I’ll do anything for free kit but I won’t do that…

Sometime last year I saw an advert for a brand that was looking for ambassadors. That brand was Pearl Izumi. From the information available it sounded pretty sweet.

“We are looking for a diverse group of athletes…”

“Successful champions will receive limited edition Pearl Izumi kit, online discounts, invitations to exclusive events, entrance to races, monthly fitness goals and expert tuition to really test themselves.”

So I threw my hat into the ring and applied. I was successful. Wopeee!

Then today…

“For the 2017 season, you will be pink, black & hi-viz yellow (women) and blue, black & hi-viz yellow (men).”

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Gender isn’t a black and white issue. Nor is it pink and blue.

Now these kits are the same as what had been shown in the promo shots. Perhaps foolishly, I assumed that they wouldn’t do that again! I mean who is that backwards to make that mistake twice?! Turns out Pearl Izumi is that backwards.

So today I requested to withdraw from the programme.

I am not willing to be an ambassador for a brand that requires/encourages individuals to wear colours that are assigned to them according to their gender. 

People are individuals. We are not defined by gender. Yes I wear pink and I am a woman but this is a choice. Not all women wear pink, some men would like to have more choice of pink kit. Some people don’t identify by the gender they were born with, or with any gender at all! We should not stereotype and we should challenge those that do. Research shows that giving children blue or pink to wear affects how others treat them. Gender stereotypes can lead to little girls thinking that brilliance is a male trait. Over use of pink in advertising campaigns actually renders these campaigns less effective at targeting women. The cycling industry has a huge diversity problem. How are we supposed to build an increasingly inclusive cycling community when we reinforce gender stereotypes? 

Gender and stereotypes are not a black and white matter. Nor are they blue and pink. 

In other news, anyone looking to sponsor a ‘difficult’ woman?!

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One of the reasons I love my Casquette cap. It’s YELLOW! Happy yellow.
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18 thoughts on “I’ll do anything for free kit but I won’t do that…

    1. Me too! Unfortunately they deleted my comment from the Facebook group that urged other men and women to do the same if they also weren’t happy with the decision! Hmmm

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  1. Good on you.

    Pink, blue or rainbow stripes, I just find the whole “ambassador” thing creepy too, it looks like stealthy corporate marketing. If they tell people what do wear, do they tell people how to wear it, what to say etc?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Whether the “pinking” was intentional or a mistake, Pearl Izumi is BLIND for not having seen this coming. Especially in a sport as sexist as road cycling which has a long history of pinking men’s products for the women’s market. Thank you for calling them out on it.

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  3. Great blog – you’re so right, it’s not about pink being good or bad per se, it’s all about choice and not feeling pigeonholed. Pink turns out to be the most popular colour in some of our ranges, but is that to do with nature or nurture? If anything, we consciously steer away from pink when the option arises. And we love ‘difficult’ women! X

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    1. Yep! I’m so glad that you understand where I’m coming from. So reassuring that there are retailers out there with this attitude! I’ve always loved VV and it has been great to see the brand grow over the past couple of years! Watching Cheryl on your stage at the bike show was awesome! She and the Condors are 100% responsible for giving me the confidence to take cycling to the next level. It’s awesome that you can work together to get these messages out there, chapeau!

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  4. Hello! Great article and well made point. I run a brand called THREO and we love ‘difficult’ women…they are the ones who get shit done after all 🙂 can I have your email and will send you some kit! We do blue, grey, aqua and a coral jersey for precisely the reasons you mention, and in big bold block colours as I was fed up with pink and purple flowers on my kit. Anyway excuse me posting in a personal capacity as I pride myself on being a difficult woman too but it appears I lack the tech skills to figure out how to log on any other way!! 🙂 my email is Rhian ravenscroft at threo.co.uk and feel free to say no if not or if you don’t like it 🙂 we can’t win em all and one day there will be enough brands and anough kit for us to all choose a favourite rather than settling.

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    1. Oh my gosh! Thanks Rhian, you’ve just made my Monday! So nice to know there are some awesome women out there kicking some lycra ass!

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  5. Gold. I mean… brilliant.
    I’m a gender that likes pink and all colours of the rainbow. I also put bendy bars on road race bikes causing fragile roadies to have fission core meltdown, so I don’t fit into groups, nor have many friends, but it’s fun showing how fickle and contrived modern society people can be.

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  6. Seems like stereotyping sadly is alive and well in some places. Nice work on being the difficult woman! Personally I love bright pink on my kits but only because for me it says “F*ck you and your male-dominated sport, GIRL coming through!” However, this very fact is a sad indictment of gender stereotyping itself, but for me it reflects the very traditional, backward looking area where I live in Switzerland. But I wear it because for me pink = ME and the way I feel and identify (despite the inevitable orientation-invisibility inherent in that) and I know so many fellow female cyclists who can’t stand the colour, indeed there are probably more who won’t wear it! It all comes down to personal choice as you so rightly say, gender-ID etc aside. Dictating colour choice just infringes freedom of expression, which is a human right if I’m not mistaken? Food for thought ….. 😉

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