As pretty does

Bicycle clothing manufacturers seem to be under the impression that no one will be able to tell I’m a girl unless I’m covered in flowers. And that any confusion in gender identity would be the worst fate that could befall the human race. God forbid a woman should ever look fierce, or strong, or even healthy – or anything other than pretty.

Last week during one of my trainer sessions with Boy, I decided to wear a jersey, which I don’t normally do, because I don’t feel like myself in them. Boy said, “Wow.” (not a good wow)


“That’s a lot of flowers.”

“That’s why I never wear jerseys. They’re all ridiculous.”

We then had a little bit of mild discussion, in which he theorized that manufacturers make them that way because most women want them that way, and I said No, manufacturers make them that way because they are mostly men who think they know what women want – and really, they don’t care what women want, because they’re more concerned about putting women in something that makes themselves feel unthreatened and right with the world. Which means, flowers.


For the world to keep spinning on its axis, women must at all times be pretty.

Not sweaty, not grimacing with effort, not difficult to distinguish from a male rider at a distance (Oh, that rider is at the back, it must be a woman; put some flowers on her ass to be sure). Pretty. Or at least cute.

Yeah, right. Somebody hand me that pedal wrench. I’m gonna go try and convince the powers that be to build me a plain blue jersey, with racing stripes.

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