Do you have a death wish? You’re stupid!

There are so many stereotypes in so many sports nowadays. There is a common occurrence of having several stereotypes within one sport. Downhill Mountain Bikers are considered stupid people who have no brain and have some type of death wish. When the subject of downhill mountain biking comes up, there are immediate assumptions that the person who chooses to launch themselves off of a mountain at 50 miles per hour really have no brain and that they have a death wish. The stereotype is that all of the “idiots” launching themselves off of mountains at speeds that rival a speeding car are male and they are the only ones who are able to do this type of things well and actually want to do it.

The typical thought process when it comes to those who are a part of the downhill mountain biking community is that women can’t ride; women can’t think and react fast enough to be good at riding bikes at this speed. This is wrong – there are more than a few women who WANT to be involved with downhill mountain biking and there are about 20 top level women in the world right now. They not only can think and react just as fast as men – they are actually thinking and reacting faster than most of the men who are not number one in the world. This is only the start. The women are coming and they are coming fast.

As for my own relationship to the typical type of individuals who participate in downhill mountain biking, I definitely defy it. I am not only a women, but I am not a women who can ride a bike well. I am defying this stereotype every time that I get on a bike and advance my riding skills and knowledge. I work to rid the downhill mountain bike community of the stereotype that women are bad riders. I work to ride the general community of the stereotype that anyone who chooses to launch themselves off of a mountain at 50+ speeds has no brain and has a death wish.

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About knwhite

I am a 21 year old from San Diego California. I have a lot of ambition and a lot of goals for my life. I am trying to live a positive life and make the most of everything that I have. I am hoping to inspire others to look at the positive side of things in their life.
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One Response to Do you have a death wish? You’re stupid!

  1. Sarah McCullough says:

    You do get at the incredulity that many see in these extreme sports. How do you square this with the reality that these sports can be dangerous? I ask as someone who has done extensive mountain biking as a participant and researcher. In my experience, danger is tempered as experience and skill grow. Thus, the most dangerous time is often when one is pushing their edge, particularly as a beginner when they do not know where the edge is. Comfort levels with working at this edge vary greatly across individuals, but often get coded as gendered. There is also some good work on how this attitude of risk attraction can also follow lines of privilege. After all, if one is in a financially precarious position or has no health insurance, such behaviors do become more perilous, as the consequences of a bad move can be financial as well as physical. This brings up some interesting class dynamics worth considering. I would suggest digging deeper to think about what is behind this attitude from non-participants. Also, think more deeply about how this relates to the gendered aspects of the sport. How could such behaviors still be masculine, even if women participate?

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