I’ve experienced sexism and misogyny in many forms, but I noticed so many little micro-aggressions when I started riding MTB and inserting myself into a domain most typically populated by men. I've encountered some guys on the trail who say things that diminish the experience of women on trails. I’ve heard things like: “Wow, it’s amazing you’re even out here!” And I think why? Because I’m a woman? Because I don’t look very athletic? Because this is a male space? Other times, I’ve been egged on to ride the jump track on my local trails: “Let’s see YOU do this!” WHY? 1. I already DID THAT. 2. I don’t have to prove myself to you just because you asked me to. 3. Why would you assume I will only do it if you challenge me?
In the larger framework of the sexist culture we live in, these things may seem very small. But they matter. Word choice matters. I understand that the men in these stories may have thought they were encouraging me, but that is part of the problem, too. Thinking that they are pumping up a woman because they point out something we’re doing that they don’t see other women doing isn’t helpful. I’m not exceptional because I ride a bicycle or because I can hang with “the boys” or because of any of the other things that I may do that other women may not. We must stop using language that diminishes our experience and that makes it sound like being a woman is only good if you aren’t like all the other women.
This collection was created to support my thoughts around this issue, and wearing a Bitch Country MTB logo means I support ALL BEINGS who wanna ride getting out on the trails without having to worry about proving themselves to ANYONE. You can support this, too. :)