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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Why a women's forum?

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    Rhetorical question. This question comes up every now and then, but it's a long time since now and we have some newcomers since then. And it seemed opportune I guess.

    So why hang out on a women specific forum? I wonder about this sometimes, because irl I have plenty of male friends, and often prefer their company to female friends. But I much prefer this forum to all other mixed forums (which usually means male-dominated) I follow, and I sort of wonder what makes TE so different. I don't really believe that men and women are that different, there are huge differences between individuals after all. And I certainly don't buy into any idea that we're all one big happy supportive sisterhood either.

    But I do feel that on TE, even with all our varying opinions, communication as a whole is better, more thoughtful and more understanding than on mixed forums. Maybe women in general, as a group, are better at communicating in writing, maybe the ones left here are the wishy-washy peacy ones because all the more aggressive-type girls have thrown up their hands and left . But especially when it comes to subtle and sensitive issues like trust, achievement, support, insecurity this forum is fantastic. Which means that even if I'm posting a purely technical, mechanical question, I feel like I'm asking good people who wish me well, not just anyone who bothers to answer.

    This is an open forum of course, so there are no secrets and anyone can read it even though the vast majority of posters are women. But I feel that women tend to answer and behave differently in a women-only group than in a mixed group, especially on the subjects I mentioned above. And I think there is some kind of fellow understanding there, however small it may be, and I wonder if it maybe negates some of the fact that most of us are in effect talking to strangers. Even from my first posts, I didn't feel that you were total strangers. You were female and you were cyclists after all, how bad could you be

    My, I'm wordy tonight. So - why are you here on TE, and is it important to you that it's a women's forum?
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
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    Quote Originally Posted by lph View Post
    Maybe women in general, as a group, are better at communicating in writing...
    Thanks for starting this discussion lph, I sometimes wonder the same. I think you're onto something about the written communication. I sometimes tell women who I encourage to visit TE that this is the only place on the Internet where people know how to spell. I find that the calibre of writing in this forum is very, very, very, unusually high, and it allows for much more nuanced discussions. Actually it reminds me of my early days on the forums that preceded the Internet as we know it today - and where, interestingly, there were very few women. But people were writing in full sentences, making points, speaking thoughtfully... which has now become extremely rare everywhere else I look (including on women forums other than TE).

    This is just one part of the puzzle I'm sure, but it's the one that keep me coming back. I love Team Estrogen. (Thank you Susan.)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Beautiful NW or Left Coast
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    5,645
    I could easily be on a mixed forum like bike journal, but honestly, a good percentage of MY issues have been women's specific. Saddle woes, intimidation, previous lack of being athletic.

    example: my husband and I both rode bikes as little kids. When he was 6 he was riding a too large bike down a hill and crashing to stop it.
    When I was 7 i was too afraid of a bike so I gave up until i was 9 and then learned to ride... carefully, with both hands...

    we both have been riding since we were little kids, but our life experience was different. (I feel sorry for boys actually who might be like me) but on this forum, regularly new women show up who never rode before. Or with limited experience. Or with health and/or weight issues, not really comfortable to talk to a room full of guys about it.

    That's why I'm here. I like the sister hood.
    I like Bikes - Mimi
    Watercolor Blog

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    Old Raleigh Mixte - Mitzi

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,982
    But I do feel that on TE, even with all our varying opinions, communication as a whole is better, more thoughtful and more understanding than on mixed forums. Maybe women in general, as a group, are better at communicating in writing, maybe the ones left here are the wishy-washy peacy ones because all the more aggressive-type girls have thrown up their hands and left . But especially when it comes to subtle and sensitive issues like trust, achievement, support, insecurity this forum is fantastic.
    .

    My gut feeling tells me that coincidentally, there is a higher level of literacy in this particular (emphasis) women's forum. It doesn't necessarily guarantee more thoughtful dialogue, but ...well, it can be helpful not to say stuff without backing up with abit of evidence/examples, no matter what the woman's position would be.

    I also feel cycling, particularily women who cycle regularily several times per week (recreational, transportation, racing, etc.) attracts women who share something in common: a streak of pragmatism. This certainly is true for all the cycling women I've met face to face from TE and also those who I've met personally elsewhere over the past 20 yrs when I returned to cycling.

    Cycling puts a person in a particular frame of mind already: you can't fuss too much about your hair, the way how you cycle, if the weather is less than sunny, you must open yourself to abit of risk, dishevelment, vagaries of weather, etc. to enjoy cycling often and regularily.

    I still think my comments apply even for the cycling woman who is more cycling chic streetwear type. They may not LOOK practical, but their heart/brain can be practical...let me cycle no matter what I wear: it gets me places, I enjoy it, etc.

    So already, this could well exclude anyone who dislikes the slightest discomfort not just on the bike (but also in life in general), who doesn't want to ever get lost in a minor way (on the bike, or in life in general), who wants a totally safe, predictable environment and everything perfect in their control.

    Cycling is not quite like that.

    So those who cycle...share a number of tolerances, attitudes that carry over (in my opinion) from the act of cycling often to more generally, about life.

    Not all women's forums are like TE. Some others have some who haven't read/travelled widely and it's reflected in their comments, others have a few women who are (in my opinion) overly sensitive/take things way too personally: they just don't know how to have an intellectual debate without feeling hurt because no one agrees with them.

    Ok, so I'm getting super philosophical right now.

    As for mixed forums, it depends which one but yes, if it's mixed, the guys' voices tend to dominate. Alot more verbal horsing around, even if harmless. More useless, totally useless jokes (ie. who has paid for sex.... was a really harmless, yet dumb-*** comment.)
    Last edited by shootingstar; 05-21-2011 at 11:32 AM.
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    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Beautiful NW or Left Coast
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    Oh yeah Shootingstar, and always the man's voice holds more weight then the women's...
    I like Bikes - Mimi
    Watercolor Blog

    Davidson Custom Bike - Cavaletta
    Dahon 2009 Sport - Luna
    Old Raleigh Mixte - Mitzi

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    47
    1. I hadn't noticed until it was mentioned, but one reasons I've stuck around TE is because people use full sentences, actual words, and punctuation. I'm a fan of all of those things.

    2. The reason I originally came to TE IS because it is a women-specific forum. I swore off bike forums after experience after experience of rude people. When reading posts on most forums, it becomes clear that if you're not an expert, you're not welcome. The last straw for me was when I posted asking for advice on potentially building/buying a fixie, and got told "you don't mean a fixie, you mean single speed." (I did mean a fixie; if I hadn't, I wouldn't have said it). The level of rudeness/pretentiousness in mixed fourums astounded and saddened me, so I decided I needed to stop spending time reading them. Then one day an internet search (for I don't even remember what), and a result from this forum came up. I read it, found it polite, and began to browse other threads, almost all of which featured people being polite, even when they disagreed. Until I have evidence otherwise, I attribute this to the mostly women aspect of the forum, and that's why I stick around.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
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    I know it's not a women-only space in the sense that men can't stalk us here (I feel for Silver!), but at least most men are discouraged from participation by the word "estrogen" and, if they didn't understand that, the page title "Women's Cycling Discussion Forums."

    I agree with Grog, and I've said it before - this forum does remind me of the old days on CompuServe. Back when people had to use their real names, people took a little more care about what they wrote. I see that here - people mostly understand that words have actual meanings, and that the other people who participate in the forum are actual people.

    I'm not sure that it being a women's forum is the only thing that makes TE what it is, but IMO it's certainly part of it. I'm not a scientist of any kind, but I've read enough neuroscience and biochemistry to believe that women are not little men, not physically and not emotionally either.

    I wouldn't change a thing. Thanks to Susan and Jeff and Snap and everyone else who keeps this thing running - and thanks to everyone who participates.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
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    4,083
    It's interesting that so many of you pick out literacy. While being literate doesn't need to mean being civil, a certain level of attention to what you're writing does tend to weed out the most spontaneous outbursts. I regularly read a Norwegian mixed bike forum, and many people there are really extraordinarily literate, thoughtful and insightful. BUT there's also a liberal helping of the standard muckslinging trolls, and you really don't need very many of those posts to wreck an otherwise good discussion, especially if the subject is a little personal or sensitive. The trust we show each other here is IMO rooted in the overwhelming amount of friendly civility we show each other on a day-to-day basis. I think that is partly due to being women, not that men aren't civil, but that we seem to almostly completely lack those yahoo-types who pop by just to make trouble.

    We're really boring, in other words.
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    1,061
    I'm in a male dominated profession and prefer their company, for the most part. My girlfriends are the same--not what I'd call girly, girls. Why am I here? Because I'm afraid to post a question on the "other" bike forum, for fear of being made fun of. (Yes, apparently there are stupid questions)

    I've also come to appreciate the unconditional support and everyone's sense of humor here.

    I also believe women are inherently better teachers and more patient. I'm here to learn from others and offer a little of my own advice, if I can.

    "1. I hadn't noticed until it was mentioned, but one reasons I've stuck around TE is because people use full sentences, actual words, and punctuation. I'm a fan of all of those things."

    I was on AARP.com this morning (they have excellent investment advice) and an article was followed by a question posted in "text-speak?" Really?
    "Well-behaved women seldom make history." --Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

    '09 Trek WSD 2.1 with a Brooks B-68 saddle
    '11 Trek WSD Madone 5.2 with Brooks B-17

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    Traveling Nomad
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    I've found female cyclists to be among the most intelligent, sensitive people I know, and the sampling here has only reinforced that "stereotype".
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Denver
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrekTheKaty View Post
    I was on AARP.com this morning (they have excellent investment advice) and an article was followed by a question posted in "text-speak?" Really?
    I can't read stuff like that without expecting my head to explode - every time I see someone shorten "you" to "u" I read it as "uhh." I type gibberish with my younger sister but that's a sister thing.

    I also work in a male-dominated field, both for my paycheck-job and my fun-job, and it seems that the likelihood of mass immaturity goes up the more guys you have in one place at a time. I think it's an acceptance or competition thing among them, or something, but I'll never get it.

    I just know that conversation here never deteriorates to name-calling, sexual jokes, or overly aggressive competition, and I very much appreciate that.

    "I never met a donut I didn't like" - Dave Wiens

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    1,039
    I'm okay with being boring then.

    This is a really good forum and I am happy that we can disagree and it doesn't turn into a name calling contest. Sure we may get edgy at times but there's nothing wrong with some good debate and new spins on our own personal perspectives. I have come to appreciate those that give those comments that are from an angle I maybe hadn't even considered. Trust me, I really appreciate some perspective at times.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    2,845
    I never really thought about the literacy aspect, but yeah, that has always been appealing about TE. And I've always been impressed by the amount of information you can get on anything, and the number of highly edcuated really smart women's cyclists there are on here.

    It's also about talking to a group of women who will be supportive of even the smallest accomplishments that I know a group of men would disparage (oh, you biked 10 miles or changed your tire for the first time, big whoop)... It's about having the privacy to talk with "girlfriends" about what parts of you hurt, cause really... I'm not terribly comfortable with going into a bike shop and telling them my hoohaw hurts or got a boil, and what the heck do I do about it? I'm sure the poor bike shop guys would try to help, but I also don't ask the guys in the drug store what tampons or whatever to buy.

    I know that men do get on here, and I know some of them get on to ask questions to try to help their gf's or get advice on what to do for their gf's or wives bikes... But I do find it creepy and voyeuristic when a guy hangs out here. I'm not going to tell them to leave, because it's a free country, but when you know that you're joining a forum that a large group of women have started and sought out so that they can have a female bike forum (because there are a lot of other bike forums), assuming that they want a guy around to read about their problems or whatever is a bit much... It's like the guy hanging out at the water cooler to eavesdrop when you're talking about girl stuff with a friend and trying to join in on the conversation uninvited.

    I'm perfectly comfortable hanging out with men and do it a lot - and for years, I woulda said I prefer the company of males. But in the last few years, I've been making a lot more close friendships with females and it's been really nice.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    41
    I'm not at all here because it's a women's forum. I'm here because in some forums you get polite, thoughtful conversation, while in others you get a bunch of rude or just plain unhelpful replies to pretty much anything you post. This is one of the former (and the only one I've come across so far for cycling), so I'm here
    2010 KHS Flite 220L
    2005 Trek 820

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    1,686
    I tend to come back to this forum not only because of the level of literacy (there is always something to read), but also because I enjoy the diversity: there are women of all ages, cyclists of all levels (from someone learning to ride to seriously competitive) and specific sub disciplines (cross, mountain bike, road cycling... to casual and everyday transportation).

    I very much appreciate that general lack of aggression when one asks a question. I don't mind the occasional male point of view.

 

 

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