Updated: Feb 16, 2022
It's quite apparent when you go out on your bike or join any cycling group that there are more men than women. There are certainly not more men in the world, so why is it that there are more men out on the roads cycling?
Generally women are physically different and not built as strong as men, we have smaller hearts and therefore do not build muscles as easily as men. Should be let these differences stop us from cycling or partaking in sport?
No, the problem is gender stereotyping. Women just are not encouraged to do sports at a younger age.
Girls have less opportunities as children
Socially boys are encouraged to so sport, whilst for girls there is fear around girls who might be seen negatively and be bullied for it as they are not doing what girls do. Often the fear is related with homophobia.
Even when girls do sport, they are often referred to as weak which is very demotivating.
As a result they do not pick up motor skills such as catching, throwing, agility in which is harder to learn at a later age. So we are left with even more physical disadvantages.
Women are sexualised in sport
The media plays a part in that women are more celebrated for looking provocative when playing sport rather than being celebrated for their sporting achievements. Things are improving on some levels, but Instagram does not help, where influencers will rewarded more for their image rather than their achievements as a cyclist. This beings on insecurities, unrealistic expectations and eating disorders, which will impact negatively on sports performance and the love of the sport.
Personally, I am actually quite culturally unaware in some ways. As a child I struggled to fit in with cultural norms. However as I have never seen a barrier in doing the things that I enjoy or are passionate about in my personal and professional life. Nor have I though it anyway necessary to seek male approval to do so.
Should we try to act like men?
No, we are different to men. I believe as women we should have opportunity to be who we want, do what we need to live healthy and fulfilling lives.
I would like to celebrate all female cyclist, for challenging the stereotypes.
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