By Beth Morrison, HAVEN CEO
I took up walking three years ago and have since competed in a number of walks/runs. My walking friends and I try to do at least one race per month, even in the winter! We look for a race based on convenience, but will often pick out a race just because of the cool theme it might have.
Last week two of my walking friends, plus the Facebook posting from HAVEN’s UpRoot , alerted me to a race in Denver. One of my friends who knows me well, knew that I would have much to say about this race and the other, who obviously doesn’t know me at all, was sad that we didn’t live in Denver, thinking it would be a fun race to do.
Obviously the organizers of this race have no problem with degrading and demeaning women, turning women in to prey and men into predators. The examples of objectification, misogyny, and gender based stereotyping just go on and on. And sadly hundreds of people will participate, all, I’m sure, under the heading that it is all just fun, no harm intended.
Harm does come from races and activities such as this, boys and men get reinforced for being a predator and young girls and women stay stuck in their prey role. Females are to be chased, short skirts will win you a man, good looks matter and the big strong man always wins. And men are given a free pass for their behavior; after all, they just can’t help chasing down a cute woman in a short skirt.
This race is the “perfect” event that captures how our society, under the guise of a good time, perpetuates the rape culture. As this race spreads around the country (it is now being held in over 10 cities with thousands participating at each venue), each community has an opportunity to either stand up and say no more or allow for the inappropriateness to continue.
When I took up walking I did it for my health. I found an activity that I could succeed at and be my own competition. At each race, I never felt that I had to prove myself to others or that I had to dress in any certain way. I never once felt body conscience or that I was anyone’s potential prey. I will continue to seek out events in which I can meet my personal goals, including feeling strong as a woman. And I will continue to speak out against being marginalized and objectified.
If you are compelled, please share your thoughts with the race sponsor. Their apparel is terrific, but they really missed the mark in this one: http://www.skirtsports.com/.