Over the past few weeks I've been contributing articles to Sydney Cyclist as this site has a very strong community many of whom offer responses and more information. This is a great example of when social media works really well!
The first article: The Big issues: helmet hair was in response to an article in Australian Cyclist which featured "Portraits of Women in Cycling. In this article I asked for four volunteers to test the new crochet beanies I've developed for CultureCycle. I was delighted to receive a large amount of feedback and posted a repsonse, Helmet Hair, who knew? on this blog. I'm pleased to say that the four test beanies are now ïn the field"and I'm looking forward to feedback. I've already received this lovely image from @cubbieberry and look forward to more!
A few days later I wrote another post Dear CycleChic:Does my head look fat in this helmet? where I suggested that if I believed everything I'd read that week, the barriers to cycling were greater for women. I have received 106 comments to date (10 July 2011). As you would expect, the comments ranged over many subjects but when it strayed into surreptitious photography, things got a little awkward so I wrote another post which I have uploaded to this site. "The power of social networks: cycling, photography and unsuspecting young ladies.
The posting took an in incident from my early teenage years and embellished it quite a bit to offer some thoughts into the subjects which had been raised. I tried to use humour to reinforce what I consider to be some of the difficult issues associated with not receiving consent when publishing photos online. Here are the issues which underpinned the post
- fear - the issue of not gaining consent is not based on fear
- culture - what one person finds culturally appropriate may be considered completely inappropriate in other cultures
- social networks - information can spread quickly, whether online or offline
- consent - it's not that difficult to ask for consent, in fact in some professions, you can get into very big trouble for not doing so
- consequence - one person's inclusive photo is another's identification of a location which they would rather not be revealed.
As I mentioned, I tried to take these five issues and present them in a humorous way. Scenario 2, for instance, was entirely fictional but could well be the type of discussion someone might have if an image of them appeared online without their consent.
I can see how the promotion of a CycleChic" has many positives, particularly for women.Offering multiple views of cycling is a fantastic way of getting people to think about cycling as a normal part of our everyday lives. With so many articles focusing on cycling at the moment, it's encouraging to see many perspectives.
Any thoughts would be appreciated! In the meantime, only a week to go before we launch the range of reflective cyclewear. Exciting and busy times!