Bitches Brew
May 12, 2015 10:27 AM   Subscribe

Amanda Batty, one of the industry's most famous professional mountain bikers, leaves her position writing for one of the largest online cycling websites after being shunned for criticizing the editor-supported misogyny: Why I'm Leaving Pinkbike.
posted by c0nsumer (39 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
My final indictment was in August of 2014 when I opened a bike review comparison by a male Pinkbike writer who compared the malleability and handling of a bike frame to a ‘girlfriend after too many shots’ in that both would do anything you asked.

I commented in a mild manner about how as a female PB user, I didn’t appreciate the comparison and that maybe, a less sexist sentence could have been used. The immediate response from male commenters was swift, fierce and angry.
...wow.
posted by indubitable at 10:43 AM on May 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


Knowing nothing about the situation other than what's posted here:

I mean the site is named pinkbike!
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:44 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hopefully something meaningful comes of this. I read Pinkbike several times a week to get my new bike gadget fix, and the casual bro-ish misogyny is hard to miss. The forums are a complete disaster - seemingly overrun by 13 year old boys.
posted by Anoplura at 10:46 AM on May 12, 2015


Holy shit. These asshats decided that adding "(or boyfriend)" would somehow make the rape metaphor ok?!?
posted by kmz at 10:47 AM on May 12, 2015 [17 favorites]


And then, despite this author’s repeated sexism and misogyny in his bike reviews, I got a call from the head honcho of PB and told that my interactions were again, too aggressive. He agreed with me that there was an issue, but dammit, I was too loud about it. I was too outspoken. I needed to calm down.

*rages*
posted by erratic meatsack at 10:48 AM on May 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


Holy shit. These asshats decided that adding "(or boyfriend)" would somehow make the rape metaphor ok?!?

That's some classic "I'm not a feminist, but I'm an egalitarian" horseshit there
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:55 AM on May 12, 2015 [18 favorites]


ugh. crazy people, you'll make a militant feminist out of me yet.
posted by GuyZero at 10:55 AM on May 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


I read Pinkbike several times a week to get my new bike gadget fix, and the casual bro-ish misogyny is hard to miss.

Pinkbike (and other MTB-focused media outlets) has been that way ever since I can recall. In my personal experience MTB 'culture', such as it is, is rife with "casual bro-ish misogyny" and in some quarters that seems to be a point of pride. For me, the culture is definitely one of the things I don't miss about the sport. Good on her!
posted by the painkiller at 10:56 AM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


The way they froze her out is also just such bullshit and completely unprofessional. Good for her.
posted by Hutch at 11:06 AM on May 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


Ah, bro culture. I remember when there were men, not entitled whining manchildren.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:08 AM on May 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


Maybe those sexist asshats should just be less sensitive when they're criticized. Grow a thicker skin, learn not to take everything so seriously.

/bursts into flames
posted by rtha at 11:10 AM on May 12, 2015 [30 favorites]


She doesn't sound a single false note in Why I'm Leaving Pinkbike, and in my experience that's an exceedingly hard thing for a victim of oppression to do.
posted by jamjam at 11:11 AM on May 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wow
posted by OmieWise at 11:15 AM on May 12, 2015


I can't wait until the day everyone start thinking they don't need to make money off of threatening assholes and moderate the shit out of their communities.

I'll be living on my unicorn farm, of course, breeding champions.
posted by erratic meatsack at 11:16 AM on May 12, 2015 [11 favorites]


Knowing certain stereotypes that exist about serious cyclists, one wonders if the fratty dudebro tone isn't just a form of massive overcompensation.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:16 AM on May 12, 2015


I'm I missing some cycling in-joke with the title of the post?

The only thing 'Bitches Brew' means to me is a title of an album by the very talented and misogynistic jazz player Mile Davis.

Happily the biggest male cycling enthusiasts I've known were serious feminists (ie: read feminist theory books and walked the walk).
posted by el io at 11:19 AM on May 12, 2015


We've developed a civilization that makes it OK to think that majorities are oppressed, that the "victim" mentality is overplayed by anyone not in a position of power (making it OK to ignore any legitimate claims of victimization!), that the default mentality should be juvenile, spiteful, us-against-them solidarity, and that in case of disagreement, the loudest voice in the room wins.

You can blame this on the joys of internet anonymity, on pompous talk radio windbags, on the failure of the public school system or poor parenting, what have you. But every time we sit silently and let it happen, we have to also blame it on ourselves. I am sick and damned tired of seeing these stories pop up because they always, always, ALWAYs contain the most damning bit - that not one person ever steps in to defend against the idiocy and unjustified anger of the crowd.

What the hell is wrong with us, anyway. Hope to god my kid doesn't turn into one of these misogynistic assholes. I'd disown him.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:21 AM on May 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I remember when there were men, not entitled whining manchildren.
I'm one of the older folks here and I don't.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:23 AM on May 12, 2015 [23 favorites]


Considering that this entire post is about misogyny, why is it titled 'Bitches Brew"? Should I laugh or cry or rage??
posted by TDIpod at 11:23 AM on May 12, 2015


This is an industry that recently had a bicycle frame shaped like a woman's body debut at a competitive bike show, with a poll from the maker on his website asking if you'd "ride her hard and often" or "keep her locked to your bed." Link. Not only did some asshole think it was a good idea to make it in the first place, it was ALLOWED in the show by the judges.
posted by barchan at 11:32 AM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Considering that this entire post is about misogyny, why is it titled 'Bitches Brew"?

It was, apparently, the name of Batty's column on Pinkbike.
posted by Shmuel510 at 11:40 AM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


As a non-cycling nerd, it's good/bad/sad/angering to see that asshats aren't endemic to our culture. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 11:41 AM on May 12, 2015


I might be nitpicking, but I feel like the term "asshats" doesn't adequately convey how these people do harm to and prevent the participation of women, and women especially.
posted by tigrrrlily at 11:57 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm really sad to hear about this. There's just not a lot of other options for mtn biking sites.

Pinkbike has been adding more content about women's races, issues and gear lately but there's always been this weird misogynistic undercurrent in their articles and random asides about women/girlfriends/wives in a lot of their reviews. Its like they need an grown-up editor, not just for the misogyny but also to cut all the other the cruft out of all their articles. Their most vocal audience seems to be young downhillers, but I think there us actually a larger cross section of lot of other readers that just don't bother to comment that they could be reaching.
posted by captaincrouton at 12:09 PM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


You're telling me that there's a sport with a misogynistic culture among its fans? Heavens above, whatever next? Racism? Homophobia? And that this somehow leaks out into their internet forums?

The only way this sort of shit is going to go away is if it becomes unfashionable. To make them see themselves as others see them. That means building alternatives that are preferable to belong to, and in this sort of sphere to make better places online where people want to hang out and will be sad if they're excluded. And then police them. With a banstick.

You don't get this massive stinking pile of angry stupid on radio and television these days (mostly), where casual bigotry was commonplace a generation ago, and that's had an effect on people. Perhaps its just repressed and it's spewing over the Internet because it can, but I think there's good reason to think otherwise.

And that means the stars and the journalists and the editors and everyone else who wants better to set up shop under that flag, and eschew the shiteholes.

I don't know what Batty knew of poisonous Internet culture in general before she moved to PinkBike, or whether it wasn't like that there and she precipitated something new and nasty, or whether it was and she didn't know, or whether it was, she knew and she thought "fuck 'em, I'm stronger than those bozos", or whatever. In the most important respect, it doesn't matter - she was subjected to violent behaviour that should be unacceptable by any civilised code I wish to belong to, while behaving herself (as far as I can tell) honestly and in good faith.

There is another way, which is to say "No, I won't go there" and find something else to do, somewhere else to go, which does stick to rules of normal humanity, and find the others who want to go there with you. And then make it a place where the turdchuckers have to be, and they're welcome, as soon as they stop chucking turds. Which won't be easy, because money follows the masses, and you'll never stop people being brontosaurus-breath brotards, but you can stop them poisoning the stuff you love.
posted by Devonian at 12:12 PM on May 12, 2015


When I read stories like this and GamerGate, I am always aghast. I've never encountered anything like this online myself. I think it's largely because my interests (needlework, art & design, literature) are typically feminine pursuits and the internet subcultures that have grown up around those things are relatively woman-friendly. If anything, the crafting subculture is female dominated and a bit biased against men. The male knitters who participate on my knitting blog's Facebook page report hearing obnoxious comments from women when they knit in public and a relative dearth of knitting designs for them (no, it's not comparable to GamerGate, but still).

Some months ago I established the practice of "Menday" on my Facebook page (which means that on Mondays I make sure I post several things that are chosen specifically to interest male knitters), in order to help correct for the woman-centric bent of my page. My announcement that I intended to start doing "Menday" was met with not only enthusiasm and thanks from the few male followers of my page, but also with unanimous enthusiasm and support from the female followers of my page. I have not heard a single negative word regarding my efforts to make the page more inclusive. My female readers were only too happy to have men joining their ranks and learning to love their craft. I wish all the assholes in the male-dominated subcultures would take a leaf from the female-dominated ones and start caring about equality and decency rather than acting like a bunch of under enlightened, over privileged asshole frat boys.
posted by orange swan at 12:18 PM on May 12, 2015 [33 favorites]


This is a typical "yes! yes! we know there is a problem and it may be a bit serious but we cant afford to rock the boat right now, so why don't you keep your voice down and and things will improve slowly, may be, .... but the most important thing is that you don't rock the boat, don't do finger pointing, don't raise your voice. You just raised your voice!! Thats it. Your raising the voice means that we shift the focus from your complaint. It doesn't have any validity in our eyes."

Its the same pattern across any situation which involves a disadvantaged group trying to change the situation.

Its kinda depressing. I don't know what is the right response to these types of arguments.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 12:22 PM on May 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


Whenever I see stories like this (and I see too many) I am so embarrassed and angry. If nothing else (like common decency) we guys are cheating ourselves out of so many interesting people and ideas when we pull this crap. Mere enlightened self interest alone should put an end to this stupidity, yet alas it doesn't seem to.
posted by cccorlew at 12:53 PM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Some months ago I established the practice of "Menday" on my Facebook page (which means that on Mondays I make sure I post several things that are chosen specifically to interest male knitters), in order to help correct for the woman-centric bent of my page. My announcement that I intended to start doing "Menday" was met with not only enthusiasm and thanks from the few male followers of my page, but also with unanimous enthusiasm and support from the female followers of my page. I have not heard a single negative word regarding my efforts to make the page more inclusive. My female readers were only too happy to have men joining their ranks and learning to love their craft. I wish all the assholes in the male-dominated subcultures would take a leaf from the female-dominated ones and start caring about equality and decency rather than acting like a bunch of under enlightened, over privileged asshole frat boys.

As a lapsed male knitter and spinner (it's been quite a few years since I picked up needles), the women I interacted with were 100% accepting and enthusiastic to welcome a male into their craft. The *only* less than positive comments were always from other males, including family members. Should get back to knitting. I enjoyed it and people in it.
posted by jgaiser at 12:54 PM on May 12, 2015 [11 favorites]


I love cycling but boy do I hate dude-bro mtb culture. I've met so many amazingly intelligent people through cycling and yet because it's such a male-dominated sport misogyny is tolerated across-the-board. Even women cyclists I know will tolerate it with a boy-will-be-boys shrug. Ironically, this is also a sport that regularly has fits about low female participation and how badly women are treated in the pro ranks.
posted by photoslob at 1:28 PM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


cccorlew: If nothing else (like common decency) we guys are cheating ourselves out of so many interesting people and ideas when we pull this crap. Mere enlightened self interest alone should put an end to this stupidity, yet alas it doesn't seem to.

Agreed: I don't think I count as friends any men who would do this, but there demonstrably are such losers. What could they possibly be thinking? I Dadsplain and blow hot air all the time, but I still know to pull up and stifle my dudgeon before getting all shouty at someone online just because of their gender. Sheesh, what assholes.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:36 PM on May 12, 2015


If nothing else (like common decency) we guys are cheating ourselves out of so many interesting people and ideas when we pull this crap. Mere enlightened self interest alone should put an end to this stupidity, yet alas it doesn't seem to.

Thirded.

Seriously, take gaming as the (isn't it always) example of this stupidity. Why wouldn't guy gamers want more games (from more buyers and developers feeling welcome), to increase the size of the pool from which to draw friends/relationships from, and a higher chance that they and their (assuming a heterosexual relationship, obviously) [future, hypothetical] partner might be able to find a game they could play together and both enjoy.

Everything I've said applies just as strongly to biking. And yet the shooting of selves in foots via pissing off and hurting females in the community in question continues ad nauseam.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:55 PM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


a higher chance that they and their (assuming a heterosexual relationship, obviously) [future, hypothetical] partner might be able to find a game they could play together and both enjoy... Everything I've said applies just as strongly to biking.

But then who's going to clean the house and make dinner while the boys are out playing? I don't think most of these people are looking for "partners" as much as they're looking for "hot maids."
posted by jaguar at 2:01 PM on May 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


Why? Because what...what if... what if some woman was better than them? Would they even still be men anymore?

I mean, I think that's the real fear. Your average male biker or gamer might get beat by another dude, but can console himself: at least women will always suck at this, unlike us men. Then a woman shows up and is halfway competent at it. She might be/get good enough to beat you, and then what? There goes your entire self-image! No longer are you guaranteed a whole class of people who are worse than you at (thing)! And sadly, that was a major prop to your pitifully underdeveloped self. And so you rage and lash out.
posted by emjaybee at 3:52 PM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Seriously. I just don't see why people can't be civil anymore. I miss the old days, when everybody just hung out online. Yeah, there were still arguments, but they actually were about points people made, not about the people making them.

And, yeah, in my Metafilter gaming days, I got schooled by female MeFi gamers, and the worst I ever really thought was basically "Jerk!" as I had gotten schooled period.
posted by Samizdata at 5:54 PM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just don't see why people can't be civil anymore. I miss the old days, when everybody just hung out online. Yeah, there were still arguments, but they actually were about points people made, not about the people making them.

I can assure you that this was not the case.
posted by kagredon at 6:19 PM on May 12, 2015 [11 favorites]


There have been a couple of comments harking back to the good old days when there was more civility, but in fact there was just more silence in the face of poor treatment. I'm glad she had the strength to speak out and I hope it works out well for her.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:27 PM on May 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


So, I ride bikes, but I'm a total Fred--I go on slow solo single track rides on my vintage rigid single speed mtb and think about nature, or I go on long solo road/trail rides on my touring bike and take Instagram photos, or ride my town bike to the grocery store and compose shopping lists in my head. I don't buy a lot of stuff or follow the new stuff or go to races or go on group rides or hang out in shops (I used to do all these things)--I've ridden bikes for almost my entire life, but, these days, I don't feel like I'm really part of cycling culture.

I kind of want to be, though, so I'm wondering--what are the least-casually-sexist modern bike subcultures? I'm guessing maybe, like, tweed rides? Co-ops? Credit-card tourists? That Rivendell/Velo Orange kind of sphere?
posted by box at 7:29 PM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you look at this post on the Pinkbike site, the most upvoted comments are all pretty supportive of Amanda.

I don't think they're all bad.
posted by astrofinch at 8:08 PM on May 12, 2015


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