Header by Daniel Willinger
Todays blogpost is about bad behaviour. It is about what is called “mansplaining”, i.e. a condescending statement by a man who assumes that he generally knows more about the subject than the person he is talking to – often female. Most of the time this also happens unsoliticed and is therefore out of place. It is perfectly clear that not every tip from a man is mansplaining! And very few men engage in “mansplaining” themselves; quite the contrary, it is not uncommon for men to be “affected” by it themselves. And yes, women can also engage in this bad habit. This is also shown by the results of a short survey on my account: one third of all reports were sent in by men who are annoyed by this behaviour of a few fellow men. By the way, it doesn’t matter whether you are active on the internet yourself, as many of the examples show, and also whether you are in the public eye or not.
Why am I writing this post at all?
Because I am fed up. Fed up with what I’ve had to observe again and again over the last 4 years as a cyclist or have experienced myself. And I think that certain things will never change if they are not addressed and addressed appropriately. For me, road cycling is not only an elitist sport because the equipment can sometimes be quite expensive. It’s also because sometimes people really treat each other like crap – and that doesn’t have to be the case (any more).
To illustrate the phenomenon briefly, I came up with a few little similes on my ride today. So I’ll just turn the tables for a moment and we’ll assume that you’re a man doing a few errands on Saturday morning. You’re standing at the bakery, looking forward to your favourite croissant. You’ve already tried the entire range, but no pastry tastes as good as this croissant. Fluffy, buttery, tender and you’re full afterwards, too. You order and – whoops – a woman approaches from the right who says: “Huh, do you really want the croissant? Well, the apple pockets are DEFINITELY the best pastry here!” The baker and you look at each other in irritation. No one has asked. You take your croissant anyway and the woman insults you.
You continue on to the drugstore you trust. We’re out of shaving cream and the beard has to go. You put your preferred brand in the basket, and from behind a woman dabs at you: “You know, sweety, shaving is all well and good, but I’ve been epilating my legs for years! That would be much better for your beard too!” You reply that you’re not a masochist and so you’re not going to pull out your facial hair. The woman scolds you that no one is grateful any more and moves on.
Last but not least, today you went by car instead of by bike. You finally have to fill up your tank and the fluid for the windscreen wipers is almost gone. You park your petrol car, which you’ve been driving for years, in front of the petrol pump and are about to put the cap down when a woman next to you lowers her window and snaps at you: “Why don’t you fill up with diesel? It’s much cheaper and you can use it for much more. For example, I always put it in my windscreen wiper system!
That was a “great” start to the day. And you know you still have to go to the supermarket and you’re already fed up.
Sounds quite crappy, isn’t it?
It’s completely different if you were standing in front of the counter in the bakery. You might have asked which pastry to recommend, the lady might have recommended her apple pocket and behold – you might even have liked it! In examples 2 and 3 it is not so easy if you had asked for help. Obviously, the “tip givers” had little to no idea and you would now be in a real fix.
This blog is not intended to make people no longer want to help each other. Not at all! In the course of my cycling “career” I have so often benefited from the knowledge, skills and experience of other people. First and foremost my partner, who always helps me with advice and support, but also team colleagues or complete strangers. Via questions in Facebook groups and on Instagram, I’ve found the optimal route near Vienna for an FTP test; I’ve received advice about my bike rack without a screw attachment to the wall; I’ve learned how to get chain grease out of socks with butter; how to get blood stains out of Lycra; the name for a screw on my computer mount; how to ride downhill more confidently; how the handlebar plugs hold better; what to do about frostbite from ice water on winter bibs; and blaaaa blaaa blaaa. And that’s a good thing, because no master has ever fallen from the sky!
But what is really incredibly annoying is ignorant, dismissive, sometimes simply wrong unsolicited advice that is far from “well-intentioned”. And some cyclists are really good at that. I have collected experience reports and opinions on this and a few tips on how to avoid it in the future.
I will start with some of my experiences
In an Austrian road cycling group, a woman asks about her experience with a saddle-bib combination for long distances. I, an owner of a vagina who has just trained for long distances, share my experiences (without recommending any brands, by the way, I don’t want to do any surreptitious advertising in closed groups, as I have been provided with some of the products). Suddenly an employee of a bicycle shop who is quite well known in Vienna interferes. He, a non-vagina-owner with a very small women-specific assortment in the shop, insults me and tells the questioner, without giving a concrete answer to the problems described, that she should just come by the shop.
I, at the start of my second cyclocross race, pick up my race number and mind my own business, when a complete stranger asks in passing if I really want to ride with this tyre pressure. Surprise: yes, I do! I’ve been experimenting for the last 4 months on very similar terrain and have the optimum combination of grip and speed for my body weight. The fact that I, as a cyclocross newbie, completely crapped out again at the race was not because I had the wrong pressure on the tyres at some point – but because I still can’t jump on and off my bike and my bunny-hops can only be recognised with a magnifying glass. (If you have any tips on this, thanks! I don’t need it at the moment, the next step would be to practise and train it. If I don’t get any further, I’ll ask anyway. And those who give tips then are not “mansplained”, but helpful).
Me, 6 months ago I was on the bike for 27 hours straight, posting a picture of a new bike that I get to use for 2 months. I’m very happy to have this opportunity, but I don’t want to change too much – after all, it’s a bike that many other media and PR people will probably ride for longer than me. Since I tend to ride much shorter and with less intensity in winter, I can live with it if the temporary setting does not correspond 1:1 to my fitting data. The reactions? I feel like I’ve been explained “yOu PicKeD tHe wRonG fRaMe SiZe!!1” 50 times.
Each one on itself not really bad, I think. If it weren’t for the fact that I am confronted with it on a daily basis – whether on the net or in “real” life – and I’m not alone in that, by God.
In a survey I shared among my followers for 24 hours, over 80 experiences were sent in from riders of all levels, from newbies to bloggers to pros. Lets have a look into the demographics:
It is kind of difficult to stick to one example:Qom_at_me
– there is a lot of things wrong about my bike, men see this from Instagram pictures! I definitely need a bikefit every few weeks. – my powermeter must be checked, because I simply cannot be doing these kinds of wattages
– I need a specific type of handlebars, chain rings, wheels, cleats, cabling, because what I have now makes no sense and is wrong and you can’t cycle with it. Uhu
– men are not at all mensplaining, they tell me this often. I should just suck it up and not be so sensitive when I’m being told how to breathe whilst I’m clearly able to breathe without this expert advice. – I particularly hate it when im being told that I shouldn’t say anything when I’m being treated like shit, because “I’m better than them, so just ignore it” we both know that they hop right on over to the next woman they can belittle.
Ps most dudes are hella cool, but you specifically asked to list irritations so here we are.
Guys writing openly on facebook that you are a pretty decent cyclist but you’re ugly just to make you feel bad when you’re better than them. Bodyimage isn’t equivilant to power.Female road cyclist
Men have explained thatRennradlerin
– my bike is too small
– my bike is too big
– my saddle is too low
– my saddle is too high
– my bike is not fitted (after going to a professional bike fitter)
– the cadence is too low
– the cadence is too high
– they can push more watts than me (oh really? Not comparing watts/kg but absolute numbers 👏🏻)
– they have a lower heartrate while pushing the same amount of watts (absolut numbers AGAIN!)
– this means I am not as fit as they are
– they can gladly help me with all these problems by meeting me personally 🤔
i‘m female and i‘m overweight but in that „acceptable fat“ kind of way so i usually get the whole bunch: cycling tipps for beginners (been cycling for my whole life so far, also some solostuff), advice for how to handle a puncture or else as i am a woman and diet tipps as obviously as i‘m overweight i only do sports to loose weight. well, i ride bikes because it‘s the ultimate freedom for me and i will keep on doing so and i will keep on cycling alone and sleeping outside and having as much katjes as i want to. men, shut the fuck up.Female cyclist
There isn’t a single bike post that Orla @pedalingheroine posts in which a bunch of clearly unqualified dudes are telling her what she s doing wrong, should or not do to get better. Bro, she just won a national championship, she knows what she’s doing. That’s where I first really really noticed it. Now I see it everywhere on women’s cycling accounts.Malee cyclist
Man analyzing my rides on Strava (power, heart rate, duration…) and commenting on IG private chat how I should change my training plan. Mostly comments are nice and mean well, such as reminding me how to focus on endurance and recovery instead of doing too much VO2max intervals or riding too fast compared to them. Sometimes it makes me wonder though if they just don’t want to see a woman hitting 300W in an interval or do a ride over 30km/h average speed…Female cyclist
Cyclists especially male cyclists tell me how I should train or ride my bike although they cycle less than me or are slower than me on bikeFemale cyclist
I’ve had men explaining me things about cycling or bikes without me asking for it very regularly. They simply just assume I do not have the knowledge myself. And although I think that most of them don’t mean it in a bad way, I always get frustrated by the fact that they just assume that I don’t know these things myself and that I need them to explain me these things. They’ve got this image of women being hopeless damsels in disstress who need a knight in shining armor to save them. I’m not helpless, I’m self-reliant. When I need help, I’ll ask for it.happiestcycling
I get comments from men when I post in cycling groups on facebook, where they do not answer my question or talk about what I posted but assume that I do not know anything about bikes and explain to me how it works… Also in bike shops male mechanics do not listen to my explanation of what I think is the problem and they get surprised when I say I do some of my maintenance/changing of parts myself.. there is a shift in interest and tone when they understand that I actually know stuff. 🤦🏽♀️ Convos are uninteresting and mansplainy until I have proven to the man that I actually do know stuff, even though I am a woman….Female cyclist
As a woman, I have often received saddle tips from men. Men and women are built completely the same down there…Female cyclist
Men at traffic lights criticise me for not wearing cycling shorts (was my daily commute to work, 3 km).
A man I overtook uphill tells me I won’t go far if I overpace like that (had 65 km in his legs at that point, and he was really slow, I couldn’t stay behind him)
A man I was overtaking on the flat overtakes me, only to ride slowly in front of me again, the game is repeated several times, at some point I’ve had enough, I stop, he rides back again specifically to tell me that my shoes are too big? And therefore not aerodynamic. (I was riding a mountain bike, nothing about me was aero. Yes, you can also ride fast on a MTB.
A man tells me that my bike is too cheap. When I reply that the bike is impeccable and that I am at least as fast as he is, he offers to buy me a better bike if I would do “something” for it.Female cyclist
Mansplaining about how to maintain my bike or which clothes I should wear.. as if they know it better which cycling clothes are the best to wear as a woman?! (Facepalm)Female cyclist
An explanation from my cycling club colleague (whose opinion I had NOT asked for) why I don’t have to do a spiroergometry/lactate measurement anyway, because he knows so much better because of his great computer programme. Conclusion: The values from my spiro/lactate measurement are rubbish, after all he calculated it exactly and it doesn’t agree with that. He didn’t want to know that different spiroergo protocols have different purposes. Just one example of many and only one from cycling.Female cyclist
I talked about finding the right saddle to avoid saddle sores on long distance rides in a bike shop, when a male shop assistant told me: ‘you know, one is wearing padded shorts, called BiBs, on road bikes’ … wow 😳 really?Marlene
When entering a bike shop, men usually assume that I know nothing about my bike which makes me feel like I am not taken seriously. The worst thing is that most of these services are done badly so I have to go back again to complain (and still not being taken seriously). I now changed to a female owned bike shop, and the services (done by men who take you seriously) have been excellent.Female cyclist
Men commenting on my saddle height, chasing me when I overtake, saying “you weigh nothing, climbing is so much easier for you”Female cyclist
I experience mansplaining mostly, when it comes to bikefitting advice (“get rid of aaaall your spacers!”, “if you have choosen a smaller framesize, you caould have a longer stem, which is muuuuuch cooler”), my trainingsplan (“what, you are using trainerroad instead of zwift?”) and which kind of distance i should participate in a road race (“160km is too far, you will reach your best results if you participate in a shorter distance”). And thats just, what comes in my mind in 2 minutes of thinking.Female cyclist
I had many experiences when male cyclists told me what was “wrong” with my bike. For example: “This part should be exchanged because it sucks / doesn’t do your bike justice / isn’t good enough”. The reality was that it was totally fine and not a safety issue… just not as expensive or fancy as to what they’re used to. Some told me to move the bell on my handlebars to a different spot because they found it ugly. One even told me to create a survey for my followers to ask them if I should move it or not, even though I told him several times that I have NO problem with the location of my bell whatsoever. Also, I get the occasional “your saddle is too high/too low” or “you should get a women-specific saddle” comment under my pictures, even when there’s actually a women-specific saddle on the picture. Can’t think of more examples at the moment, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist; it’s a regular occurrence.Female cyclist
Well, what can I say. The most popular is my sitting position. I sit too high and, of course, too low. I would say 5% of my messages weekly are about that.Female bike blogger
Posted bike pics and had seat height, type of tyres I’m using, the fact I use a mans bike, that I should wear different clothes and many more things mansplained to me like I’m too stupid to have a bike!Female cyclist
Same work load, same training, same sacrifices, same risks- less money, less public attention, less respect as male cyclist. I don’t think any Male pro ever got asked the question when he quits cycling and gets a familie.Female UCI-pro
I know many women who experienced this topic different but fortunately I earn mostly respect for my cycling activities. Maybe it’s due to my age (50+) or the crazyness of what I (still) dare to do. Although I never asked him, one of the BDR-Coaches for young girls (!) told me, that he doesn’t like senior women to show up at Bundesliga races or even Championchips. He refused to give them an extra 40+ category in Germany. For men there are 4! senior categories. Women have to compete in one category from 23 years up. A really good example of “The fish stinks from its head”. My 15 year old son just answered “She’ll beat you anyway!” ♥️Female pro cyclist
I took part in an open road ride with wide/gravel tyres (42 mm, but no profile) and afterwards had to listen to an over-40 dude telling me that such a thing is not possible. He didn’t want to hear my argument that my tyres have an almost narrower contact surface than his road tyres, he just waved me off and said: “then buy a road bike if your tyres already have such a narrow surface! Ehm…huh?Female cyclist
A typical road bike snob.
My colleague always pumps his tyres up to 8 or 9 bar and want’s me to do the same. He was in a Continental Team where they used to do so. New studys showed lower pressures are faster though. An issue which won’t break our relation.Male cyclist
I was mansplained on the Danube Island the other day and immediately bodyshamed: I have to lose weight because my thighs are too fat, but my upper body is narrow and my cadence is too low (I had planned a strength unit with 70-80 rpm) – unfortunately it happens far too often that you get “only nicely meant” tips without being asked. Thank you for your work!Female cyclist
Experience one: guy would tell me at the end if a ride together „I fought myself quite well through and he thought I wouldn’t gonna make it“ while he was always the last spot in the peloton. Another time I got told off by a guy that I‘m reckless because I drive too fast in the downhills and the only reason I do that is because I never had a crash before-that I am just good a riding downhills didn‘t seemed to be an option…Melli
Fellow female cyclist from my town got a flat tyre. She had the tools and knows how to fix it, but anyway a male cyclist stopped to “help” her. He pretended to fix her flat, saying that it would take her a lot of time, even if she ever managed to fix it. No way this is still happening :/Male cyclist
A male friend told a female friend how to shift gears while the whole tour. I started making fun of him with her behind his back…but at the same time she was way beyond frustrated, so even being a tough girl off bikes, she didn’t want to tell him to stop.Jörg
I often make the experience that normally riding my bike already makes men stare at me. I don’t know whether that is because they are impressed or they just think it’s hot (I am riding road bikes) – a man once randomly touched my butt when cycling past him. [This is not mansplaining, however, patriarchy strikes again here, which is why I included it] But the most annoying thing basically is that men/people in general cannot believe that women can fix their bikes themselves or know technical stuff about it. As soon as this topic comes up, one is being mansplained as a woman. Men are instantly giving you advice about how to do this or handle that – same appeared to me in bike shops from the salesmen.Female cyclist
Constantly being schooled about not shaving my legs. I am a hobby cyclist…🤷🏻♂️Florian
My bike doesn’t fit my riding goals (informed myself for over a year and then decided what I want, but thanks for nothing).Female cyclist
In general, I have the feeling that as a woman you are somewhat ridiculed and have to earn the respect of men first. So it happened that my virtual performance was doubted. I think most people assume that you hardly know anything as a woman and that’s exactly why you get many things explained in particular detail. Besides, I don’t feel safe when I’m on my own. It feels like I (17 years old) am being watched by the gentlemen and that just makes me feel unsafe…. so I always depend on a companion.Female cyclist
Another one: My journey as a cyclist began as a volunteer in a DIY bike workshop so I know a thing or two about bikes, the mechanics and how to repair them. And male customers sometimes had a real struggle to let me help them, even if I was obviously working there. They were either ignoring my advices because they knew how to do it a better way, which they of course mansplained to me (even if they obviously had zero knowledge on this field, but hey they study engineering so they have to be better at this) or they went to a male co-worker after I explained how to fix the problem and offered to help.Bianca (Biebs.likes.Bikes.and.Beer)
I am the service manager of a huge bike shop. It is owned by a woman and her two daughters work in the shop. One of them works with us in the service department. On a daily basis she will explain something to a male cyclist and then that cyclist will insist of talking to a “real” mechanic or her manager. We will tell the cyclist the same exact thing that my female co-worker just explained to them but for some reason they didn’t believe her. It happens almost every single dayMale worker in the cycling industry
not being taken seriously in bike shops, like a second-class client, being told my frame size does not exist (53cm) as in there is no such frame size ever.Female cyclist
taking broken bike to the shop. „Hej, my break is leaking oil“ guy „now lets see. You probably just sprayed some oil on there while oiling the chain…“ call an hour later from same guy „so we found out your break is leaking oil…* explains hydraulic break system*“ Thanks man, I would have never thought of that…Female cyclist
Best example ever: My bike mechanic cut my cables too short unfortunately. I didn’t had any chance and placed my Wahoo not right in the middle of the handlebar but on the right side. I still can’t believe how many times male cyclist and ONLY MALE CYCLIST told me how to do it right. As I was tired to explain it every time, I just played my dumb role and would be overly excited and thankful that they told me until they realised how dumb THEY are! Not complaining about real good suggestions or if they ask me about the WHY I have it there. Just about the ones that literally thought I’m too dumb to place my Wahoo right.Nadine
I’m working in a bike store and I had many customers who said that they want to be consulted by a male colleague and not by a woman. “Because women don’t know anything about bikes“. If I start to explain something about bikes they often interrupt me by saying the exactly same thing I said just before and adding a “You should know that as a sales person“. They just don’t listen to my words because they already prejudiced me because of my gender. I make fun of it if they want a male consultant and send them to my black colleague to see if they are not only misogynist but also rasist.Female worker in the cycling industry
He called me a receptionist. I’m a semi qualified bike mechanic telling him oiling squeaky brakes isn’t a wise ideaFemale mechanic & cyclist
I used to experience a complete lack of detailed explanation from the bike shop when I get my bike serviced. The male mechanics would act as though I wouldn’t understand and were unwilling to hear me if asked questions or speak about bikes to help me to understand how they work. There was never a female assistant to talk to in that shop, it was a small shop but certainly would have been improved with a more diverse staff. I use a different shop now with a lovely male owner who also employes a female member of staff. He is always happy to talk bikes to me and explain exactly what work he completed on it.Helen
I wanna share a specific example here, because I think it’s a ridiculous one : I was doing a lot of research on “saddle pain” and writing a guide about it. Before I posted the guide I made an Insta Story and said something like “so I’ve being doing research for almost a year now on how to avoid saddle pain because it’s such a big issue for me” and I wanted to talk to other people (specifically women) about this. I literally wrote that I am doing research for MONTHS and still men (yes, plural) showed up in my DM’s like “have you tried another saddle”…. Like, no way, after one year of struggeling and reading hours and hours about this topic (like I said in the story), it never occured to me to change the saddle. So when I say I did some research about it for a year, some men think that’s the educational level where they need to pick me up.Bianca (Biebs.likes.Bikes.and.Beer)
I’m a bike enthusiast waiting for enough money to buy my first bike. I watch every race, know every team, etc. Men usually try to lecture me on team strategies and on how the races went/work when actually I’m the one who watched it all forrom the very beginning.Female cycling fan
There are men who think that as a woman you can’t screw on bicycles. And many want to show you on the bike how fast they can ride up or down a mountain. They subtly show you that they can do better.
But that doesn’t apply to everyone. Luckily, you can choose who you ride with and who follows you on Instagram. That’s why I actually only have cool men in my bubble. 👌
By the way, I’m a software developer by profession and I’ve often had problems with not being taken seriously by men. But that also makes you stronger and once you’ve proven yourself, they respect you.Lisa
I can’t always tell if they are trying to be genuinely helpful and feel more comfortable offering advice to a woman OR if they feel empowered by imparting their wisdom to a woman they feel must know nothing.Sarah from Hostile_Heroine
Whilst quite some people are mansplaining a lot it’s definitely not the majority. We had the discussion recently within our cycling group as well. But as no one from us is taken any social media stuff to serious we are not too much involved in the overall issue besides reading about it. It’s generally the same as with all the Querdenker guys who are commenting on everything. This wo are commenting on each and everything are most of the time not the most open people who accept a variety of inputs. Whilst it’s a shame that mansplaining really is a thing i see this a bigger problem of social media in general. Seems like in the current days a social figure need to live with these kinda comments. Which I guess is the reason non of us really has Chosen to post too much about cycling rather then enjoying it on our own. Which should be no offense to any other person who iahe chosen differently at all. Just seems to be the only way to stay out of the comments without the need to worry about it at all. Anyhow. Hope there is change coming and it will turn out better at some point 🙏🏼✌🏼Male pro cyclist
For me, I just “neutralized” things like that. These are humans who, in my opinion, always believe that they know something better than their counterpart. No matter what gender. And yes, maybe they are conditioned by their environment, lack of education, etc. so that they do not have a realistic, contemporary image of women. So what? I will not re-educate them, they will not die out through me (unfortunately). Years ago I used to get so mentally involved that the comments were long gone by the time I still had my package to carry around. Just read through posts in a normal Q + A forum. Rather, I sometimes ask myself: why do we women not create a “counterforce”? Don’t confront some poor soul who has to write on social media because nobody is listening in their home, or (much more likely) nobody is at home. Let´s force kudos for women’s contributions by women, etc. and let´s ignore completely such s … stupid comments. Every single word is too much. I think that’s the only thing that will keep them from exposing their stupidity in the future (if it does anything).Anja von Velosista
I havent really experienced any mansplaining but that‘s because I have only 12 Strava followers whom I all know personally and are almost all women and don‘t ride in a club (thanks Corona), I only started last summer as well. So probably I‘ll get to experience more soon!! Woohoo!! 😑Female road cyclist
I’ve been into cycling for about 4 years now (in Tyrol) and surprisingly/ thankfully haven’t experienced bad mansplaining (yet). Still, I feel super uncomfortable to walk into many cycling shops to ask for help or shop because men are overrepresented/ I’m afraid of mansplaining. In general it’s sad that so much of the industry is still focused on men instead of also showing female riders.Female cyclist
Haven’t come across this in any of the way described. Although I consider myself having a long standing history with cycling I am no wise ass to teach others, but merely try to help on any aspect I can. This goes without saying, irrespective of sex or any other demographic discriminator.Male cyclist
In professional cycling, whether on track, road or MTB, I hardly ever see mansplaining. It’s the job of the trainers – we only have a few female trainers – to explain.
But in amateur and recreational sports it’s blatant. As an athlete, I wouldn’t dare go on the usual tour in my home club. Even if I obviously know what I’m doing. There, offers for ladies only are particularly popular.
But the field is particularly interesting. After all, that’s where most of the women cyclists are.Tobitalas
As far as I know, no one has yet dealt scientifically with mansplaining in sport, at least not in German or English. That’s why I think it’s sensible and good that you’re exploring this and using your reach.
(It’s crazy how many fields could still be investigated).
I have never tried to “mansplain” anything about cycling to a female cyclist, probably because I’m not confident in my own knowledge. But also, and what I hope the real reason is, I’m not that much of a jerk. There are plenty of women who don’t need to be treated like naive little girls, especially when they’ve accomplished so much in their own life (way more than men have).James
There is always that one guy that knows best! It doesnt matter if you are male or female. There will always be someone who will Tell you how to clean this, or how to fix that – better than you actual do. And I dont mean the mechanic at the Shop of your trustMale cyclist
I often give advice to men and women regarding bike tech questions. I don’t think I make a difference based on the gender of someone. If someone asks me something I feel honoured that they want my opinion or explanation. And since I know the others I choose a explanation that I think fits there knowledge and is understandable. Based on the feedback I get I honestly think I’m not to bad at this. But as always, you only see your side of the story. If you have further questions feel free to reach out to me. I’m glad if I can help 🙂Male cyclist
I have witnessed mansplaining happening. I tend to ask questions rather than offer unsolicited advice so that at least I can be one person who does not contribute to the problem.JonO
Men do this “explaining in a condescending, overconfident, and often inaccurate or oversimplified manner” also to other men … so I think it is wrong to label it “mansplaining”, because in reality it is a “smartass”, whom nobody likes (men and women) in general. PeaceMale cyclist
I’m ashamed being a man reading these comments. Why man still think there more, better, handier, faster or what ever than woman. Being a though guy on the internet, criticizing woman on what ever topic! just have respect for every person. Everybody is unique in there form, shape, mind and way of living. Just treat others like you wanted to be treated. It winds me up talking about it! Stop it!Bas Wiegel
From the higher levels of federations and national governing bodies down to bike manufacturers and individuals sexism is tightly woven into the bicycle scene. From the constant discussion of frames and parts being modified to fit a variety of physiognomies, to competitions being either male only / mixed competitions or female competitions but hosted at odd times and without broadcast to the treatment by sponsors as male athletes are perceived as the economically more valuable athlete – a mistreatment of female* cyclists is detectable all across the sport. The public voice of a (seemingly) dominant group of males is an unfortunately but logical result. The media and magazines around the “traditional” side of this sport is male dominated and is facilitating an environment of diminishing female* existence, activities, efforts and success. (Very recent reference: Cinelli add with “bike vs girlfriend”). This translates even into scary numbers of police reports affiliated with harassment, assault or sexual violence during and around large bike festivals (e.g. lake Garda, Winterberg, Glemmride Saalbach, Crankworx Innsbruck). In more contemporary and ‘up-and-coming’ fields of cycling (fixed gear, Cycle cross, Crits,…) the culture is more diverse and an overall increase of tolerance can be noted. However, a short stop at after show parties and at trade shows will shine a bright light on the more than occasional incident of male dominance, mansplaining and overall sexist attitude (granted that in some cases a person in focus might not have reflected their behavior and simply reproduce patterns from ‘other’ scenes and cultures.) Identifying as a male person, I have not experienced sexism directed at me, but have witnessed numerous occasions of sexist motivated misbehavior towards female* individuals.Grobi, working in bike industry
How can we improve the situation in the future?
It is actually quite simple. Before you speak out on a topic – whether on the web or in normal life – you should briefly think about a few basic values of interpersonal behaviour.
- Was I asked or was generally asked for advice?
- Do I have my own experience in the topic that goes beyond that of the other person and that can also be applied to the other person’s current situation?
- Would I speak to my grandmother/mother/wife in this tone?
If you can’t answer all 3 questions with a yes, the motto is simply to keep scrolling or keep riding. If necessary, you can of course always ask if the person you are talking to would appreciate further input! It doesn’t hurt anyone to listen to or read other sites and experiences before giving your opinion. In the best case, you even learn something new – and you don’t look like a rude *beep* afterwards.
People who are affected by this can also resort to various aids:
- Have a few phrases ready to use in such a case. For example:
“Hey, I appreciate the comment and I’ve got this covered.”
“Let me continue and then if there’s a question, we can address it then.”
“With that comment, I wonder if it might be helpful to explain you my background.”
- Calling a spade a spade: in the history of humanity, things have (almost) never changed for the better by simply ignoring them.
- Be present: if you experience such a situation as a 3rd party or outsider, don’t just look away, but speak to the mansplainer about it and support the person concerned.
PS: English is not my mother language and if you find any spelling or grammar mistakes, I’m always very thankful if you let me know! I’m still learning.