I picked myself up quickly, pedaled hard for a few strokes to gain some speed, and promptly clipped a pedal on a rock and flew over my handlebars – over the exposed edge of the trail – into a thicket of willows. It was like landing on a mattress! I peered over the edge of the willows and said a little prayer to the Goddess of Mountain Biking – it was steep!
As women participating in male-dominated athletic activities, our marginalized position is incredibly complicated. If we can do an activity as well as a man, and look hot doing it, we are told we are special. This feels good. But when the dominant culture blatantly–or even unintentionally–excludes us, doesn’t listen to us, calls us a clutz or a spaz because of something we did in a stressful moment, our feelings are hurt. We need to act–and react–with intention to make situations better for us and for other women. Then, we need to think critically about the layers of privilege and marginalization extending out in a million different directions from us.