Treehugger: “Girls” on Bikes

There’s an article posted on Treehugger today titled, “6 Reasons The World Needs More Girls on Bikes”. Umm… perhaps it should have read “women” instead? They’ll probably offend more women than they’ll attract with that title.

Read the article

15 Responses to “Treehugger: “Girls” on Bikes”

  • Fritz says:

    Women make up less than 50% of the workforce so some of that 70/30 split is reflect in that.

    In general, there are higher expectations on women, also, in their appearance in a professional workplace.

  • Trisha says:

    I am more bothered by the fact that these are all pretty weak generalizations. Don’t more people ride, period, when a city has proper infrastructure? Are women really that afraid of helmet head? And isn’t “style over speed” pretty much the same as reason #1 (which, of course it’s true but should that have been #1?)? I’m in favor of anything that makes more women want to ride bikes but not sure this fluff piece is going to do it. Cute pictures though!

  • Paige ONeill says:

    Great pictures, and although some of these reasons are pretty generic, I’m still planning to repost it on my blog, as most of my friends, etc. need to be educated about why they should be riding their bikes in the first place!

  • More “Girls” on Bikes « Biking Paige says:

    […] on Treehugger,  “6 Reasons the World Needs More Girls on Bikes”, also referenced on EcoVelo.  The photos are very cool, […]

  • Dottie says:

    Yeah, what Trisha said really well :)

  • No says:

    Is “Girl”really that offensive? Not sure it is here, but does depend on context of course. It’s use seems to have morphed from meaning not an adult (like boy) to meaning young and vibrant.

    Helmet head is easily avoided isn’t it – you don’t see many pictures on copenhagencyclechic with that problem.

  • Alan says:

    It’s the people on the receiving end who get to decide if a label is offensive. In my household, none of the women like being called “girls”, and when shown the article they didn’t like it. At my office, if I called one of my coworkers a “girl” I’d be hearing about it as well (not that I would). The ridiculous thing about the article is that the author used the term “woman” throughout, which leads me to believe the editor specifically chose “girl” for the title. I wouldn’t have responded at all except that the article was in Treehugger – I expect better from them.

  • Lexica says:

    Seeing that reason #1 was “the world will be better looking” made me say “Arrgh!” and close the tab. Gee, thanks for trivializing us and reducing us to attractive elements of the scenery, Treehugger.

  • Stephen says:

    Don’t harsh so hard on Treehugger; they’re just trying to attract hits like everyone else. And in a time when politics is a blood sport, why be so politically correct about something as innocent as the bicycle?

    I wouldn’t ever call any of my female coworkers girls. I work in a office with many professionals of both genders. My supervisor is a smart and attractive woman. My mother had a career at a time when many women were trapped at home.

    Nevertheless, Treehugger’s use of the term doesn’t strike me as offensive. Images of attractive women are used every day to sell as sorts of ideas and products, even those that are as green and sustainable as can be. CBC’s use of pictures of lovely young women, which frankly I as a man enjoy seeing, is intended to show that regular utility cycling is not only sexy but entirely rational and feasible. It’s changed my view of bicycling substantially, and now I ride all the time in street clothes on an elegant city bicycle.

    I don’t think any of these photos or descriptions demean or trivialize women in any way, but that’s just my opinion. And if someone sees me and thinks “a goodlooking boy on a bike,” I’d simply be delighted.

  • Adrienne says:

    Call me “girl”, that’s fine. Just know I can out drink, out fight and out ride most guys out there : )

  • Alan says:


    I’d be interested to hear if any of the women in your life would take offense at the article. Those in my house did, and I trust their judgment on the matter more than my own.

  • Anne says:

    First – I’m not offended by the term “girl”. I’m a girl, I’m a woman, I’m a chick. I’m strong, I’m smart, I’m confident…who really cares what you call me…as long as it’s not a 4 letter word ; )

    Although it contained no direct references, the article brought to mind John Pucher, who stresses the importance of getting more women on bikes. Read the interview in Momentum if you care:

    “The lesson, according to Pucher, is that we need to create cycling facilities separated from motor vehicle traffic so as to attract those who don’t care to be scared on their way to work or to the grocery store. When we’ve created something that women will want to cycle on, then we’ll really have something.”

  • beth h says:

    I’m with Adrienne — “girl” isn’t a problem here at Rancho Beth, either.
    See you at the ATB races Monday night, kiddies!

  • Lovely Bicycle! says:

    I am female and I don’t take offense at the article. It is light on actual info, but not offensive.

    I agree with No’s comment above: The meaning of “girl” depends on the context and social group. Some of us actually like referring to ourselves as “girl,” because we use the term to mean youthful, energetic, boisterous, subversive, etc. I am 30, have a PhD, do not suffer from inferiority issues, and enjoy the term when it is used appropriately. Females in my social circles regularly refer to each other as “girls” as well as playfully address each other as Girl (as in “Girl, that is a nice looking bike!”). Males in my social circles refer to women their age as “girls” as well. In casual conversation, we reserve the term “woman” for those who are much older than us, and lead tamer lifestyles.

    At the same time, if my male colleague referred to me as a “girl” at a professional meeting, I would consider that inappropriate. Just like if I referred to a male colleague as a “guy” at a professional meeting, he would consider that inappropriate. In fact, the terms guy vs man parallel the girl vs women dichotomy in terms of social context.

    So my thought is, that TreeHugger was simply trying to be casual and use what they assumed would be interpreted as in-group terminology by their female audience. Clearly though, they missed the mark and offended quite a few of their readers.

  • Michael(the wife:)) says:

    Actually, what I found offensive was the same thing Lexica stated, being reduced to scenery. I don’t mind being referred to as a girl in the social group context that Lovely Bicycle mentioned in her comment either. Unfortunately, the combination of ‘girl’ and ‘the world will be better looking’ was too much for me. Like most things, it’s the context that matters, and in this context ‘girl’ came across as trivializing.

© 2011 EcoVelo™