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British Cycling Magazine Captions ‘Token Attractive Woman’

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Cycling Weekly, a popular British cycling magazine, is under fire for its feature on cyclist Hannah Noel in a photo frame. They  captioned her image as the “token attractive woman.”

Noel is part of the Hinckley Cycling Race Club in Leicester, England. Needless to say, she was not happy with the caption. “I made it into Cycling Weekly, it seems,” she writes in a Facebook post, “not for my ability as a female cyclist but as a ‘token attractive woman’ – I’m absolutely gutted and disappointed in the magazine. It’s not really the reason I’d want to be in a magazine, it’s sexist and derogatory to female cyclists.”

The fact that men are still belittling women’s accomplishments is both frustrating and baffling. No woman has labeled a man as the “token attractive man.” Is it too much to ask that men refrain from doing the same?

Cycling Weekly was quick to condemn the mistake. Chief Editor of Cycling Weekly, Simon Richardson, is adamant that the caption was merely a mistake, claiming that “during the magazine’s production process, a member of the sub-editing team decided to write an idiotic caption. Sadly in the rush to get the magazine finished it was missed by other members of the team and eventually sent to print.”

“We would like to apologize unreservedly to the rider in the photograph, the Hinckley CRC [Cycling Race Club] and all our readers,” he says. “This appalling lack of judgment by an individual is just that, and not a reflection of the CW [cycling out} office.”

Regardless of whether it was a mistake or not, the club is still disgruntled by the blunder. The CRC Secretary, Tim Ellershaw, claims that the mistake “should never have been made in the first place.” The complaint is legitimate regardless of what time a deadline is or how rushed the publishing needs to be. 

“Thanks for the apology @cyclingweekly,” writes Twitter user @Vickymook. “Now just [to] prove a commitment to equality by adequately representing female cyclists in ur mag?”

The fact that misogynistic behavior exists in sports and sports media, especially in the realm of cycling, is nothing new. During its entirety, no woman has actually ridden in the Tour de France. In fact, the Tour de France is actually restricted so that only men can participate. Women ride La Course, which is about a third of the length of the Tour de France.

Sports have a long way to go before they have both women and men being equally represented.

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