17 Jan 2018

#decembHER

WORDS x Sarah Sturm
PHOTOS x Justa Jeskova

During the month of December did you notice anything different about Eskapee?

No?

That’s great – that’s what we were hoping. Last month our photos were still captivating, the stories still compelling and yet there was something uniquely and wonderfully different. December was 100% run by, created by, edited by, featuring, and supported by women. All of it – 100% – across our website and social media.

We chose to run this little experiment because on any given day, on any other mountain bike website, over 90% of their content is run by and featuring men. Before the Internet was even around, nonetheless in our pockets at all times, this has been the “norm” in the sport of biking and men were never called out for being “men”. So we wanted to see what happened if we changed that around, had women in charge, behind the camera and on the trail, and not make any song-and-dance about it and turn it into some marketing campaign. It turns out that nothing changed.

So why do we always feel the need to call out when something is female? Why do we have to say “women’s specific” for things that aren’t really women’s specific? Why do we call out female riders and photographers? We don’t do that for men, that would get a little redundant right? Our persistent calling out of “females” could be part of the division within the sport, perhaps we are pouring salt on the wound when we’re trying to bandage it. What we need is support, we need equal pay, equal opportunities and to start hiring women in the industry, mechanics, photographers, editors, hosts on web videos channels, frame builders, business professionals. It’s not just about having women on bikes, we need women on the inside too. And it’s not just for women, it’s for ultimately for all of us, because by expanding our perspective to one that has been left out for far too long it makes our sport better. It’s also not about male and female, it’s about creating something collectively, together. More opportunities for women in the industry means more people in the industry, more people on bikes and equally more women represented in the photos, stories, and content we see.

This isn’t a battle between men and women, it’s about recognizing the need for a shift in the narrative and to stop calling out “women” for being women. Eskapee took a risk, flipped the universe, and we have proven that nothing changed when women took the lead and filled your feeds with women and bikes  – no heads exploded, pigs aren’t flying and bikes didn’t all magically turn pink. And, people were still engaged to the same level as previous months, so nothing really changed.

So, how about put the fear and judgement aside and start making some changes and start describing a “girls ride to the top of the mountain” just as a “ride to the top of the mountain”. It’s pretty simple really.

 

Sarah Sturm
Guest Editor – decembHER

 

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