Wednesday, September 16

One more reason to walk off the planet

Two people brought the Interbike sock scandal to my attention (as if I wasn't reading about it all day long), I assume wanting to hear what virtual fart noises would come out of my head.

You can read (the most) about it here on the Surly Blog.

To be honest, I'm an onion of thought on the topic of using sexual imagery in order to promote/sell/advertise a product.  Peel back a layer, and you'll find an even more eye-watering layer of smell underneath it.

I could say that we're all born equal, but were not.  Man, woman, short, tall, chubby, skinny, propensity to bald at an early age...


I do think we're equal in so many ways, in as much that we all have the potential to be an asshole, and not someone I would treat as an equal due to my extreme dislike of assholes.  That would have to be decided through shared life experiences, and not based on gender, color, or nationality.  You know, things that are pretty much out of your own control.  I didn't choose to be a white American male, but every morning I have to decide if I want to be an asshole.

Let's throw religion out the window.  Assuming only one of them got it right, the rest of them just made up a bunch of rules and put them in writing.  Many of those rule books (which get reinterpreted constantly) don't really treat women as equals either, so... maybe we should skip that topic altogether.

If we're just descendants of apes, who's only interests are eating, tending to their loved ones, enjoying their down time, protecting what's theirs, and procreating...

Wow, not much of a stretch of the imagination.  We started there and then started making rules.  Rules mostly made out of fear and a desire to control those fears and the others around us (who we're afraid of).

Deep down, we're hardwired with a desire to stay alive and keep making more of us.  Sex.

I read an interesting book called Buyology years ago.

Fascinating.  All about how things are marketed to us at a subconscious level.  Does triggering our mating instincts sell things?

Yes.  Yes, it does.  Not only do boobs sell things to men, ribbed man-abs in the window of an Ambercrombie and Fitch do to.  Instinctively.  Because whether we like it or not, we know women want what they got, so we want what they got... and this is going on in our gray matter.  Not necessarily with voices or images in our head, but just electrical blips that we can't really control.

Holy shit, where was I?

So anyways, apes making rules and trying to figure out life.  Rules to make sure that no one hurts anybody else, but so no one hurts anyone else's feelings?

How far do we go?  Make rules banning a certain amount of skin exposure associated with each product we're trying to sell?  I mean, a suntan lotion ad without an attractive person in a bathing suit seems ridiculous.  If a woman is in an ad for a cycling related product, how far can her jersey be unzipped before a line is crossed?

We as a society came up with all these rules about what body parts should be seen in public, and then in turn, we figured out a way to sell it all back to ourselves for a tidy profit.  I didn't have to google very hard to find images of different cultures where the women are walking around topless and the men have their dorks hanging out.  They all look pretty happy in the pictures, and nobody is buying something based on its proximity to breasts in an advertisement.  I guess their society needs a couple hundred more years to "evolve."

Every day, most of us waste time making decisions to alter our current appearance. Clothes, make up, tattoos, hair, plastic surgery. Whatever. All we're doing is changing how we as objects end up on someone's retina and are then perceived by those viewing us. We treat ourselves like objects, tell our fragile psyches that we "feel better about ourselves" this way or that.

I select my t-shirt based on how well it accentuates my few positive attributes while hiding my mostly negative parts. You know, how I look without a shirt.

But add beer and social decorum falls away and my shirt is off in a banquet hall. Shirts don't make sense for anyone once the temperature gets above 72°, unless you're on the couch watching Netflix and trying to keep the popcorn from getting woven into your chest hair.

The time we spend in front of the mirror would be better spent figuring out how to be more interesting, perhaps less of an asshole. Hell, you'd probably be better off clicking likes that equal prayers, because that might actually make a difference in the world.

But prolly not.

Where do I stand on this topic that I need to get back to?

I don't stand anywhere.  I feel bad for the people that are offended, bad for the people who didn't think they were going to offend anyone, and bad for myself for taking a mild interest in other people making each other feel bad.

I wear socks that say "FUCK YEAH" on them, and that offends some people.  Do I care?

Maybe a little.

But do I want to have to?  No.

Did you know those people running around naked on the other side of the planet have way more free time than we do AND DON'T HAVE THE INTERNET?

I don't think they would care what kind of socks you wear.

That's as deep into my onion as I have time to peel.  So many more thoughts, no real end or tidy way to wrap it up, put a bow on it, and present it as an ideology.  And who cares anyways?   It's just, like, my opinion, man.


garthpro said...

BEST response to a non-issue! people are fucking drowning to get away for a tyrant in some country 90% of us can't find a map, and THIS is what has teh cycling world torn up? come'on

Anonymous said...

I agree with any point that ends with a Big Lebowski reference.

Anonymous said...

I recommend all of Linstrom's books. And I'm pretty pissed that fat sexist bitches and weak men got the socks removed from the goodie bag before I was able to pick mine up. I didn't get mine.

Anonymous said...

I would have told those that had issues with the socks to go fuck their mothers! I'm gonna design some socks with Jesus and Muhammad sword fighting with their biblical dicks.

Anonymous said...

Try not to be an asshole? Sounds like a plan.

Patrick Dowd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I think you missed the point about the backlash.

Putting those in the Interbike bags is just a small reminder that women are to be oogled at in the bike scene, not to be acting participants. That was what was so upsetting about it. It's not the actual imagery, it's what the imagery represents as a whole in the "industry" (which if you know enough cyclists, the majority hate the cycling industry).

It's like when we talk about podium girls, or we only talk about how hot a winning downhill MTBer is. There's a huge problem with equality in cycling for women and this just belabors that point, that cycling is for men, not women. And that is what is so upsetting about it.

PS Love the blog, this is not an attack on you, just a framing of the problem from someone who was upset by it.

Anonymous said...

So what should be on them? A woman leading a field of men across a finish line? Give me a fucking break. I swear we have become a nation full of complete pussies. Give me some socks with two chicks 69'ing!

dicky said...

I get your point, worntreads. I do (somewhat) believe Interbike's apology/reaction.

I didn't miss the point of all the backlash. Just stating that I don't have one myself.

Anonymous said...

These socks are not the problem with women's cycling. These socks are not what is making women afraid to race bikes and participate. These socks are certainly not the reason my pay out last weekend was half that of the mens.

Funny all these women up in arms have certainly never been there for me through my cycling ups and downs. They certainly didn't contribute during the 3 months I saved up for my perfect race bike. I can see why now. They have more important things to worry about then women ACTUALLY riding their bikes.

I am happy to race and I'm also happy to be "oogled" at. The combination of these two things has given me opportunity. I have never once felt objectified but rather admired and appreciated by the male cyclists I spend so much time with. I'm not scared of my sexuality and I'm sure as hell not scared to ride my bike. I will use every advantage I have to get ahead in this business and there aint a damn thing wrong with that.

If you're that worried about the socks why don't you sponsor an amateur racer next season. Be a part of the solution of this perceived "problem"

Anonymous said...

Seems like you're working pretty hard to be an asshole or at least one that supports them.

Juvenile movie reference, not really a good look on...anyone.


Anonymous said...

"PS Love the blog, this is not an attack on you, just a framing of the problem from someone who was upset by it."

What's extra sad is that the discussion has devolved into not whether the original issue is offensive or not, but whether women have the right to object to it.

God. Bike industry and all your fanboys and apologists, you are awful and you completely suck. The more I see this BS the more I feel you'll never get any more of my considerable, middle-aged-lady-with-lots-of-disposable-income dollars.

Anonymous said...

Wow, these comments. So because industry people are offended that their industry's main work event is laden with sexualized images of women, they much be fat sexist bitches? Or they're only pissed because the socks don't feature a woman leading a pack of men, you know, since there's no grey area in between? Or, (missing the point entirely) women are simply pissed that these socks exist, not about the statement made by including them in the welcome bag.

Yeah, I guess we were wrong to think their could possibly be a problem within the industry regarding the perception of women.

Dicky, choosing to stand "nowhere" on an issue so blatantly obvious is a bullshit answer, especially given the nature of the anonymous comments on your blog regarding this topic. By "not standing anywhere," you're silence speaks for you, even if you wish it didn't. This isn't a women's issue. This is an issue about taking the elitist asshole mentality out of the industry. But yeah, it's just a pair of socks and not a universal experience among nearly every industry female.

the original big ring said...

How come no one wants to leave their name? Including the last commenter who seemed upset with comments by "anonymous commenters". Grow some balls (ovaries) folks and stop hiding behind the anonymity of a keyboard.

It's a pair of socks. If it had two garden gnomes in g-strings embracing then the "vertically challenged, overly hairy flora living life partners" of the world would have found a way to have them there socks taken out of a loot bag that was supposed to be fun.

We live in a society of ultra-political correctness. There's not much you can say, do, think, believe, value that won't upset some group. People need to harden the fuck up. If you don't like something, tough kitties - go pound salt and get on with life.

If people put as much effort into living their own lives and stopped bitching about every frick'n cause then the world would be a better place. Thus, I support Richard in his no-stance blog post. Get on with it, don't be an asshole and play nice.

original big ring

P.s. if anyone has those socks and has an issue with them you can send them to me. All my riding socks have holes in the toes.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, 'cause being at the industry's largest conference and seeing women blatantly objectified in the welcome bags given to paying attendees is just like short people getting up in arms about gnomes. The fucking straw men in these arguments are ridiculous.

I'm not sure if I'm more disappointed by the willful ignorance. Or the accidental stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Whoever the anonymous comment is who said this:
"These socks are not the problem with women's cycling. These socks are not what is making women afraid to race bikes and participate."
This bullshit feminist argument that women don't participate in biking and socks like these are part of the reason why, and the pervasive "EXCUSE" that women don't ride/race bikes is because Blah blah blah, MEN, Blah blah blah, Inequality is just that, an EXCUSE. A BS facade that so many women use to make the EXCUSE why they don't ride. Face it ladies, those of us who ride regularly don't give a shit about being the minority in the sport. We do it because we LOVE it and the rest just can't HACK it. They may try it, but it's not easy and they give up! We've seen it time and time again.

Give me a break with the damn socks. First of all, I am just happy that they featured brunettes for a change...blondes have always been the sex objects. Give us brunettes a chance! And second of all, if you don't like the socks, don't wear them. Not EVERY damn thing has to be a political statement read into like it's a Dan Brown cryptic novel.

Anonymous said...

the models for the socks were probably dudes......

Anonymous said...

I want a pair. Where can I purchase them?.