Time Moves Slowly for Women in Motorcycle Media

Time Moves Slowly for Women in Motorcycle Media

There’s nothing groundbreaking here in this “women in motorcycling” post. Sometimes I just have to bleed a little steam so that I don’t explode.

fuzzygalore on albulapass

Each day I read all sorts of blogs, mailing lists, Twitter feeds, magazines about motorcycling and the life that surrounds it. Sometimes I feel bummed out that the most popular women-centric motorcycle media has a central theme of women being hot first and loving motorcycle life second.

I’m not naïve, I get it. That’s how you make the eyeballs come. But I’m over it. I’m not 25 and I can’t take in this type of information with a pinup-vibe anymore and do anything constructive with it. These brands, these personalities, these photographs – they aren’t talking to me. I’m not their audience and the truth is… I know that doesn’t matter to them. Simmer down, old lady! I’m so hungry for something with more depth and feeling, a connection to people and the world.

Are women our own worst enemies?  Are we just blindly getting on board and perpetuating this?

There is better inspiration to be found out there. Girls, please show us who you are beyond that you’ve won the genetic lottery. Be something, do something, inspire the gravity-ravaged middle aged broads like me. Yes, I’m going gray but damn it to hell, I will never be too old to say I want to see that, try that, DO THAT! Beauty is fleeting. Curiosity, adventure, daring, reverence and deep appreciation aren’t. BE amazing.

Don’t get me wrong – there are women riders that I follow who are doing wonderful things. They’re exploring the world, writing books and being fierce lionesses leading by example. While they may in fact be physically beautiful, that isn’t the most important part of their message. I admire and appreciate them deeply. Now, I don’t know if it is their own choosing, the fact that they’re too busy being magnificent to build an online “brand” or just that the marketplace isn’t looking for a lady encased in textiles to champion – but these inspiring women aren’t being showcased like chicks in hot pants are.

I’m hoping that more women out there want something more and would be willing to give something more. Maybe more of these amazing and adventurous women will start to squeeze out some of the cheesecake.

Things are changing. But the wheels of time move slowly.

18 Replies to “Time Moves Slowly for Women in Motorcycle Media”

  1. Rachael, I totally agree. I am not sure which women’s media you are talking about but the one I am familiar with is http://www.womenridersnow.com/default.aspx and today the featured picture is a woman in a tight white t-shirt under pink gear. Mostly this site seems to focus on cruisers, harleys and the Sturgis crowd, but occasionally they are now featuring long distance riders, adventure rides, etc. But in general, women are still considered eye candy and are too rare in the serious rider community. I do follow serious riders like Carla King, Lisa Thomas (with husband Simon), Leslie, and you! And I hope to shortly be able to document my travels with my husband on a much more frequent basis. 🙂

    1. You probably never got past the home page since the site does not focus on those things you mention rather it is a serious minded motorcycle magazine aimed at covering all genres of motorcycling insofar as women are represented. More than 50% of the women’s motorcycling population ride cruisers; the other 50% ride everything else. Our coverage strives to reflect that. I Invite you to revisit WomenRidersNow.com and see all the “other” coverage we have

  2. Do you follow Liz Jansen on Facebook or have her book, “Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment”?

    She did a series of interviews and published them on her website as well…

    Sorry if you have already seen this information. 😀
    Ryan

  3. I know women riders are an underrepresented part of the motorcycle world, but I don’t usually do anything gender specific. While I link a few women’s sites on my blog and such I don’t participate in any women’s only rides or events.

    I seem to play well with the male of the species more than I get along with other women. Been like that since I was a kid – aka, tomboy building hay forts and riding horses.

  4. That pic is appropriate, you look like you’re searching for something out there. Kinda funny, I feel like some of the stuff you’re looking for I actually find in your blog. So maybe you’re looking in the wrong direction. YOU are one of those inspirational, adventurous gals that are doing it for the love of it. The pretty, young girls representing something else are just that, pretty and young. Pretty sells and young, well, have you heard the saying “In order to be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid” hahaha! We’ve all been there, hell sometimes I still visit!
    Social media is awesome but it can suck too. I’ve shyed away from watching most tv and I’m selective about what social media I check out precisely because of what you mentioned in your post.
    Stay focused on what you love about motorcycling and stay away from the stuff you don’t like. Whatever you’re searching for out there is looking for you too. Ride on sista! You’re gonna find it 😉

    1. “Whatever you’re searching for out there is looking for you too.”

      I hope so.

      My Gramma used to say that “Water rises to its own level.” Over the past few years, i think i’ve been aware of and have experienced this. Some beautiful people have entered my sphere, the type of people who give off the energy that i think i’m looking for. I just have to remember to keep myself open and not be afraid.

  5. Such a valid rant. It’s sad how many women internalize our sexist culture and perpetuate it. Which only spreads the disease. Like you, I search for deeper content and find it rarer than it should be. Individual perceptions and activities are much more interesting than conventional regurgitation of cheesy photos.

  6. Fuzzy, for a non-groundbreaking steam-bleeder, this post was well-considered and well-crafted, and until its dead horse of a topic is finally buried by us all (we, our own cultural shareholders), it will be freshly relevant and deserving of every beating it gets.

    The misrepresentation (you’re generous to call it “information”, for it looks a lot like propaganda) to which you refer seems to be a case of a product without a market, or was at its inception, whenever the hell that was. The product here, the idea that—for women especially—becoming and forever remaining a finely packaged and well-displayed chunk of meat is THE ideal. I say “for women especially” because it’s an idea that’s also being marketed to men, though to a lesser degree—so far.

    “Without a market” because most guys I’ve known simply haven’t respond to such media the way the media dispensers apparently desire. Of that fairly diverse group of guys, I’d estimate that maybe, MAYBE, 10% have exhibited the supposed desired response. And much of that seems to be the result of groupthink and adolescence (a few are perennially adolescent): guys responding how they believe the other group members are responding, how they believe the dispensers desire, how they likely would not genuinely respond individually.

    So I echo and expound upon your question: If the media dispensers have a real audience of only, say, 5% of the population, to whom are they trying to appeal? And are they really basing their media on market research hard numbers, or is it all still just speculation? Maybe I’m out of touch, but I sincerely believe that most dispensers underestimate the intelligence and cultural sophistication of the audience majority. And though the media might draw a glance, the social wiring of the human creature really wants more: interaction, engagement, complexity, substance, nuance, you name it. I suspect that most media dispensers are their own, and perhaps only real, market, getting off to their own glossy product.

    Beauty might be, as you say, fleeting, but only if it is narrowly defined (though I know what you’re getting at, Fuzzy). Yet it isn’t that “beauty” simply won’t tolerate being narrowly defined, it just can’t be: “Beauty” is an abstract term, a variable that, by nature, must submit to the unique user’s definition. Maybe, though, it isn’t just semantics: Perhaps “beautiful”, “attractive”, “sexy”, “hot”, and other abstract terms have been co-opted by media dispensers. If so, it is again up to us (we, our own cultural shareholders) to repossess our precious language.

    Media might like to think that the culture reflects it, but I argue that it’s the other way around: Media reflects the culture—just twenty or thirty years late at least. It’s sort of like the much older, tragically out of touch aunt or uncle trying to be hip to the nieces and nephews—it’s just sad.

    Methinks it’s time for a cultural revolution.

  7. I’ll just chime in as well. As young girls were are trained and brainwashed to compete and cannabilize our own. It’s up to each and every one of us to stop this.
    Also (tongue in cheek) – who’s the “brain-y-ack” trying to convince us that women’s riding gear should only be in PINK?!?!? Really? Other thAn black, pink seems to be the only other predominate colour for women’s gear. WTH?!?!

    1. Marg –
      you are so on the money with this!
      “I’ll just chime in as well. As young girls were are trained and brainwashed to compete and cannabilize our own. It’s up to each and every one of us to stop this.”

      I have been thinking about this very thing for several weeks.

      I think it’s all about choice. If you LIKE pink, great. But if you only have 1 choice, well then… that isn’t really choice.

  8. Awesome post! I somehow missed this one during everything that was a hellfire December and being one of the middle aged sag ravaged old ladies, I couldn’t agree with you more! It’s interesting when I look at myself as a motorcyclist I really don’t fit into any one image group or identity – other than being a gear nerd. I ride a vintage bike and it’s not high cc’s only 500 and I’m not obsessed with the need for more or tied to an image or brand. I’m just me and I love that I am adventuresome and after only 4 years of riding I’m a motorcycle instructor, which is a dream I never had imagined. I think it’s fabulous that more women are learning to ride, but I wish that some didn’t feel the need to buy into stereotypical images that get wrapped up in branding and media perceptions of what women riders are, it drives me nuts. I wish people could see it’s media marketing at it’s finest and takes away from their sense of self. I hear all the time that it’s middle age women who are taking riding by storm and yet they don’t really promote that demographic reality. Hopefully if we keep telling them like you are and enough of us do things may change and perceptions get more real. Until then I am going to keep on doing my thing and riding my own ride.

  9. Being a niche author can be lonely at times … but hang in there, you just need time for your site to propagate on the web, and more ladies like you will find their way here … cheers!

  10. As a long time lurker of your blog i think the niche of women rider blogs and sites is small but your site is right up there is the best. Posting interesting and engaging content will connect more women. Keep up the good work.

  11. As a 51 year old woman motorcyclist I agree there are not enough “real” women blogs out there. I too am trying to change that 🙂 I recently found your site in my never ending pursuit of finding a real connection. I commend you on a great site and sharing your experiences.
    P.S I found a cute saying posted on a site that might ease you into mid life:
    “BIKERS DON’T GO GRAY WE TURN CHROME”

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