Monday, 29 October 2012

An Open Letter to Wiggle

So, I have a massive backlog of stuff to write about but this cropped up today and I felt compelled to write something about it. This is aimed at Wiggle, the online bike/running/tri shop, that are stupid and short-sighted enough to alienate half their potential consumer base by selling the item which I will get to shortly.

First, I shall set the scene.

I am in my office. I am doing maths as that is what I do. I'm looking at Floquet analysis which is actually quite cool and I am enjoying myself.


As is the way with these thing my brain eventually just melts.


I therefore do what any self-respecting graduate student does in this situation
and goes on the internet.







So, scrolling down the newsfeed, and, what is this?





Has Wiggle got hacked or something? It appears to be advertising pornography...? Wait, hang on, they're selling this stuff?


The offending item is this, a calender featuring a bunch of female cycling pros.




Err. What? I basically saw this and lost my shit a little bit. Then quite a lot. I've been meaning to write something about women and sport for quite a while; stuff started bubbling away with all the of the endless WIMMIN'S VOLLEYBALL ASS PHOTOS all over the press all the fucking time during the Olympics but I held my cool and just enjoyed the sport for what it was. Sport. With athletes in it. This bought all the simmering rage right back up to the surface because fuck you Wiggle. Fuck you, calendar. Fuck you and your "women as objects" bullshit.

A blog post had to be written. I rushed home. A fucking epic rant was brewing and you can't keep that stuff canned up too long. My average speed was faster than the local bus by some significant margin and I was pleased (take that lazy bus riders!)


I threw an omelette down myself and started drawing stuff.

OK, it wasn't an omelette, it was 3 rashers of bacon chopped up and four eggs smushed around in a pan with cheese on it but DETAILS.

This is me right now! Oooo meta.

Now some of you are probably thinking, it's a calendar, what's the big deal? Why rush home to write about this?

WELL. What I (and every other woman who commented on Wiggle's advert) found pretty fucking offensive was (a) why the hell are you sexualising a seatpost clamp - it's a seatpost clamp ffs (b) and, more to the point, these women are all pro cyclists, i.e. they are fucking good at cycling. It makes me really quite sad that these women who have suffered and sweated and bled to get to the top of their sport and to be in the best form they can be are essentially reduced to a face, a set of tits and an arse sitting on a really fucking large front derailleur.

 You know what would be nice? If we celebrated what these women have actually gone out and done and achieved instead of the fact that they are attractive and own a vagina.

Some of you rowers will draw parallels with the Leander men's calender a couple of years ago. You know, the one with Pete Reed and an umbrella in it:

 You know what though? This is not the same. One of the photos is of a girl straddling a massive tyre with tape over her nipples and stripper heals on.

I really do not care about stealing these guys pictures.

The Leander calendar equivalent would have to be Pete Reed wearing some sort of latex underwear with tape over his nipples humping a Concept2.

Yeah sure, the Leander guys all have rolled down onesies and abs everywhere and stuff, but they're doing light-hearted stuff like rowing in a boat and erging and holding trophies they've won, not this weird having-sex-with-bike-components shit. The in-your-face sexuality is just absent in the former and is, well, in your face in the this Cyclepassion thing. Hell, in the Leander one they talk about the Olympic and World Champ and Henley medals they've won, where as this monstrosity? Do they even say what fucking cycling team their on? No.

These women are sportswomen and this is not what sport is about. I do not admire people because they are attractive, I admire them because they go out and do heroic things and overcome adversity and be courageous and suffer and suffer and suffer chasing a dream. To have these women draped over weird large bike components (what is even with that?!?!?! Are they saving money by not producing a catalogue or something?) in such an overtly sexual way just trivialises all they have worked for.

THIS is what sport is:

...it's the Danish LM2x being utterly courageous in the last 500m and taking out the reining Olympic Champions...

Concept2
...it's Kath Grainger enduring three silvers medals to finally get the gold after 16 years and everything that represents...

The Mirror

....it's Frida Svensson taking on the best in the world in 2010 face on... and succeeding....

From Frida's blog
..it's Marianne Vos crushing her demons and soloing to victory in the World Champs, nobody else in the photo....

Getty Images

...it's Robert Millar ripping his and everyone else's legs off on some godforsaken Alp for a jersey with some red dots on it...

Cycling Weekly (And yes I know this photo is from the wrong year)
....it's shaking hands with your opposition on the finish line...

Steve Cristo
..it's a great rivalry coming to an end...


... and it is passion.

The Telegraph
It saddens me greatly that these pros feel they have to do this shit for what, publicity I guess. I mean, these women weren't exactly kidnapped on a training ride and made to sit on giant bike components were they? I'd have like to think that a pro would have more self respect than to trivialise themselves in this way.  Incidentally, one of the reasons I actively dislike Victoria Pendleton is that she feels like she has to do all this stuff when she really doesn't (the other reason is that she cries a lot, but that is another story).

Really? REALLY? (And blue tyres on a red bike?!?!?!?)
YOU ARE A MULTIPLE-WORLD CHAMPION. YOU DON'T HAVE TO REMOVE YOUR CLOTHES AND DO PHOTOSHOOTS AND ALL THAT SHIT. THE WINNING-AT-CYCLING IS ENOUGH.

 FFS VICTORIA. PUT YOUR CLOTHES ON.

I have to evaluate why I do sport when this sort of palaver crops up. Now I am not the most genetically gifted person looks-wise and I know how averages work so I'm going to put myself in the sub-average lookwise category (and no, I am not fishing for complements, I get called 'Sir' about once a fortnight and well, I am not an idiot - you have to deal with the shit life deals you) but you know what, I do not give a shit.

If I want to achieve something I will work my arse off to get there and for that it doesn't matter one bit how attractive I am. I will gladly destroy myself on an ergo or on a turbo or whatever because that way you find your limits, you learn stuff about yourself, you suffer and you become a better human being because of it. I don't train and train and train to get a nice arse so I am somehow more attractive. No, fuck you, I train because I fucking enjoy it, I (perversely) enjoy suffering and I like seeing how good I can be at something. After all, there is no better feeling after a 2K race than knowing you gave every little bit of yourself; it is somehow purifying. You're basically throwing your arms up in the air and shouting "THIS IS ALL I'VE FUCKING GOT AND IF THAT'S NOT ENOUGH, FUCK YOU" to the world (before puking into the lake).

I am not an object that sits on top of stuff in an eluring manner (if I tried many of those poses I would probably fall off anyway). I am not a pair of tits and a vagina. I am a human being who likes to be good at stuff and enjoys the journey of getting to being good at stuff. I like cycling and I like rowing and I like sportsmanship. I like being treated as a human being.

And that is why, Wiggle, you have lost yourself a customer today. You stock this calendar, which insults me on a whole array of different levels and I am not going to buy lots of nice shiny bike stuff off you. Sure, it's a drop in the ocean but I don't care. This represents too much that I hate to put up with to condone.

So, Wiggle I say to you this fine October evening a resounding fuck you. Actually fuck you.

Goodnight.

61 comments:

  1. Almost totally agree with you - except the bit about Victoria Pendleton. Look at the picture - she is actually cycling, and the fact that she has no clothes on shows us what she does in a way that we can't see normally. Look at those leg muscles. It is art, in my humble opinion.
    The calendar shots are just look-at-me-simulating-sex porn.

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    1. OK, you do have bit of a point (except if it was art, why is she on that ugly-as Trek :D). It was mainly chosen as an extreme example...

      Agreed on the leg muscles though. I want leg muscles like that.

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    2. You are absolutely right. The bit about Victoria Pendleton is completely misplaced outrage. That is an example of the beauty of the athletic human form. Sports illustrated comes out with an issue full of nude Olympians every 2 years as well to display the absolute perfection of what humanity can achieve and showcases both men and women equally. In fact my addition featured a stark naked absolutely beautiful man on the cover.

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    3. I do kind of really regret that choice of picture now...! Here is the Cipollini version: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-c7PQOkZAOME/TXZQaQ5p14I/AAAAAAAATYA/wlPzl2Bb4LE/s400/Mario%2BCipollini42.jpeg

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    4. i.e., slut-shaming.

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    5. Agree.The Victoria Pendleton photo it's not a sexual retrogade photo,only natural nude.The ancient Greeks competed naked.Totally different meaning compared to the calender.

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  2. Amen to that. Pass the ergo.

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  3. BOOM! I don't cycle or row so I can't really boycott them with you but go you! Amazing blog post.

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  4. You didn't mention the Power and Grace calendars...?

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  5. Oh... I looked at the pictures first, as I am lazy and like picturebooks, and thought that those poor unfortunate women and how the got shrunk down and can't find any clothes their size.

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  6. Agreed. Leander- fun and banter, doing naked calendars in the light hearted everyone has a body and sometimes its quite good fun to look at it/ show off way. This- women= sex objects, women are bodies and nothing else about them matters. Pendleton possibly art-y at least and omg anatomy.
    (apologies for slight incoherence of comment, my brain is melting)

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  7. Ok more coherent agreeal:

    My instinct says yes it is fine for women to choose to be portrayed sexually and no you will never persuade humans that athletes aren't sexy nor should we! I'm all for healthy and strong being the new skinny as it were.

    But there are lines in the sand between eg the Leander Calendar, the Stade Francais Calendar and this. The Leander Calendar is a bit of fun for those involved and plays on showing off while not taking yourself too seriously, Stade Francais is clearly intended to be sexual but does it artistically and I feel leans towards the aspects of the human body as something aesthetic as well as sexual, this looks like hard core porn.

    I am all for people making their own choices, but we don't know all the facts, did these women expect to end up in a collection of hard core porn with cycling on the back for example? And just because these cyclists may be happy with their decision does not mean that there aren't implications of its existence and being sold on a big cycling/ sport website. It doesn't show (as with leander) that these are women proud of their bodies and wanting to have a bit of fun or even (as with stade) that they are proud of their bodies and want to do something beautiful and sexual. It simply shows them as sexual objects. And whether or not they are ok with that it raises implications that all women (cyclists) are sexual objects when it is done in such a mainstream way.

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    1. Just to reply to two points in this - I think this fundamentally *does* show that these women are proud of their bodies - they would not have got involved, and certainly not have posed in this way, if that were not the case. They should have been kept aware, at all stages of production, of the eventual product and its look/target - that would be a major failure of all parties involved in production if not.

      The reason the Leander calendar comes across more "having a laugh" is because firstly it was a much lower-budget product, and secondly again because of the perceptions within society of what makes men/women attractive. It is socially acceptable, even expected, for guys to take the mick out of themselves when posing for things such as this. The opposite is generally true for women. But that is society, not Wiggle/the calendar production company. Society sets these expected norms, and if these companies want to maximise their sales they know they have to conform to them.

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  8. I've not commented on any of your blog-rants before, and I think it would take a pretty exceptional circumstance for me to do it again, but I for one totally disagree with you.

    Were these women unaware their images would be used in this way? Did they just "happen" to strike a pose as a professional photographer was passing by who took their photograph, and then submitted it to this calendar? Were they drugged/hypnotized and then manipulated? I think not. No, they made an explicit choice to be involved.

    Why?

    To be honest, probably for two reasons. Firstly, they will have been paid for it. Sad fact is, unless you are at the *absolute* top of your sport, being a professional athlete is not exactly a high-income choice of career. Especially in women's sports, which as we all know receive less coverage and therefore less money. Sad but true. Secondly, they are clearly in fantastic shape physiologically - and who, male or female, does not enjoy being in that position. Put those two things together - a need for some extra cash to supplement what must be a difficult bank balance alongside something that both makes them look good and has the potential to earn them money, and then who are you to judge them, or anyone else, for doing it. If Wiggle, and other companies, did not then sell this, the whole point of it would be completely gone - no revenue, no payment for those involved.

    This, however, in my mind is all secondary to the biggest mistake you make here. You seem to actively WANT this to be about objectification of women - hence your attempt to brush over the fact that male athletes do this exact same thing too. I would like to point out that in the wiggle-sold calendar there is no actual nudity, and no suggestion of nudity either - they are all clearly wearing tops+pants. However, for example, in the Leander calendar, there is absolute suggestion, and a implied lack of pants. The photo of the dude with the umbrella, for example, is far more sexually suggestive in my opinion than some of the photos in the wiggle calendar. However, since the existence of these male calendars essentially entirely undermines your wish for this whole thing to be about sexism, you brush them aside. The ultimate point is that these things exist because we as humans have an inherent sex drive, and that can be targeted to make money. Irrespective of gender. Whilst it may be a more male-targeted market on the whole, it is not exclusive - calendars like the Leander ones exist on the same plane, targeting the same basic primitive emotional response.

    I am fully aware that this will most likely have no impact whatsoever on your own opinion, or on anyone else who reads your article and agrees with it. Once we have formed viewpoints we get very excited about sticking to them, even in the face of reasonable counter-arguments. That's not why I wrote this comment. I wrote it because I would like people to at least see that there is not a universal "god-damn Wiggle" sentiment as a result of their choice here, and because I have to feel that if these women chose to do this thing, they must have done so for a reason, and they must in some way benefit from its existence. It's not to my taste, and it could be less suggestive, but to be entirely honest it'll probably sell more this way, and that's the whole point. Ultimately on the assumption that they made an active choice to be involved then I refuse to judge them for it, or Wiggle for supporting them in their decision by selling it - that's the whole point of it.

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    1. If I were to agree any harder with you I would probably explode. Well-spoken

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  9. It is disgraceful. That shimano piece of crap on August has totally devalued that girl's nice tits.

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    1. Comment of the tread AWARDED.

      :D

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    2. Haha, tread. :-)

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  10. http://i11.piczo.com/view/i/3/212/108100/212108100_0_1.jpg

    GB Males selling Bjorn Borg underwear......sex sells, sometimes it's done well, sometimes it's done like home made porn, but like it or not attractive boys and girls sell stuff, and I think most of the people involved rush to do it!.....I think ESPN's body issues do naked athletes well....

    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/espn-body-issue-athletes-naked-shoots-gallery-1.966871

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    1. Ah, but the ESPN shoot is *completely* different to this CyclePassion thing. I actually kind of like it! It is much more a celebration of how awesome these guys are and how attractive they are; putting them in pseudo-bondage and draping them on bike parts isn't.

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    2. There's also a pretty crucial distinction that the ESPN images are of both women and men, and therefore the target audience presumably is too.

      I notice that CyclePassion haven't ever thought to produce an equivalent calendar aimed at a female audience, and that generally rings alarm bells. If you're going to produce a calendar with the intention of celebrating/sexualising/objectifying* female athletes you may as well celebrate/sexualise/objectify the men while you're at it. Otherwise, like it or not, you're perpetuating some pretty tired assumptions about gender and sexuality, where men are always the audience and women are always the show.

      *delete as appropriate...

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  11. Agree with Jimmy - can't see the problem. Ok, you might find it a bit tasteless, but then you're perhaps not Wiggle's target market (not being mid-life-crisis and male) for this one.

    If you want glory through suffering look up some of the Rapha videos :)

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    1. But I really like cycling and really like buying cycling kit! I'd like to think that Wiggle could see beyond the MAMIL market...

      I wish I could afford Rapha kit! :D

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  12. While I wholeheartedly agree that sexism is wrong, I see no issue with attractive fit female or male athletes wanting to show off their bodies to the public. I also see no point in attacking an outlet of such material (i.e. Wiggle). You are barking up the wrong tree.

    It would appear that you are wielding the mighty hammer of sexism and raising it at the first thing that resembles a nail. Sadly for you, this is not that nail.

    If you want to rant, rant about the abuse and suppression of the rights of women in certain parts of this planet, rant about the years of abuse and blatant sexism that was going on at the BBC due to a certain Jimmy Saville. Feel free to wield your hammer and hit /those/ nails. We will all applaud you for this.

    In the mean time, I will continue to replay Marianne Vos's fantastic breakaway and victory at this year's Olympics, or Vicky Pendleton's battle against Anna Meares. The list of female cycling sporting achievements is endless, and I enjoy them all as much as I do the men's. At the same time, I will continue to find some of these athletes physically attractive. There is no shame in this or their willingness to show this off.

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    1. This is my blog and I can chose what the hell I want to write about. I am going to write about stuff that means stuff to me. Yeah sure, I could write about FGM and child slavery and girls being forced into marriage at 12 and the rape statistics in the Congo but I'm not going to because I don't know much about it. This is a blog about rowing (sort of) and I'm a woman so talking about women in sport is kind of a natural thing.

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    2. Willem - absolutely spot on.

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  13. "Feel free to wield your hammer and hit /those/ nails."

    Gee whiz, Anna! Willem de Boer has given you PERMISSION to talk about feminism - provided feminism is what he says it is!

    I am dismayed that so many people just don't get why treating professional women as kinky sex objects is a crappy thing for Wiggle to do - and I'm frankly laughing at the men who have said "But they were paid!" as though porn actors being paid means that there can never be any problem with the porn industry, ever.

    It's a bike shop, not a knocking shop.

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  14. Chainreactioncycles is generally cheaper anyway.

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  15. Anna: Are you against calendars of this type in general, or is it the fusion with cycling & cycling greats that is the problem?

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    1. No, not at all; this is a context thing. This sort of thing is great: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/espn-body-issue-athletes-naked-shoots-gallery-1.966871
      Everything is tasteful and is shot in a way that does celebrate what these people are and what they've achieved and as human beings. This cyclepassion looks like it was shot in a sex dungeon and there is PVC and nipple tape and straddling stuff all over the place. It doesn't belong in the product list of a mainstream cycling retailer it belongs on the top shelf next to Nuts...

      In short, Leander, ESPN etc.: great, keep right on. In your face reduce-to-sexual-object stuff? No thanks.

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  16. In non-cycling related news, my Rowing Rules poster arrives today, and I not only loved it, but also greatly enjoyed the little person drawn on the envelope, and the fact that it was addressed to 'The Esteemed...'

    Thank you! x

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  17. Pendleton is all muscly and obviously an athlete. What strikes me about the faux-S&M feel of the wiggle calendar is that those women don't look athletic - they just look like usual models you'd get for a photoshoot. Are they really cycling pros? the girl draped over a giant tyre looks almost anorexic (though Photoshop may have been involved)

    While I agree wholeheartedly with the existential issues of your rant (and am so glad you blogged again finally -yay), we do live in a world that objectifies everyone and everything. There is an actual banner with words "Sex Sells" floating over our planet, but they always cut that bit out from the satellite images. I guess all we can do is vote with our feet (and/or valets) and rant on the internets, so well done :))

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    1. You will probably find this interesting!

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  18. So it's o.k. that the guy is wearing nothing but an umbrella? It's only the women you object to then?

    What about the male athlete (no names) who had his funding withdrawn a year ago. To be able continue his training for the Olympics where he got a medal, he posed naked in a gay magazine. He's straight and did it for the money.

    Do you suppose the one you complain about did it for the money too? Or were they forced somehow?

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    1. Dear Anonymous @22:20

      "So it's o.k. that the guy is wearing nothing but an umbrella? It's only the women you object to then?"

      Did you even read what I wrote? I took offense to the CyclePassion calender because it was essentially soft porn and was made to look like a bike component sex dungeon. Mr Pete Reed in the Leander calendar is different in tone, execution and context ergo it is different. Pete Reed is not simulating sex with an ergo while wearing latex. He is holding an umbrella. See? Different.

      "What about the male athlete (no names) who had his funding withdrawn a year ago. To be able continue his training for the Olympics where he got a medal, he posed naked in a gay magazine. He's straight and did it for the money."

      Thank you for agreeing with me and saying that being objectified is just a bit gross and wrong. This is an example of how two things in different contexts can be similar and related.

      "Do you suppose the one you complain about did it for the money too? Or were they forced somehow?"

      Yes they probably did do it for the money a little bit. They are pro female cyclists and it's not exactly a secret there is fuck all money in pro female cycling at the moment. Unless we're talking about VP. She has a crusade to reclaim her femininity so it was probably more that.

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  19. Hmmmmmmmmmm - don't really know what to think here, do I find it sad that women (and men to an extent) need to cash in on their attractiveness to make a living - yes I do. However it is there choice & if you don't want to buy it you really don't have to! It's not just women though, in cycling you can add Cipo, Pellizotti & Pozzato have all appeared naked in advertising (the latter oiled up with a shoe covering little Pippo) but yes in the bike industry (particularly in Europe) much like the auto industry, draping a 'hot chick' over the product tends to be the default sales image. All the ladies in the calendar are pro riders (original one was a mix of pros and models but over the years more & more pro girls applied to be in it) to me it's not particularly arty & it's not like it's 'calendar girls' & the cash is going to charity so for me it's a bit of a lame retro product. In terms of mindset I'm guessing it is similar to all the 'model shoot' pic loads of young ladies get, they just want to look & feel good about themselves & get some photos done. Yep it's a bit S&M but tbh nothing worse than GQ or Esquire. Should a bikeshop be burned for selling it? Agreed it's not in the best of taste but given that i can find it in stock on 5 UK cycle retailers, 2 bike magazine's online shops & more I'm not sure the anger is being directed at the right place - have you tried contacting the calendar's maker? It's actually more of a shame that there aren't any decent scenic cycling calendars available on site!

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    1. Totally agree with you on the decent cycling calendar availability.

      Basically this sort of stuff is always going to exist somewhere; you can't stop that as long as people are willing to pay for it. It is just inappropriate for it to be full of pros and for someone as mainstream as Wiggle to sell it. I don't expect to go on facebook and have Wiggle peddling soft porn in my face really...

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  20. Ok, ducking the topic for two questions:
    1) what do you listen to while working?
    2) what were you applying Floguet's theorem to?

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    1. Trance Around the World #286 and I am looking at the stability of some equilibrium vortex solutions. As you travel round and round the vortex you effectively feel periodic forcing => Floquet!

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    2. I'm interested - honest! Didn't study Floquet but sounds like it would be useful for problems with a periodic component - would it work for orbits? Would an application be orbit pertubations?

      TATW is what I would call coding music - good background for logical thinking.

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    3. "Would an application be orbit pertubations?" Pretty much exactly what I'm doing! If something feels different forcing as it goes round in an orbit --> periodic coefficients! Wahoo!

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  21. The sexism in sport in general is one of the things that just makes me want to shout and cry and hit something. I totally, totally agree with everything you said. Great post

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  23. You said at all so much more extensively and eloquently than I did.

    A friend of mine said it pretty well too - [i almost posted, 'what you just said is "hey girls, it's not going to be good enough for you to be good enough at your sport, to get successful you'll have to nigh-on get your baps out" ']

    Actual *sigh*

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    1. I'd glad other people are writing about it too... This IS an issue and the people who say it's not.. well, they are sort of part of the problem.

      P.S. Props on doing Ironmans - that is a badass.

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  24. Speaking as a Male approaching, if not in, my mid-life crisis I have to say that I feel that what these images suggest to me is a complete lack of imagination on Wiggle's part. I would have thought the organisation's marketing department could have found better ways of advertising their stuff than this. At a time when sales of cycling products have never been higher in this country this just smacks of laziness.

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    1. Agreed, even if you take the blatant sensualisation out of it, it still just is badly photoshopped bike components. WHERE ARE THE SHOTS FROM THE CHAMPS ELYSEES? AND THE VELODROME? FFS guys.

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  25. I am technically trolling by saying this but...thanks for the poster and the nice note!

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  26. The very fact that you bringing up the issue of women and sexuality in sport has sparked so much controversy in the comments section shows that it really is an issue. When people talk about sexism and feminism, there are a number of people who get on the defensive to argue that it's NOT STILL AN ISSUE. If it really wasn't, no one would feel the need to get defensive and argue that it's not. If I said someone is discriminating against me for my green t-shirt, it would be so obviously a non-issue that no one would care to argue how wrong I was.

    And not highly related to what I was saying, but this was a great summary of rowing a 2k race,
    "You're basically throwing your arms up in the air and shouting "THIS IS ALL I'VE FUCKING GOT AND IF THAT'S NOT ENOUGH, FUCK YOU" to the world (before puking into the lake)."

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  27. I love it that you are so passionate about this topic. How about an equally passionate post about Floquet analysis? It really is quite cool.

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    1. I doubt many people would enjoy that :)

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    2. If you write about in the same way as you write about rowing and cycling, I bet many people would enjoy it (even if they didn't understand it)!

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    3. +1 cantab interested in both rowing and astrophysics. :) I would read it!

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  28. The Pendleton worries me a lot less than the porn shots calendar. Usually my guide for whether an image is massively sexist and objectifying is 'would this look really stupid if it had a man in the same pose'. By that metric, Pendleton is OK - I can definitely imagine a male cyclist in that pose. In fact, now that I start imagining it, I'm going to keep imagining male cyclists in that pose... but imagine male cyclists straddling a tyre with stripper heels on with tape over their nipples with their heads thrown back in mock ecstasy. It would be hilarious! So hilarious that I might consider buying it! Business opportunity for someone here...

    Also have to admit a soft spot for Pendleton crying all the time. I cry all the time - can't help it, and yes it's really bloody annoying - and it makes me feel less pathetic when someone who is objectively awesome does it.

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    1. I don't think that works unless you're going to deny that men and women, as groups, tend towards finding different things attractive.

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  29. something I just remember reading after the Olympics was Pendleton saying how glad she is to be rid of the cycling gear and finally allowed to dress up and be 'girly' (I paraphrase). And in the context of the soft porn calendar and sport and objectifying of women and women generally never being allowed to be who the hell they want to be but always having to conform to some sort of standard (How many men have to worry about coming into office every day fearing their workmates comments on what they are wearing?), it really is a question far removed from simple objectification and closer to the issue of fundamental value of women in society. If these sports women want to enjoy their femininity, they obviously have a full right to do so; what makes me sad is that I am not 100% sure that the avenues made available to them for enjoying their femininity are exactly what they had in mind..

    (thanks for the guardian link Anna; I have gone several full circles in my thoughts and opinions on page 3 type stuff and can never arrive at a definitive stance)

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  30. Dear Anna,

    I disagree with the wiggle boycott, the women pictured in this calendar, if they are cycling pros, clearly need the cash to keep cycling. If no one buys the calendar, then at the very least the same pros will not be able to collect a boost to their annual incomes next year. Possibly they won't get a cut this year. Bad for the cycling pros in question.

    To put the calendar it self in perspective there is a thriving trade in male and female bodybuilders' used posing pouches, and "private viewings" ect, which make appearing glamour calendar seem like very small beer in the de-humanization and degradation stakes.

    I would also say that compared to a VO2Max test conducted concurrently with a lactate test, where said pros would be stripped to the sports bra in front of judgmental but uncaring strangers, whilst plugged into machines that measure their most intimate physical characteristics, whilst being forced to reach physical, emotional, and mental limits, whilst someone repeatedly extracts blood from them, all followed by vomiting publicly into a bucket, before you can even un-clip......

    As degrading as the calendar is or is not, it may well not be the worst thing those women have chosen to do in pursuit of their career this year.

    Their choice, so please may I suggest that you encourage people to not buy the calender, but to donate to the war chest of the women's pro cyclist of their choice.

    L

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  31. I agree with almost everything you said. It'd be great if anyone would like to read my blog post on a similar subject :) it's called "driftwood" http://glasshalffull-123.blogspot.co.uk
    Great blog by the way. Your "the rules" poster is stuck up in our changing room and it always makes me laugh :)

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