I have two sets of pictures to show you. Can you spot the difference between the two sets?
At first glance, it’s quite easy to notice that Set A presents women fully clothed while the women in Set B are barely wearing anything. The women in Set A are just on their bikes while the women in set B are posing seductively. Moreover, the two sets of pictures come from very different websites. The websites from Set A feature women who are actual riders or those who would really want to ride. Leslie Porterfield is the AMA Racing Female Rider of the Year in 2008 (source: www.big-diesel.blogspot.com), Deborah DiMiceli is a rider from Los Angeles featured by Harley Davidson for Women’s Month in Vanity Fair (source: www.talkingmakeup.com), and Chitrhra Priya is the first Indian woman to finish the Saddlesore Challenge (source: www.motorbeam.com). On the other hand, the websites from Set B simply present these pictures as photos or wallpapers and present no name or story behind these women. One might say that in Set A, the women are subjects who relate to their motorbikes as riders. On the other hand, the women in Set B are objectified–they and the bikes on which the women seem out of place simply function as eye-candy.
Why am I pointing out these differences? I am doing so primarily because of the similarity that, though may be hidden in the two sets, is truly fundamental. In both sets are real women–whether named or nameless, whether with stories that are told or untold. In both cases (as in all cases), women deserve respect. It is because of this fundamental similarity that I feel obliged to point out the difference. Sadly, it is only in the first set that women’s ability to actually ride and relate is recognized and respected. The types of motorbikes found in both sets require skill to ride–naked sports bike, cruiser, sports bike (Set A); chopper, cruiser, sports bike (Set B). Don’t get me wrong, I am not against women who look pretty and sexy, but I believe that every woman should be recognized and portrayed to be more than a pretty face or a sexy body.