I have been using an app called Strava to record my bike rides for the last four years.
Recently, Strava started promoting men in women’s sports. Specifically, a male cyclist named Rachel (nee Rhys) McKinnon, who has been setting “women’s” cycling records, because mediocre males still have physical advantages over elite females.
I have been urged to quit Strava and leave a one-star review. I may end up doing that, but I really don’t want to. Changing familiar apps is a pain in the butt; I have friends on Strava I will miss following; and I like having continuous records in one place. And honestly, there’s nothing wrong with the app itself (other than harvesting and selling data in an exploitative asymmetric system, but unfortunately all fitness tracking apps do that). The problem is that the company itself is pushing anti-woman policies. I don’t want to support their woman-hating propaganda, but the price of quitting is high, for me and other women who use the platform.
So today I did this protest ride. I “wrote” the word WOMAN with my bike, and titled the result, “Woman Means Adult Human Female.” The word required about 44 miles, plus 16 miles to get to the start point, and about 5 miles to get home, making the whole ride 65 miles — just over a Metric Century.
I designed the route on a competing app called Ride With GPS, which I also used to record the ride simultaneously with Strava today. If I have to quit Strava, at least I’m familiarizing myself with an alternative.
My hope is that other Strava users will do similar protest rides, spelling the word WOMAN and titling it “Woman Means Adult Human Female.” Anyone can do it; Ride With GPS is free and its route planning tools are easy to use. It would be heartening to see people do this, and use the very same misogynistic Strava to connect with each other (I’ve already connected to 2 cool women bicyclists on it today, because of this ride!).
If you’re in Central Illinois, I’d be thrilled if you rode the same route! But beware it has 7 miles of gravel. I chose these roads because they were the only ones near me that could fit the full word, including a residential area to make the zig-zag diagonal of the “N.” Detouring around gravel wasn’t an option today, because I had to stick to the plan to “write” correctly. But if I can survive 7 miles of nasty gravel on skinny road tires, anyone can.
I also made this mini-route in Urbana that is so short (4 miles) you could even walk it. It goes through lovely, leafy West Urbana neighborhoods, and some very nice University of Illinois campus. Note that Nevada Street is quaint brick, and Lincoln Avenue is busy.
If you do your own WOMAN ride (or walk, or run, or swim, whatever) comment or tag or email me and I’ll add it to this blog.
UPDATE 9-18-2019: Another cyclist has already done a WOMAN ride!
Big ups to Rae Faba of Ohio!
UPDATE 10-13-2019: I did another 100km WOMAN ride, a variation of the same route: https://blog.ninapaley.com/2019/10/15/another-woman-ride/
- Mixes pain and pleasure
- A stage to reënact childhood traumas
- Also creates new traumas
- Fucks with your head
- Attracts narcissists
- Breeds cult-like communities
- Hard to exit
- Rife with abuse
- Hurts women
- Biggest piece of the porn industry
- Can take over your whole life
- Not appropriate for children
- Used to be fringe, now mainstream
- Popularized by nerds
- Largely developed in the SF Bay Area
- Not as satisfying as reciprocal relationship
- Looks like more fun than it is
I am of course talking about Big Data Social Media. BDSM.
Saturday, March 23rd, 3-5pm
Urbana Free Library, Lewis Auditorium (downstairs)
210 W. Green Street, Urbana IL 61801
A transwoman, a detransitioner, and a radical feminist walk into a Library…. Speaking from different perspectives on modern gender identity politics, these three panelists agree that all people broadly deserve civil rights protections. But should gender identity replace sex as a legal category? Women – particularly marginalized, imprisoned, lesbian, and abused women – pay the highest price for this trend, as sex-based protections and resources are rolled back in the name of “inclusivity.”
Despite their unwavering support for individual expression, each speaker has faced repercussions for critically analyzing gender identity, including threats of violence, professional blacklisting, and loss of friendships. They join for this event in the hope it will encourage wider civil and respectful discussion.
No lives will be harmed or erased while exploring these topics.
Corinna Cohn is an adult transsexual from Indianapolis. Having undertaken hormone therapies and sex reassignment surgery as a teenager, Corinna addresses the responsibilities accrued by a male inhabiting the social role of women, and what young people should know before making an irreversible commitment to transition.
Carey Callahan is a detransitioned woman and family therapist from Ohio. She explores the role of sexism in the rise of youth referrals for gender dysphoria and the portrayal of detransitioners in the media.
Nina Paley is an animator from Urbana, best known for feature films Sita Sings the Blues and Seder-Masochism. An outspoken critic of both censorship and sexism, she has been no-platformed and blacklisted locally and abroad for saying penises are male.
Traci Nally is Executive Vice President & General Counsel for News-Gazette Media. For over 30 years, she has worked in the areas of defamation, access to public records and meetings, protection of reporters’ newsgathering privileges, and other first amendment and free speech related matters.
This program is not sponsored by The Urbana Free Library.
fecebook link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1089114847927752/
website link: https://blog.ninapaley.com/does-sex-matter/
10 years ago, the Free Web was revolutionary, democratizing, and empowering. Many of us correctly compared it to the advent of the printing press, another revolutionary technology that was inextricably linked to the Reformation that soon followed.
What I didn’t consider was that also inextricably linked to the Reformation were the European Witch Hunts. (Perhaps not inextricably linked, but simultaneous, were the European Enclosures.) Now we’re seeing online Witch Hunts (and Enclosures too, hello Social Media). So my enthusiasm for the Internet is a lot more qualified now, as is whatever I had for the Reformation.
Recommended reading (albeit in leaden academic prose – someone should rewrite it for a popular audience!): Caliban and the Witch