So Then There’s the Gender Thing

As I look longingly through online catalogs for Tri Tops and Tri Shorts that I can hopefully fit into next year, I am struck by the overwhelming image of women who look like they’ve never ridden a long ride in their lives modeling active wear marketed toward active female athletes.  The prevalence of superskinny, the lack of sizes other than 2-12 or 4-14, and the lack of much “active” modeling (many women are just standing passively), made me a little frustrated.

They don’t make men pose like this to sell stuff, do they?

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One of my virtual friends (from the FB Sheclismo site, an awesome group of cyclists) posted this today.  I needed this shot in the arm.  If you have time, click on the links.  You’ll be glad that you did!


Taking the Lane

I know I’m not the picture of perfection.  I realized that yesterday as I watched my long shadow while riding home leisurely after a long day at work.  Wow, I thought, look how great my shadow makes me look!  So tall, thin, nice looking legs.  Awesome.  I wish I could be my shadow, not what I actually am.  I wonder how skinny my shadow would look after I drop a bunch of weight.  I may have to run around in the shower to get wet!

As I looked away from my shadow and up the road, I saw a long gradual hill.  All I could think about was “Shut up, legs!” from, and how much work I have to do for next year’s racing season.  I used to have stronger legs.  I used to be younger.  The older a person gets, the quicker one loses muscle mass–which is probably why mom is grouchy if she doesn’t get her workout in (she’s 77 and rock hard–she’s awesome, can swim a mile without a struggle).  So, I must keep pushing, harder than I have before, if I want to remain healthy in this world.

I’m a lucky woman, over all.  Healthy (knock on wood) with the capacity to work out, swim, bike, walk, run, lift weights.  Walk.  See.  Hear.  Breathe.  Be.  So when I think about that thin shadow following me around, I just need to remember that I am what I am–but I can be better.  I never want to be the skinny, unmuscled woman in the advertisements.  I want to go out of this life with muscles, scars, wrinkles, and a love of doing things physical.  I want to do, not just to be.

What do you want to be?  Or rather, what do you want to do?

13 thoughts on “So Then There’s the Gender Thing

  1. It’s funny. Before I even read your post I looked at the picture of the model you posted. At first I was going to dismiss the post, figuring you were going to write on small town crack whores or skanky 60 year olds trying to look 20! (I honestly couldn’t tell the difference until I enlarged the picture. But then maybe there ain’t much of a difference anyway) I’m glad I continued to read on though. Try looking at a magazine dedicated to western wear or the Cowboy way of life. Same thing. Do those who dream up these ads think we can’t tell if someone never plopped their butt on a saddle? I saw one photo of a fella ready to throw a rope (roping a steer) and his rope was in his hands being held backwards… good luck tryin’ to catch that one! Good read my friend.

    • I know what you mean. . . I grew up with a half Percheron/half Morgan, Samantha. Sweetheart lived into her late 30s (spoiled rotten, obviously). Back in the day, if you wanted “useful” jeans, a girl had to buy boys jeans–which never really fit. Women’s/girl’s jeans pockets were big enough to put a quarter in the back pocket, and anything in the front shallow pockets would fall out the minute I plopped my butt on her bare back (I rarely used a saddle–I loved the feel of direct communication).
      Oh, I miss that girl. She passed in 1997, but I still have her bridle hanging on my rocking chair in the living room.
      Oh, sorry. I slipped to happy times.
      Stupid advertisers!

      Glad you kept reading!

    • I am glad to hear you kept her bridle, I still have an old Mexican made Riata hanging on my bedpost! It was one I learned to rope on along with my nemesis horse I named ‘Cochise’. After he passed and I got out on my own, I kept the lasso in his memory. We had a love hate relationship with each other, both of us were bull headed but I wouldn’t ride another and I was the only one he’d let ride him.
      I forgot to mention though about the ‘lumberjack’ photo and the answer to your question underneath him. Yes, there is a place for fella’s like him. It’s just that I don’t subscribe to those kind’a magazines🙂 JW

    • Precisely my point. Mainstream media “accepts” a certain type of person as what they claim is “normal”. Anything outside of that is considered imperfect, abnormal, or aberrant in some way. Just because they don’t fit someone’s model of what they think is “normal”, doesn’t mean it’s not normal to someone else. To someone, the images I posted above are awesome and they can relate to them–it’s just not who I am. I do not denigrate them for that choice, but media has chosen a singular vision of what perfection is. That’s my beef.
      I loved the story about Cochise (have you read Edwin Sweeney’s huge biography about that amazing Chiricahua Apache leader? Quite the man–I visited his grave a few years ago). Samantha was an awesome girl. . . I should find and post some photographs of her. Like my senior picture🙂

    • Well, I’ll admit to you only. I do have a bike and I often can be found peddling on my old fat tired ‘beach cruiser’. I even have a rubber parrot on the bars that when squeezed lets out a squawk to warn those on the sidewalk I’m comin’ their way! I had a 3 speed once, stopped, forward and falling over! LOL

  2. I can’t believe they put that model in those clothes – you don’t want to be that. She needs at least three weeks with 1 pound steaks, garlic mashed taters and asparagus… And about 2,000 calories for breakfast and lunch, followed by about 2,500 miles on a bike to make that outfit look good.

    You’ll get to where you are what you want to be soon enough. Just keep pushing and enjoy the journey. Most people quit before they get to where you currently are. You’re a rock. Now roll, baby! WooHoo!

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