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  • NY’er

    Hi Gemma,
    I’m glad you wrote the question “isn’t ‘babe’ objectifying?”. It clearly crossed your mind and I certainly think it is. As much as Adrienne says that’s not what it means to her, I think that’s pretty short sighted because I’m not sure the rest of the world would agree. I wonder what the male equivalent of a “babe” is?…stud? I’m don’t think “Studs ride bikes” would be considered good taste, so I’m not sure why “Babes ride bikes” is.
    If I’m lucky enough to have a daughter one day, I think I might make her a t-shirt that says “I love maths and I ride bikes”.
    Just to clarify: Yes, I am a male and no, I’m not trying to hate/troll. I genuinely think this is a real issue and with all the semi-nakedness found on Instagram, we need to start teaching both men and women that there’s a lot more important things than being a “babe”

    • Gavin Adkins

      My initial reaction was similar, but now I think it’s a kind of re-appropriation of an objectifying term. I don’t doubt your sincerity, but whether you or I like it or not is a bit irrelevant and it seems to me that’s kind of the point. Adrienne and her customers decide if they are ‘babes’ and DGAF about what we think about it.

      • Anne-Marije Rook

        Agreed. I too had that initial knee-jerk reaction to the word ‘babe’. But if women are reclaiming it and even identifying with it, I find that there is empowerment in that, too.

        • NY’er

          I agree that Adrienne probably doesn’t care what I think, but she might care what my wife thinks. As a member of the Executive Committee of one of Australia’s largest businesses, she’ll be the first to tell you that the words “babe” and “capable women” don’t belong in the same sentence. Associating the term babes with empowered women does little to help progress workplaces to where men and women are treated the same, paid the same and respected the same. We’re still a long way off and even simple messages like this are part of problem, not the solution.

          • You forget that some and maybe even many women simply like to be a babe. I am male but I am sure would like to be a babe. What’s wrong with feeling good while looking good and for fucks sake with feeling sexy while you are doing what you love? That political correctness bullshit doesn’t help anyone. If a woman wants to be a babe, hell yes let her be a babe and let her be proud of that. Being a babe simply means being proud of being a woman.

          • Rowena

            I’m with you, I don’t like the term babe, some people identify with it… great for them. Do I think it’s empowering for young girls? Absolutely not. I would not like to be viewed as a babe, not in a casual environment nor in a professional environment. Great job to this person for creating what they have created, they have a following that works for them and they’re inspiring a person in some way. As far as an overall message goes I personally look forward to a world where the term woman and women is empowering and inspiring enough that we don’t need words that are traditionally evoking a sense of sexualisation.

    • Wily_Quixote

      “women who are pretty , smart and a even a decent person ride bikes. But, come to think of it, there’s a few women and men who are also venal, of below average intelligence and, lets face it, ugly and lumpy and they ride bikes as well. But we have to keep the message ‘positive’ for our Millennial purchasers, so unused to unpalatable truths, so lets just concentrate on the affirmative and assume that ‘babe’ means ‘babeness’: a transformative state of ecstatic, self-affirming transcendence achieved by wearing my garments, and somehow the vacuous superficial connotations of ‘babe’ will disappear and we can retake, repurpose and upcycle the word for unattractive bike riders who, lets face it, probably shouldn’t be seen in Lycra (or even out of the house) but have a massive disposable income (ugly people don’t go to parties, at least not the ones I go to) so lets be inclusive of attractiveness-disabled riders. Get on message, with the program, lets socialise and populate this idea that physical attractiveness and bicycle riding are inextricably linked and buying my shirt will make you a hottie but what I mean by hottie is not literal hotness, but a kind of moral hotness that makes you a better person, definitely happier and more succesful.”

      Won’t fit on the front of the shirt in a readable font.

      • DaveRides

        “…buying my shirt will make you a hottie but what I mean by hottie is not literal hotness…”

        I take it that a lack of literal hotness means that it has good ventilation and moisture wicking properties? If so, I approve as I live in Australia where the weather is wonderful and we don’t need any additional hotness.

        • Wily_Quixote

          That depends on whether you subscribe to the literal meaning of literal, which means metaphorical, or the vernacular meaning of literal, which would be non-literal, non-metaphorical; but, actual.

          In which case any actual hotness gained by my garment would be of an non-aesthetic nature – but nor would it be a thermal hotness; that is, the literal(or non-literal but actual – see above) accelerated kinetics of atoms within the textile.

          Both would be impossible – aesthetic hotness or babeness can not be attained by garments alone – that requires significant investment in surgery or parent selection, unfortunately. Thermal hotness may be attained by wearing many of the garments over the top of each other, at the expense of the aesthetic form of literal (that is metaphorical, not actual) hotness.

          No, what you achieve in my garments is moral hotness – a transcendent state of smugness only achieved by the purchase of approved, official, instabooked and facegarnered fashion attire. Gluten free, tech-savvy, organically spun bangladeshi-free, on-trend SmugWear.

          Get it while it’s hot.

    • Adrienne Nicholls

      Hi Ny’er im glad that you are getting involved in this discussion and that you read Ella CT –

      Firstly, can i correct you and make it clear that “isn’t babe objectifying?” was not a question posed to me, nor a discussion had during this interview process. I was not asked my thoughts or concerns regarding the objectification of women, this statement was added post edit – so the text that follows that you are referring to in the article above it, is actually, not even in the same context. I was asked “what’s the story behind babes ride bikes”? completely different. in fact worlds apart.

      There are ALOT of social media accounts & websites that cater towards a hyper-sexualized account of women in sport (not just cycling) and yes, i personally find that poor taste.

      I think that you are reading a little too much into it, what i am doing, and have done has come from a good place. both my own account (@lotdeux) and my business account content is so far from the semi-nakedness you online you have described and aligned me with within your paragraph.

      It is unfortunate that the whole interview was not included as Gemma touched on some very important questions regarding mental health, which i am very passionate about. But hey. you cant please everyone and you have a right to your own opinion, you and the rest of the world don’t have to agree with me at all, i respect your views and standpoints however i do believe maybe a closer look is required to make a more informed judgement on somebody.

      Aligning the word babe, with active, supportive, healthy and encouraging women & men is CHANGING the word association. If you are giving it the power to be objectifying then i guess its going to be.

      If i had an account filled with photos of semi naked women in bikinis draped across saddles suggestively i would even be inclined to agree with you. but i don’t.

      And I think the tshirt idea for your future daughter is great, please pursue it.

      • Max Paine

        Jumping on the comment train here, @ny_er:disqus

      • Anne-Marije Rook

        Hey Adrienne,

        The question was meant to be hypothetical. As in, the author and reader came to that conclusion as we were following along. You had organically already addressed it. And I find the way you are reclaiming ‘babe’ actually quite empowering. Thank you for all you do, and for joining the discussion here.

        – Anne-Marije, Editor.

    • Eric Blair

      From the context, I assumed that she had meant it as a clever pun, denoting both the reclaiming of the word “babe” by women, as well as to her child.

  • sket

    A particularly important advocate for female ‘cross participation too. Somehow manages to show a glamorous side of mud and lactic acid.

  • Alice Handler

    Thank you for being so open Adrienne, I’ve loved following your journey.

  • Ashok Captain

    Chapeau, ma’am! And very cool Concorde – good golly, chrome-moly!

  • winkybiker

    “Being a babe is a state of mind,” Nicholls clarified. “It’s about feeling good on the inside and showing the world who you are.”

    This is an incredibly easy assertion to make when one is a “babe” in the traditional and physical sense of the word. I see nothing whatsoever empowering in the images in the instagram accounts. It’s just puff.

    • DaveRides

      It sounds more like a plea for validation to me.

      I’ll believe it’s genuinely about empowerment when we start seeing some less perfect women on the same page modelling shirts from the same range. If their sizes are available, that is.

  • Gemma Mollenhauer

    Thanks for the comments and feedback everyone. Might I just clarify that when Adrienne is calling herself and her followers ‘babes’, she’s reclaiming the term. The images she chooses to post on Instagram are showing women that if you feel good about yourself, don’t be afraid to show it. That in itself is empowering. In the words of Tyrion Lannister: ‘Never forget what you are, the rest of the world will not. Wear it like armour and it can never be used against you’. By embracing the word ‘babe’ she’s saying that yes you can be smart, sexy, confident and ride bikes all the same.

  • Julie Baird

    Thank you for sharing Adrienne. I really enjoyed the article and plan on checking your IG profile out. I love that you have a passion in connecting people with bikes and share your own struggles/journey to where you are now. Your intentions are great and you have a story to tell to help connect with others. Doesn’t mean it will connect with everyone but that really doesn’t matter. So hopefully the harsher comments you can take and know that that’s just one person. Keep doing what you’re doing!

  • winkybiker

    OK, what am I missing? I looked at both BRB and LD. They are just strings of nice (if slightly cliche) photographs, many of which are of the not-unattractive “babe”, Adrienne. Where is all the empowerment and stuff that everyone is gushing about? I feel like there’s a lot more to this than I have seen. I mean that literally, not figuratively. Are there any pieces written by Adrienne that are published? Anything that isn’t just photos?

    • Ginger

      IMO the empowerment comes from A’s honesty. If you follow her social accounts and read the captions, it’s all about how sometimes riding or being this “bike person” can come with a whole lot of pressure to be riding all the time and be fast. I really relate to this as a woman in the bike industry, this constant pressure to be riding all the time. But the fact is, sometimes you don’t feel like riding, sometimes you are too busy and your fitness lags, sometimes you are the slowest of the group. Sometimes real life sets in, like motherhood with its ups and downs, and that takes precedence. So it’s this amazing, beautiful space where it’s ok to admit your weaknesses that are usually brushed under the rug when it comes to conversations about cycling. She doesn’t need to be publishing long form articles to be carving out her own space in the instagram world of cycling (which can be both bro-y and focused on the objectification of women). She’s just herself and it’s refreshing and honest and necessary. That is enough.

    • Wily_Quixote

      Call me cynical but when empowerment and sales of a product go together I wonder how much is branding.

      Aung San Suu Kyi is empowering. This looks like advertorial.

      • The Babes Ride Bikes IG account is pretty cool and I do think some women are taking the term ‘babe’ and looking to own it and use that hashtag as a way to connect and reinforce.
        The LotDeux account seems to be an over stylised construct of life where close ups of her butt or bikini posts will get 2-3 times the number of likes as a hilarious Napoleon Dynamite-TDU meme or non-provocative posts will get. I wonder how many of the 35k followers are just waiting for the next salacious pic.

        • Wily_Quixote

          ‘. I wonder how many of the 35k followers are just waiting for the next salacious pic.’

          A ‘mission to empower more women to ride bikes’. would be more convincing without the softcore , I think.

      • Brodie Chapman

        The bike industry literally exists off branding and marketing trends…its bikes….not politics…hardly comparable.

        • Wily_Quixote

          Well, yes, my point entirely. The ’empowerment’ is just branding and marketing


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