Velomuse posted a list of 10 things men can do to support Women's Cycling. What do you think about this list?
- Let the woman (your girl friend, wife, friend, family member, etc.) express enthusiasm for the sport before telling her that she’ll like it. Same goes with trying other new things.
- Offer NO unsolicited feedback, unless there is a safety concern. I think this one applies to both genders. She’ll ask for help when she needs it, and self-sufficient cycling requires this attribute.
- Support women’s rides, by helping promote to other women, and respect women-only attendance. I don’t understand exactly why, but women-only forums have shown to increase the receptiveness of women participation in a number of ways (ex: Co-ed vs. Girls School: http://www.girlslearndifferently.com/classroombias.php)
- Anticipate that women riding with other women may ride more, faster, with greater skill and your coed rides together will be more fun. They probably won’t drop you, but they probably could.
- Find women role models for yourself. Who has inspired you or supported your hobbies?
- Encourage your female riding partner to find and develop her own riding style, without comparison to other people.
- Encourage off-the-bike activities to include women in the bike community: bike films, repair classes, trail maintenance, leadership in advocacy.
- Provide similar opportunities for women if you plan/organize races. If combined fields are a necessity due to low attendance, perhaps find ways to split other fields, combine and make a regular rotation of field combinations. Have an equal payout/prize for top placing women.
- Think things out twice and do share your opinions. Try to respond to situations before reacting.
- Share your goals. Be positive and encouraging, for when goals are achieved. Avoid taking credit for their success or over-emphasizing small goals.
I like the overall message that allies are instrumental in creating positive change. All it takes is a willingness to respect and encourage WTF (women/ trans/ femme) cyclists without being condescending or dominating.
My criticism of this post is that this could be taken as slightly condescending toward allies. But then again, maybe some people have to be told not to be jerks, like being reactionary, taking credit for someone else's successes, and offering unsolicited feedback? Sad.
My favorite part of the post were the actions that allies can take to support WTF cycling: Promote women's rides and respect women-only attendance, find women role models for yourself, encourage off-the-bike activities, include women as equals in races. Great!
I'd like to take this opportunity to say "howdy" to all of the non-WTF readers out there! I hear all the time that my friends have recommended Grease Rag, or they ask for flyers or information on group rides for WTFs they know. So supportive. It's awesome when you are surrounded by people that "get it." Thanks for understanding that our goal is to encourage and support WTFs, which sometimes means excluding non-WTFs from our spaces. So, "Howdy!" and thank you!