Wednesday 31 October 2012

The ethical athlete

Are you an ethical athlete?  Would you change your habits, suppliers, races even at financial cost to yourself because the companies did something that was against your values?

On Monday of this week, Wiggle promoted a new cycling calendar (this one in the pictures here) on Twitter and Facebook.  You know the sort; components and bikes with ladies draped over them, not wearing a lot.  Now, even at that point you'd think "in this day and age...", but it was worse than that and got worse and Wiggle tied themselves in knots (sadly I have no screen shots, maybe someone else does?).

Not only were the ladies draped over things, but they were oiled and shiny, and very scantily clad, and jutting out boobs and bums in provocative poses.

And they were pro cyclists.

The immediate reaction on Facebook was "Er, you're kidding right? This is awfully sexist." and that was the men's comments.  The response from Wiggle was "they're pro cyclists, it's fine!".  Oh.  Dear.  After a few more comments and exchanges that can be summed up by "OK Wiggle, what you just said is; 'hey girls, it's not going to be good enough for you to be good enough at your sport, to get successful you'll have to nigh-on get your baps out'" (thanks @thegareth for those words) and that the product and attitude was damaging to the cause of promoting and improving women's cycling.

Wiggle later removed the Facebook post and Tweet.

Now... if that was something that offended you, was against your values and you were a regular shopper at Wiggle (because it's easy, convenient and you save money) what would you do?  Would you boycott?  Would you tut heavily and move on?  Would you put it down to a silly, mis-guided employee and not the view of the company so it doesn't matter?


  1. See also:

  2. Yuck. Similar things have been done with male cyclists (see the advert with Pippo Pozzato wearing nothing but oil and some carefully placed Sidis) but that's a very different ball game - he's not a female pro in an underfunded and underexposed sport who's earning minimum wage and worried about next year's contract, and he wasn't made to dry-hump a giant cycling shoe while wearing fetish gear.

    Of course, if you're talking about ethics in triathlon then you might want to ask about the Abu Dhabi government and why they're so keen to have a big race... and why people seem to happily go there without even thinking about the nature of the regime and the economy in the UAE.

  3. ps the captcha on your comments is ridiculously hard - took me 4 goes and the sound one is completely incomprehensible

  4. Ohyes! I was going to mention ethical race organisation, but didn't have the doodah for it today. I didn't even think about Abu Dhabi and it's a very good point... loads of stuff going on with a country that's run as a for-profit business for a start.

  5. Not to mention the human rights issues there.