Embracing The Strange Campaign By Machines For Freedom and Storytelling

14 March, 2018

For many cycling industries, Spring has sprung to release the latest in kit, gear and bikes and for womens cycling kit, it's sweet and thorny. Just recently, Machines For Freedom launched a new campaign to celebrate the release of their new kit. To my excitement, MFF did something the cycling kit industry has never done and it's gives me all the good vibes. To celebrate their new print, they have embraced their community of female cyclists to share their stories and have gorgeous unconventional women model their newest jersey and gilet, The All Weather Vest and The Fruits Print.
On their website they share..."With The Fruits Print, we are celebrating the parts of ourselves that are strange. The unexpected bits, the prickly spine, the rough rind that protects us. These are the parts that make us who we are. These are the parts that are special.

And we can celebrate those parts of ourselves, we can love them, even as they embody a challenge to those traditional views of what's feminine. The thing about femininity - about strength and bravery and fearlessness - is that it's always going to be up to you. You can embrace the feminine, shun it, completely ignore it. You can be both and neither. 

Find your thorns. Embrace your roughness. Love your strangeness. 

We do."

What excites me most about this print, is not is it only creatively driven by the founder of MFF as an expression of her own embracement of "the strange", it also embraces women of different ages, sizes, and backgrounds to share their stories. With MFF Fruit Print social media campaign, they asked women of their community to answer "What is something you love about yourself that might be viewed as contrary to traditional femininity?" Founder of MFF Jenn Kriske has shown her own sweet and thorny strength as a leader in the cycling industry with her boldness to support women's cycling, from community building, a race team, and women's specific kit, she has empowered and shown that women in cycling are badass and she's not afraid to show it with her community beside her.
With all the stories they have been sharing, it got me thinking about story telling and why it's so relevant to women's cycling.

It turns out that when we give women a voice, they are empowered and empower others. We all know that the stories of women's strengths, achievements, and impact is something we are now celebrating as a culture, however, the cycling industry is still "a mans world" that tends to marginalize women, you really only have to walk into a bike shop to see this. With women stepping into the women's cycling market, women are no longer following the traditional "feminine" ideas of "being a woman" but rather creating their own identities outside of cultural norms. It also turns out that facts don't tell a story to make a real impact (hello election 2016) so creating compelling content that shares these strengths, achievement, and impacts is one to really move girls and women into a sport such as cycling. These stories about being sweet and thorny and struggling to overcoming barriers to embrace your unique abilities and identity are definitely worth checking out on #machinesforfreedom on Instagram.

Have you thought about something that you love about yourself that is viewed as contrary to femininity?
Melicious said...

I absolutely loved this campaign and honestly, the message and imagery behind it was half the reason why I bought this jersey! I totally agree that giving women a voice and a platform empowers other women...I've been pleasantly surprised at how many non-cycling female friends have messaged me on IG saying that seeing me on a bike has inspired them to get out and have adventures of their own. It's this rad feedback loop of positivity - to be inspired, DO THE THING, and inspire others.

In terms of a non-feminine trait of mine that I love, I would say it's my forwardness. I give my opinion freely, if there's something I want, I immediately ask for it, if I want to talk to someone, I introduce myself and start a conversation. I simply don't wait around for someone to give me permission to live the way I want and it has paid off time and again in new friends and fun experiences.

christina said...

Keep up the momentum. A lot of women have the "gotta see it to be it" attitude.

I love your forwardness btw. I think people do tend to read that wrong and that's their problem but I see it with best intentions and think it's great to meet women who don't wait around get permission to do their thing.

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