When Jess Varnish dropped a pipe bomb on Shane Sutton’s British Cycling career fan boys all over world had a collective spasm. Now I’m not saying all male cycling fans are sexist pricks, they aren’t, in fact it was quite refreshing to see many of the modern Men appreciate female cycling, female cyclists, the female sport and challenge the dinosaurs who seem to think sexism is acceptable.
After the announcement from British Cycling Facebook, Twitter and below the line in the cycling press where flooded with idiots screaming sour grapes and making disparaging comments about Jess’s dedication and performance and wondering why she didn’t speak up sooner.
That last question leaves me shaking my head in disbelief. Firstly as with many abusive men, the man had the position of power and he abused it. As a woman that spent over a decade as an army reservist and having been in that hyper masculine environment I’ve seen both the best and worst in men and I understand that sometimes men resort to a base language that betrays their true view of women.
We are neither bitches nor incubators and in the army I kind of agree that if you can’t handle coarse vernacular you’ll probably be a bit shit are soldiering and I’ve had my fair share of comments while serving but if you give as good as you get to the guys you have around you they take it on the chin.
Jess didn’t have that kind relationship with Sutton, it seems there was no mutual respect and really how could any woman respect a man who’s derogatory about you to your face on the sole basis of your sex. Being a cunt doesn’t engender respect and it’s not really that great at getting the best performance out of anyone.
Thing is if you’re doing your dream job you can take a lot of shit, you will tolerate anything and everything with your eye fixed firmly on your goals; in this case the Rio squad and when that doesn’t happen after taking a torrent of shit and you’ve given everything you have and you have a track history I don’t think anyone, sorry, any woman would object to Jess speaking out.
I don’t understand how some men can’t understand why Jess didn’t speak out sooner, perhaps they’ve never given everything to a job, perhaps they’ve never had a dream job perhaps they just feel a sense of entitlement .