A woman in a UK cycling club got a terrible surprise this week when a photo taken of her for Cycling Weekly — a bicycling-enthusiast's magazine published in the UK — was printed with a sexist caption.
Above the photo of the woman, smiling at one of the other members of her club, are the words, "Token attractive woman." Soon after it was printed, the backlash rolled in. A member of the club, Carlos Fandango, tweeted an image of the caption saying, "So my cycling club made it into @cyclingweekly and this happened. I hope @cyclingweekly apologise. Still a lot of equality work to do it."
The magazine did apologize, and quickly. The caption was never meant to be printed, they said, and they're appalled and deeply sorry that it somehow made it past the editing process to go to print.
But the damage was still done. Although Cycling Weekly explained that the caption was written as placeholder text by "a member of the sub-editing team" who "decided to write and idiotic caption," they can't explain away the real problem behind this blunder. It's yet another example of patriarchal and sexist views of women in sports — and women in general.
Calling this woman a "token attractive woman" on the page of a cycling magazine implies that she's just there to make the page look prettier — not because she's a legitimate athlete who actually belongs on the pages of a cycling magazine.
And, despite the apology, people are still calling the magazine out.
What the commenters are saying is true — women often do have to work harder to be taken seriously in sports because of attitudes like this.
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