Don’t kiss rider – about the dispute around the “runway” girls of the Tour de France

From the final Cycling race of the Tour de France there is debate about the need to exclude from the awards ceremony the part in which girls carried bouquets and gifts to winners and prize-winners, and then athletes kiss on the cheek. Related petition appeared on the website It is addressed to Tour Director Christian Prudhomme and the company Amaury Sport Organisation. According to the morning of 5 August, it was signed by 37 thousand people. The authors of the document were made by the activists of the German movement SHE36. They believe that this part of the ceremony is outdated and is “a mild form of sexism”.

“The girls on the podium are the decorations and prizes for the riders? But women are not so well others, they are not things and not a reward! As a mother, a cyclist and a recognized founder of the Berlin group, which includes dealing with Cycling women, transsexuals, intersex and queers, I find it shameful the fact that this tradition continues to exist,” wrote one of the authors of the petition, the party SHE36 Tamara.

The authors of the petition reminded that the Tour de France to watch the children and young men and women, and wonder about what the image of women they see during the race. The “classic “podium” girl carrying flowers, dressed in a short skirt and too fragile to try to set new records and enter the prize podiums in the quality of athletes”, — you answer to your question activists.


In SHE36 draw the attention of the organisers of the Big loop that the Olympic Committee could abandon this tradition and for the award and invited instead the girls of model appearance children or Junior athletes. Girls never see at the presentation of trophies of the Spanish Vuelta, Formula 1 and French Championships in the game of Darts.

In the arts — film, theatre — we often see as prizes for the winners of a competition award winners of past years. It is more logical. Or there are a number of sports for children, the winners of which receive the right to award the prizes. If I’m not mistaken, so it works for Formula 1. But you can think of something more interesting to attract more people. Many are able to pedal, so maybe all of what makes the Tour de France, highlight a little bit on the organization of Amateur competition in a couple of months before the race? And the winners would be able to look behind the scenes of the Tour“—offers a French activist, advocating for women’s rights, Fatima Benomar. She actively supported the initiative of German colleagues.

With this view agree the feminist, the founder of the movement Femen Sasha Shevchenko: “I would be clearer if the prizes carried some sort of Junior national team — French or something else. In fact there are children and teenagers involved in Cycling. I think they themselves would have been nice to stand next to the pedestal, at least a few seconds to talk with the winners. It seems to me that this relationship would be very understandable and would give the message to the young: do sports; be active; it doesn’t matter you’re a boy or girl, you can, at least, be present at the most solemn moment of the feast with the victors. And the message, which now remains, is interpreted even by the Patriarchal victors“.

22 Jul SHE36 activists held a rally near the headquarters of the ASO. There were present and Fatima Benomar. In an interview with RFI, she told me that the only reaction of the organization to the actions of the demonstrators became silence: “the Authors from Germany. They held their first event in Berlin on the opening day of the Tour de France and then started to refer to Amaury Sports Organisation via social media. ASO deleted their comments and blocked profiles. It was then decided to hold a rally in Paris, I took part in it. We had about 40 minutes or even hours frying in the sun near headquarters, and then we were told that no one will come and that we can go home. And despite the hype in the press and social networks, they would not even make an official announcement“.

However, not all supported the demands SHE36 or not fully agreed with them. Journalist Elena Barkawi in a newspaper column on the portal Mediapart writes: “the self-proclaimed defenders of the rights of these girls are much more modest in his statements, when speaking about equality of wages and revision of working conditions in the fields, traditionally considered to be more feminine.” In her opinion, the authors of the petition have attended only the external manifestation of discrimination, not bothering to dig deeper — to the conditions under which these girls work.

The fact that in most cases they are employees of agencies providing staff for events. The first such service was introduced in France in 1970, today throughout France there are about 400. In column Barkawi refers to their own experience in this Agency. She noted that discrimination begins at the stage of recruitment and selection is conducted not only according to age and physical parameters, but also in terms of obtained University degree, foreign language proficiency and pronunciation (to take on work only with “Parisian French”). And if while you work someone of the girls faces, for example, the harassment, the Agency often takes the side of the customer, not his employee.

Nevertheless, all the experts and activists agree that the practice of providing for “takeaway” of booty girls, out of date, and the place of women in sport should be given more attention. “Good that there was women’s football, hosted the world championship. In Cycling this is something new and different smells although modern women is good places in international competitions. And here in France, it would seem, almost triumphant feminism — absolutely it is not and nobody talks about it,” says Sasha Shevchenko.
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