Friday, April 17, 2015

Australian sexism herds cycling to Whoop Whoop

In Amsterdam, Marc Van Woudenberg's beautiful photography (left) shows us how mothers and babies 'Own the lanes' there but here ...

... sexism has raised its ugly head, and we have been shooed away, whilst the strong and the stupid have been herded into races such as Santos Down Under (image above) plus many other macho Weekend Warrior Bikedrafting rides to boot.

Everyone seems to get mad when the 'sexism' word is attached to mandatory bicycle helmet laws but it is not my fault that people do not understand what they do not understand.

We are a sexist nation period.

We have an extraordinary high domestic violence rate with our current government on the one hand paying lip service to promised assistance whilst on the other cutting funding to vital women's refuges.

We have a male prime minister who has appointed himself the minister for women and who cannot see the cruel irony in his deluded narcississtic captain's pick.

Men in Australia think they are better than women period.

Men in Australia patronise women, and are particularly critical of women who stand up to their male machinations. They are quick to rebadge women who object to sexual discrimination with carefully selected words guaranteed to stoke the male public bile such as vexatious, complaining, bossy, girly, stupid old biddy, real feminist-type, all the while pointing out these women have 'hidden' agendas ... ooooooh.

Men in Australia are ageist and seem constantly surprised that women still breathe after the age of 45 (oh ok ... it's probably more 40) let alone work and run things and even protest things.

Men in Australia often couple sexism with racist curlism which seems to completely go under the radar the way banal racism does.

Yes, women with curly hair who do not straighten it but wear it naturally are discriminated against in Australia and this is evident in some workplaces where they have policies on how curly-haired women can wear their hair. Instead of fighting this dreadful discrimination, many women just acquiesce and end up buying straightening gear and other necessary products to achieve a desired 'eurocentric' look and keep their jobs.

Pathetic ... and then I appear on the 'scene' (road, courthouse, website):

┌П┐(◉_◉)┌П┐ on a bicycle built for commuting

┌П┐(◉_◉)┌П┐ clearly female

┌П┐(◉_◉)┌П┐ attired in everyday wear

┌П┐(◉_◉)┌П┐ significantly middle-aged

┌П┐(◉_◉)┌П┐ very frizzy haired

... and all hell breaks out ... as far as Australia's concerned I'm neither normal nor ordinary and that just won't do if you're trying to get on Down Under especially on a bicycle.

Of course things might be better if I had a blokey sort of bike, and I donned a couple of helmets and a spot of lycra and then carried on like a male pork chop on a beachfront somewhere or in a CSG-sponsored race somwhere else.

But turn up in a high street with your shopping baskets, taking a lane or even changing it for another... well, whoop-de-doo-dah those elusive online trolls suddenly present themselves in person, and they can range from policemen calling out 'over here, curly ... where's your helmet?' to prosecutors entertaining themselves and the court at my frizzy expense, or motorists yelling 'fuck off out of my lane, bitch' to magistrates pondering upon any relationship between my wild hairstyle and criminal behaviour ... sadly it can even be dear girlfriends who unhelpfully explain their hair would look like mine if they didn't work bloody hard on it for several hours a day (BTW had I ever thought of using straightening tongs?) ... sigh.

And then to cap it all this off, we have our media.

Take the Sydney Morning Herald's Executive Style:

"... Australia's leading digital source for luxury news, men's styling trends, prestige motoring, high-end spirits and fitness tips" (vomit)

... in which bicycle talk is inserted as an aussie 'man's man' topic for 'pretend-young' male yuppies - it doesn't even attempt to make a connection between bikes and women let alone elderly women - geez ... that paper's sexism is palpable.

So whilst Amsterdam has mothers and babies and fathers and small children and grannies and grandpas 'owning their lanes' on bicycles and sharing their city with cars, we on utility bicycles Down Under, continue to be corralled into oblivion.

And I hate it.


  1. Curlism! Love it - hate it actually, but love that you are speaking of it. That wiki article needs a lot of work though. Perhaps you could contribute a short section on how curlism affects people of Aboriginal Australian origins? Many people from the Mediterranean basin and Middle East have curly hair too.

    Some of the products and processes used for hair straightening are harmful and even toxic.

    And yes, Marc's photos of parents cycling with kids are lovely. That baby was first on a bike before it was born...
    Love this too, from his site:

  2. It has been tragic that women's preferred cycling style has been illegal in Australia for nearly 25 years. Women here have internalised their victim status and believe that riding naturally is too dangerous.

  3. Maintain your rage Sue. So much of what you say here strikes home.