entitled to an explanation. Your reply cut me to the quick and that’s all that matters.

        Ok, so the above was an absurd response and probably doubles as sarcasm. But I don’t really mean it as sarcastic, just as a hyperbolic illustration of the problem

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      • Middle of the Road guy August 16, 2014 at 7:10 pm

        If one man says it is not sexist, then it isn’t.

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    • yoyossarian August 15, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      Totally. My favorite thing about these bike events is that masculine me gets to ogle all the boys packages in their tight bike shorts. Some guys can get so uptight about it though. I just don’t get it.

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    • jd August 21, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      Gross.

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  • Huey Lewis August 13, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    I go to strip clubs. I ride bikes. I like women in bikinis. My ladyfriend tags me in extremely graphic Instagram pics.

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    • Nathan August 14, 2014 at 10:55 am

      I fail to see the relevance of this comment.

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      • Huey Lewis August 14, 2014 at 2:10 pm

        Meh. Lots of people like lots of things I guess? There are a lot of other way more important things to get ragey over.

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  • Edwards August 13, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Where in the world has it ever been written or even half accepted that what appeals to men should appeal to women?
    it was obviously poorly thought out and executed by someone with very little marketing experience!
    And calling it “widespread sexism in the bike industry” is so narrow minded and self absorbed!

    Once again another tabloid article on BP trying to stir up the hatters pool!

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  • 9watts August 13, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Very weird promotional email (Romanians?!)
    And some weird comments in response to this story.
    Is it April Fools?

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    • Nick August 13, 2014 at 5:08 pm

      Perfect 10-> Nadia Comaneci-> Romanian. But yes, still weird.

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      • 9watts August 13, 2014 at 5:11 pm

        yeah, I got the perfect 10 double entendre all right. But I am still missing the logic (perhaps there isn’t any) that holds all these vaguely dirty, mixed metaphors together.

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        • dr2chase August 14, 2014 at 2:58 am

          It would have been interesting to have been a fly on the wall when this boneheaded advertisement was being dreamed up. Nadia Comaneci is not exactly a current reference.

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          • Chris I August 14, 2014 at 12:13 pm

            Nor is it relevant to cycling at all. I wouldn’t invest any money in this company; it sounds like it’s run by a bunch of half-wits.

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            • Dan August 14, 2014 at 3:42 pm

              Well, they’ve made the Portland Century more boring (trying to make it as flat as possible), so…probably.

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  • Peejay August 13, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Why is it sexist?

    1. A female is hired as a weather reporter but must work in attire that is not appropriate for the workplace.
    2. Her actual job—weather reporting—is ignored because the attire is distracting to most viewers.
    3. Commentary is made that suggests that the commenter is not aware how this might have happened, when in fact the commenter did know all along, which makes the commenter—presumably male—look wise.
    4. It is understood that the woman was only hired because of her appearance, and that her ability to report on the weather is irrelevant, which makes her look gullible, dumb, a self-serving manipulator of male desire, or some combination of all three.
    5. We all get to laugh at it because we claim that it’s “ironic”.

    I hope that helps people who are not the butt of this unfunny joke understand why those who are might be offended. Now tell me again why we are being too sensitive?

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  • Peejay August 13, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    I fear that those who would have the most interesting things to say about this story are going to steer clear of the comments section to avoid getting disgusted by the comments they are likely to see here, thereby leaving those comments to stand unanswered and unchallenged.

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  • scott August 13, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    …..and you reprinted the picture.

    You used it to get that same pop that they wanted.

    You are not on the highroad just because you say you are.

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    • Peejay August 13, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      The picture was reprinted to hold it up to ridicule, and defuse the power it had. I’m OK with that, mostly.

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    • 9watts August 13, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      I’m trying to imagine this story without the picture. It makes hopelessly little sense with the picture. How confusing would it be without it?!

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      • scott August 13, 2014 at 5:49 pm

        It would have been simple to post a link. Yet there it is. Front and center.

        The discussion is about a sexist email and that could have been described without a pic.

        The concept of sexism in the cycling world seems to be whats on the table, not whether or not the picture is sexist. It is clearly an objectification so we don’t need to discuss that.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor) August 13, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      No, we used it because we’re reporting on a news story and the photograph is central to the story. As I understand it, Good Sport isn’t being criticized for distributing a photo of a woman in a swimsuit. It’s being criticized for using a photo of a woman in a swimsuit to promote a bike event.

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      • 9watts August 13, 2014 at 5:59 pm

        “It’s being criticized for using a photo of a woman in a swimsuit to promote a bike event.”
        and perhaps also for the tasteless innuendo.

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      • pdxer13 August 13, 2014 at 6:25 pm

        If it was a woman in a swimsuit promoting a triathlon, then that would be fine. So, no, Good Sport using this particular photo is not okay. And it’s not okay when you use it either. They used it to promote an event, then acknowledged the potential harm in doing so, and apologized. You’re using a sexist photo related to a sexist promotional campaign to support your blog post.

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        • Michael Andersen (News Editor) August 13, 2014 at 6:35 pm

          I’m open to being persuaded otherwise, pdxer13, but we disagree. I just don’t think it’s possible to adequately explain this story without seeing the photo in question.

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        • TRO August 13, 2014 at 8:58 pm

          WOW you know nothing about triathlon then, do you?

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        • scott August 14, 2014 at 9:05 am

          Wrong.

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      • scott August 14, 2014 at 9:04 am

        The discussion is sexism in bike culture. You could have penned a thoughtful article on that topic and started a lively discussion. Instead, you reprinted the problem email, in total, and said “look what they did”.

        This is reporting on the level of “local FD gets cat out of tree”. Truly low hanging fruit.

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      • Oregon Mamcita August 15, 2014 at 9:45 am

        Michael,

        No reason not to run the picture. It did not violate journalistic standards for BP to run the picture.

        The malfeasance lies with the event’s photo editor (or lack thereof).

        In this case- the photo editor did an amazingly piss-poor job of a picking a photo. What the heck does a jack-off aid (c’mon- that’s why we have these pix) have to do with a bike race? What’s with the reference to Romania? Why this picture and not- say- a BIKE.

        Everything about the ad is wrong. Plus, it looks like a boring old stock photo. The photo lacks an artistic touch. I bet it was free.

        Perhaps the event’s organizers should show some respect to graphic designers and avoid unprofessional DIY marketing disasters.

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      • Oregon Mamcita August 15, 2014 at 9:54 am

        Michael, my reply in support of your position is below somewhere.

        i just want to say that Romanian weather reporters in swimsuits don’t have anything in common with a bike event in Oregon. The ad fails as graphic design. Leave the Surrealism to Salvador Dali…. just put a bike on your bike event poster, okay? How they manage to advertise a nice event with such an obvious failure of a poster is beyond me. They went out of their way to fail…

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  • KHG August 13, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Sure, I can see how you can look at this one instance, and say “why can’t people just loosen up, what’s the big deal?” And sometimes I laugh along too.

    But as a woman, it’s not just this one instance. The reason women complain about this sort of email, and don’t just loosen up, is that it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Sometimes I just get tired of DEALING WITH THIS SORT OF F*CKING SH*T ALL DAY LONG EVERY DAY such that most of the time I don’t notice it any more than I notice the air that I’m breathing.

    Sometimes I am sick of the constant objectification of women everywhere I turn.

    Sometimes I am sick of the way too many men feel that my very act of walking or biking down the street, or even merely existing, gives them the right to catcall me, to try to intimidate me, corner me, grope me.

    Sometimes I am sick of the way I automatically know where every man is in a parking lot at night, headed in what direction, and how quickly, while I calculate how much damage I could do with my keys if necessary.

    Sometimes I am sick of debating whether or not to tell off the guy harassing me on my commute because I worry he will escalate things if I do.

    Sometimes I am sick of reading another news article about how women who don’t negotiate for a higher salary get paid less than men, and how women who do negotiate get paid less than men *and* disliked for being greedy.

    Sometimes I am sick of explaining to disbelieving men how tiring it can be to deal with a usually low-grade but always constant onslaught of sexist things.

    So yes, sometimes I laugh at things like this email, and can see the (feeble) humor in it. But other days, it’s the thousandth cut, and yes, I do blow my stack like the feminazi b*tch that I’m sure many reading this will write me off as.

    But if you profess to care about women, and then ignore and dismiss it when women tell you that this sort of thing can be discouraging, alienating, and offensive, I have news for you. You are part of the problem. Try listening. Try creating a culture where this sort of thing is not the final straw for the women around you. Then maybe we could laugh at the joke with you.

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    • Shyla O. August 13, 2014 at 7:38 pm

      ^ Comment of the week

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    • shuppatsu August 14, 2014 at 10:10 am

      I agree, a fantastic comment. Too many of these arguments are people talking past each other, between people who have long ago made the link to and internalized how the representation of women as sex objects both stems from and contributes to sexist attitudes, and people who don’t see any inherent value judgment being made against women in favor of men.

      I think it must be incredibly frustrating for women to have to establish and re-establish the foundational basis for why an action is sexist every time they want to point out sexist behavior. On the other hand, the foundation must be laid or no meaningful discussion can be had.

      What works for me are links to concise essays that lay down the conceptual framework for the assertions being made. An example that comes to mind is, when talking about privilege, linking to Peggy McIntosh’s Invisible Knapsack essay. I have a lot of criticisms of that essay, but it changed the way I saw things. It’s a good primer on the concept of privilege and the blind spots that it creates. If I hadn’t read it, I would be earnestly and with good intentions be frustrating the hell out of any feminists, who internally must be thinking “Christ, do I really have to explain and defend the concept of privilege again???”

      Similarly, this post could be linked to as an explanatory bridge to any number of futile conversations about sexism floating around the internet.

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    • PDX SE Rider August 14, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      I used to worry about being short and got really mad at the constant and daily reminders from tall people. I was an objectified elf. People thought it was cute to touch my head or use the word “cute” to immasculate me.

      How precious.

      Then I got over it and suddenly my world changed. I stopped feeling injured.

      Maybe the culture changed somehow. Nah. Pro Athletes still make tons of money and tall people still make more on average. That wasn’t it.

      Anyway, thank you to those advocates who fought for short people equality and broke some of the cultural barriers imposed by evil tall people.

      1st World Problems here people. If you really want to address sexism and feel compassion for the daily and multiple injuries we all inflict upon each other each and every minute of the day, please work for change outside of this country. Please educate! Oh man, you know?

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      • Pete August 14, 2014 at 8:09 pm

        I’m deeply offended that you’ve described tall people as evil and accused me of creating barriers just because I belong to a set of individuals with a distinguishing characteristic. You’re a heightist!

        Nah, just f’in with ya. Some of my closest friends are vertically challenged.

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    • Middle of the Road guy August 16, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      Sometimes I am sick of all the women stereotyping every guy as a creep/rapist.

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  • pdxer13 August 13, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Had the same thought. Good Sport Promotion had to apologize for the photo. And rightly so. BikePortland turns around and uses it without apology, making me even more disappointed.

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  • Anne Hawley August 13, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    One of the better apologies I’ve seen lately. None of this “we’re sorry if you got offended” stuff, but the real deal.

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  • Mossby Pomegranate August 13, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Welcome to Portlandia…where it’s mandatory to be constantly offended.

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    • 9watts August 13, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      Mossby,

      have you read any of the (sincere) comments in this thread?

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      • Mossby Pomegranate August 13, 2014 at 6:50 pm

        Yeah I did. And nothing speaks louder to this promoter than not giving them your money. End of story.

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      • davemess August 13, 2014 at 7:03 pm

        And yet we live in the city with the highest per capita strip clubs in the country (with virtually no zoning laws restricting their locations), and where is the outrage?

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        • Mindful Cyclist August 13, 2014 at 8:41 pm

          People know what they are going to see walking into a strip club–they are making a choice. But, if I sign up for a century ride, I am not expecting to see a scantily clad woman in a bikini.

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        • Michael Andersen (News Editor) August 13, 2014 at 10:47 pm

          In my opinion, the reason both of this week’s gender-related incidents are newsworthy is not the existence of objectification (as several people have pointed out, there’s nothing wrong or unusual about finding a stranger attractive) but the context of these particular objectifications.

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        • scott August 14, 2014 at 1:57 pm

          Here’s a guy that goes into burger joints and get offended by ground beef.

          Also, how many strip clubs end up in your email inbox?

          The existence of strip clubs does not mean we have to be ok with sexism in cycling.

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          • davemess August 15, 2014 at 1:09 pm

            How many emails that go out to 0.0001% of the city do I have to walk or drive by on a regular basis with my kid?

            I’m not necessarily anti-strip club, just think the zoning (or lack of) here is ridiculous.

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            • scott August 18, 2014 at 9:26 am

              If you don’t lock your kid in a box now the child may learn that people take off their clothes for money and that diet soda doesn’t taste like regular.

              Just a thought; since you are driving, take a route that doesn’t go past those affronts to your child’s fine sensibilities. It’s not like an email from a list serve that you are on which appears in your inbox with no screening since it is from a list serve that you are on.

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              • Bc August 18, 2014 at 10:16 am

                There’s a difference between acknowledging deplorable circumstances and willfully encouraging or participating in them. Of course we want our kids to know that racism exists, too — but that doesn’t mean that it’s OK for a white person to disparage an African American by using the N word or whatever, just because racism exists somewhere. Instead, it’s up to the rest of us who care about those who are demeaned by such behavior to call it out and try to change it. Many of us think it’s disrespectful to both women and cycling to use such an image in an ad campaign, and we simply want to tell the perpetrators that this is how and why we think so, and that we won’t support an event that acts disrespectfully. If enough of us do that, the behavior might change, just like calling out our friends who tell racist jokes. Apparently, it worked: the event promoters got it, and apologized (although as I noted earlier, they failed to extend the apology to all the original recipients). Give them credit for being open minded and empathetic enough to both admit their ignorance, to reconsider their attitudes, and to change them based on the response to their ill-conceived ad — rather than stubbornly refusing to reconsider their attitudes in light of new information.

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        • Oregon Mamcita August 15, 2014 at 9:05 am

          Thanks for pointing this out, Dave. We essentially have brothels in my neighborhood. Portland is a hub for child sex trafficking- and we prosecute buying a teenager as a low level offense (prostitution) and not child sex abuse. So it is a city-wide problem. Hales could take action tomorrow on child sex trafficking via a publicity campaign and a threat to throw “johns” into the slammer for buying 15 year old boys or girls.

          As for the bike community and sexism- well I’ve seen it for years. The bike community is very us-against then, very male-dominated, with certain male type people on this blog constantly dictating other people’s lifestyles through zoning and deliberate congestion. That kind of mindset easily slides into sexism and class-ism.

          The photo was a lame, lame choice for the event.

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          • 9watts August 15, 2014 at 9:31 am

            “certain male type people on this blog constantly dictating other people’s lifestyles through zoning and deliberate congestion.”

            That’s rich. Dictating deliberate congestion?
            I think the people in their cars are quite able all by themselves to cause congestion. Whether it makes sense to think of this as deliberate I’m not interested in speculating. Most (all?) who live on a transit corridor in parts of Portland where apartment buildings are sprouting like mushrooms (your favorite topic to kick here) don’t need a car. Once those folks discover that they can do their business without a car the tiny fraction that remains for whom eschewing a car seems inconceivable will have ample room to park and drive.

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    • Pete August 14, 2014 at 8:18 pm

      The Berkeley of the Northwest!

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  • Erica August 13, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    I received this promotional email (I am signed up for the ride) and immediately emailed the company expressing my disgust. How this image/message was supposed to be “an attempt at humor” is beyond me. For those of you who cannot grasp why people (men & women) find this offensive, I am not going to explain it to you. I am tired of having to do so in various other situations in my life (some comments above & other recent stories on bikeportland should help clue you in).

    Aside from posting an apology on their facebook page, Good Sport Promotion should email an apology to everyone that received the original message. And while they are it, how about donating a portion of proceeds from the ride to a local group working on empowering girls/women?

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  • Dwaine Dibbly August 13, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    I think I received the original email but I deleted it because it looked like spam. Glad I did.

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    • e2pii August 13, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      I did the same — and I also assumed it must be spam or that GSP was hacked. I was shocked and embarrassed in the short second it was on my computer screen at work.

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  • Dave August 13, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    frighteningly boneheaded

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  • Maren August 13, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Thank you, Michael (and BP in general) for continuing to report on equity issues of gender and race in the local bike community, despite the bike-bro backlash you always get in the comments when you do. That is leadership and principled journalism, and I for one appreciate it. I believe this blog is helping to bring about the inclusive cycling utopia we would all like to see Portland become.

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  • Bc August 13, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Agreed that running the photo on BP is necessary for readers to understand the story. How could they post a link to an image that appeared in an email, not a link able website?

    Disagree that “nothing is more powerful” than simply not signing up. If the company doesn’t know WHY you didn’t sign up, how are its managers going to learn that what they did was offensive and hurt their business? There are plenty of reasons why someone might not have signed up.

    Although i commend the company for admitting its mistake, I don’t think the apology went far enough. If BP’S report is correct that it was extended only to those who viewed the company’s Facebook page and here on BP, there’s a good chance that many recipients of the original sexist email message didn’t see it. (I received the original myself but never heard about the apology till now.) if the company’s apology is truly sincere, it needs to send a followup apology email to every recipient of the original message. Shouldn’t be hard: they already have the recipient list and the message of apology drafted.

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  • Jim Lee August 13, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Usage, again Michael.

    “Gender” is a grammatical term converted to a euphemism for sexuality. Surely you know enough to use such words accurately.

    Not that it matters, but in German girls are neuter and turnips are feminine.

    Let’s keep it that way, shall we?

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    • 9watts August 13, 2014 at 10:48 pm

      “‘Gender’ is a grammatical term converted to a euphemism for sexuality.” This is hardly the whole story, Jim Lee.
      Perhaps you will find this review of Ivan Illich’s book Gender helpful:
      http://tinyurl.com/nmra3to
      The book itself is well worth reading.

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  • Emre Yildirim August 13, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    This is nothing compared to the Stradalli ads. Go on google, and do an image search for “stradalli bike” and you’ll see what I mean. Strippers on bikes! Anyway, it’s good to see blog posts about this stuff and I think attitudes will change in the future. Not only is it disrespectful to women, but it’s bad for cycling in general. Makes all of us look like a bunch of bros, and that’s definitely not the case.

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    • Pete August 15, 2014 at 1:06 pm

      And yet they sponsor some of the top female racers with Colavita. Is that like buying carbon credits?

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  • danny August 13, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    Using bikini approach to attempt to promote a bike ride = ill thought-out and sexist.

    Genuine and immediate apology from promoter = a good move.

    Forgiveness = a virtue for all.

    Using a screenshot of the ad to illustrate a story about sexism = perfectly appropriate and valuable journalism.

    Criticizing article on sexism in cycling for itself being sexist = a Portlandia moment in real life. Hopefully Fred Armisen reads BikePortland.

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  • TOM August 14, 2014 at 7:16 am

    Ah, yes … the BikePortlandia.org comments sections are usually worth a good laugh or two. Great unmined fodder for the show.

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  • Todd Hudson August 14, 2014 at 8:00 am

    People who are bothered by this should probably avoid going to Europe. Not-even-bikini scantily-clad women on billboards. Skinamax on broadcast television. It’s awful.

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    • jd August 21, 2014 at 7:18 pm

      I went to Europe and no company so blatantly assumed that any of my hobbies were for dumb straight men.

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  • Janet Lafleur August 14, 2014 at 9:55 am

    The sexism of the promotion runs a little deeper than just featuring a woman in a skimpy bikini. The promo presumes that if there’s a woman in a bikini delivers the weather then the viewers would be too distracted to hear the news (presumably due to lust). That’s two layers of “male gaze” presumption, first that the viewers of the original weather report are all heterosexual men, followed by the viewers of the email are presumed to be hetero men as well.

    Given that a significant percentage of century participants are women, and another significant percentage are men whose maturity level is beyond the collegiate level, the promo was just wrong on so many levels.

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    • PDX SE Rider August 14, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      But for many men and women it is true. We are easily distracted by what we think is beautiful or that which we desire. Why is that wrong?

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    • Inge August 19, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      Bravo, Janet. My browser is full of ads inviting me to meet “exotic women”. This assumes I am a heterosexual male and not “exotic” (which seems to mean “Asian”). The default Internet viewer is heterosexual male with a fetish for Asian women.

      I have yet to see an ad inviting me to meet middle-aged men from Spain, or in fact to meet any men at all.

      This is the sexism that the willfully ignorant in these comments fail to see. They see themselves as the standard and the rest of us are deviations from the norm.

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  • Granpa August 14, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Where does the World Naked Bike Ride fit into this kerfuffle? Is everyone objectified and therefore equal and cool? Is no one objectified (not bloody likely) How about the spectators, many of whom have prurient interests stirred? KHG’s comments reflect a real problem, but when 9000 people strip nude and engage in exhibitionism my understanding of cyclist’s concern for the problem becomes muddied.

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    • TonyJ August 14, 2014 at 11:39 am

      Context, Granpa, context.

      I haven’t seen anyone seriously advocating for puritanism here in PDX or in the bike scene. Sexuality is fine to express and celebrate. Context is what is important. WNBR is a (mostly) voluntary event. People choose to participate and/or observe. Are there bad actors, sure, but for the most part it’s much more exhilarating than titillating. People being naked doesn’t mean they are objectified.

      Do we really find it hard to understand how this email was in poor taste? How the CityBikes employee’s comment was in poor taste? That’s really the first step here for most of the men in these threads. Acknowledge that the content is inappropriate for the setting. Resolve to try to be aware of the setting and, please, STOP trying to defend it.

      It’s ok if you feel a little threatened, maybe some of us are scared that we’ll be called out for boorish behavior. We all make mistakes and that’s just being human, but once you’ve made the mistake, how you react is what’s important.

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    • jd August 21, 2014 at 7:15 pm

      WNBR has naked men also.

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  • Schrauf August 14, 2014 at 11:48 am

    The attempt at humor is so bad I wonder what I am missing, but the ad seems as racist as it is sexist. I get the general connection to Romanians, but that does not change the embedded racism. It clearly attempts to imply Romanians as a group are stupid.

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  • Buzz August 14, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    The P.C. police strike again!

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    • TonyT August 14, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      One doesn’t need to be a member of the PC Brigade to know that this was mind-bogglingly stupid. And terrible graphic design as well.

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    • Mindful Cyclist August 14, 2014 at 12:51 pm
  • CaptainKarma August 14, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I’m not getting involved. But that will offend SOMEone.

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  • PDX SE Rider August 14, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Gibbs
    Point: willfully missed.
    Recommended 31

    Yes you did miss my point and so did the original detractors of the email. Oh well I tried. My position isn’t popular and I understand that and sort of why. Because maybe it’s just very hard to accept that the people who are mad at this advertisement are BEING SEXIST. The arguments against it are SEXIST and use stereotypes and assume attitudes, behaviour and the intent not just of the creators but of the receivers. Do you not see?

    And it’s not their place – the critics crying objectification – to determine why or how or what men like or don’t like or what women like or don’t like or what motivates us or what they consider we are too dumb to recognize.

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  • PDX SE Rider August 14, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Anne Hawley
    As a white Portlander and therefore not the target or subject of racism, I understand that I don’t get to define what constitutes racism. If a person of color says that something is racist, I accept that it’s racist. I shut up, I notice, I try to learn.
    I don’t argue, and I don’t ask for an explanation. I can read, and it’s my job to work toward understanding.
    As a woman, I do get to define what constitutes sexism, even while I still understand that my definition may not coincide with another woman’s.
    If something that strikes me (and a lot of other women) as sexist doesn’t seem sexist to you, fine. But your not understanding why it’s sexist doesn’t mean a) that it’s not sexist, or b) that we who find it sexist owe you an explanation or a defense.
    Why is this so hard? If one woman says it’s sexist, then it’s sexist to one woman–which means it’s sexist.
    Recommended 42

    That’s a dangerous slippery slope – one person thinks so, so we all must think so? No. I disagree. But I agree we can feel compassion and be aware of our impact on others. How can you measure or quantify any individual going further? How many individuals being offended or injured constitutes a real problem to compell action?

    But I am compassionate to the fact many feel injured by this advertisement. I do understand. But I do also believe we may be drastically oversimplifying and again… all the comments against my position are very, very individual and personal. Just saying. Please understand and I will try to as well. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m actually usually always on the other side of this issue and right there with you. But i’ve given up on entrenching the fundamental differences between men and women and people in general and rather looking for the common thread of unity.

    Also I’ve accepted the fact that I am going to be made fun of and I enjoy it and am not offended in the slightest. I am wearing a bikini while I type this.

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    • Oregon Mamcita August 15, 2014 at 9:35 am

      “If one woman says it’s sexist, then it’s sexist to one woman–which means it’s sexist.”

      Anne, your statement is simply not true from a logical standpoint.

      If we replace the “one woman” with X, “sexism” with Y and “it is sexist for everyone” with Z, this is how your assertion looks:

      If X, then Y, therefore, If X, then Z.

      To give you a hilarious example: If one woman thinks that GW Bush was a genius, then GW Bush was a genius. That is the structure of your argument.

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  • jim August 14, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    I’m sure if she was naked there wouldn’t be any complaints, maybe even a couple thousand people signing up.

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  • TOM August 15, 2014 at 8:38 am

    BP.O loses credibility when you delete posts that you don’t like.

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  • Chris August 15, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Had the tables been turned, this would have never been a story.

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  • Jim Lee August 15, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    9 watts:

    Ivan Illich was a fine Catholic priest.

    Fred Nietzsche was the ultimate Protestant.

    He too had several novel things to say on the subject.

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