Samantha Brennan's Blog: News and Events - Posts Tagged "professional-cycling"

Bike races and podium girls: Time to kiss goodbye?

1. The story of the pinch

After the Tour of Flanders at the end of March, Cannondale rider Peter Sagan caused controversy in the cycling world and beyond by pinching the bottom/behind/butt (choose your country’s preferred slang as our readers are from all over the world) of one of the podium girls who was occupied planting a kiss on the cheeks of the winner. For those unfamiliar with the ways of professional cycling, that’s what podium girls do.

Jane Aubrey, in Cycling News, writes:

“The move by the 23-year-old was crass to say the least, but it was just another example of disrespect being shown against women in cycling. Ask yourself, on a day where the great Marianne Vos ticked off one of the few major races she had yet to add to her extensive palmares, why instead of celebrating another achievement by one of the most prolific athletes in the sport regardless of gender, we were again left to consider ways in which cycling sets women back and an industry that – at times – perpetuates a misogynistic attitude.”

Aubrey does a terrific job listing and tearing apart the excuses offered up in Sagan’s defense. He’s 23. So? A talented rider? Non sequitur. It was a joke? Of course. And the most pernicious, she was asking for it. Because podium girls, hired for their good looks for the job of kissing winning male cyclists, agreed to have their bottoms pinched? I don’t think so. It’s sexual harassment. Aubrey notes that we can clearly see the woman in question trying to move the rider in question’s hand. Receiving pinches isn’t in her job description.

You can read the rest of Aubrey’s piece here, The bottom line on Sagan’s Flanders podium pinch.

You can also get a flavour of the comments chucked about here where critics of Sagan’s pinch are called, “Humourless Puritans – ignorant knee-jerks since the 15th Century.” It’s not pretty. Some of the commentators claim that she was his girlfriend. She isn’t.

Read more here, http://fitisafeministissue.wordpress....
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Published on April 13, 2013 18:23 Tags: bike-racing, bikes, podium-girls, professional-cycling, tour-de-france