Yes, it’s a misnomer to employ binary gender in reference to a company, but the “secure in its company-hood” or even “person-hood” thing wouldn’t work as well. It’s in quotes, so there.
Last Sunday, I wrote about MV Agusta’s disappointingly sexist campaign pimping the new, limited edition Superveloce 800 Serie Oro. It wasn’t like there was a shortage of examples of motorcycle marketing that, if not innovative and intelligent, were at least not embarrassingly backward and so painfully Vince Neil-esque. But a press release from Moto Guzzi arrived in my inbox this morning, making for the perfect comparison that handily disproves the argument that naked chix on/around bikes is classy if done by European brands.
Here we have another celebrated Italian brand, also promoting a new model, and they have—are you sitting down?—a fully clothed male celebrity on the bike.
Yes, Ewan is positioned a little suggestively on that V85TT, but he’s also showing surprisingly little skin (and no thigh gap), wearing a turtleneck, even! And what’s this? A fucking neckerchief?
We even get to see the actual motorcycle.
Now, one could argue that we riders ought not to be swayed to buy bikes based on the presence of particular humans paid by companies to drape their bodies over said bikes, whether those humans are nude women or rugged-but-overdressed, ’round-the-worlding Jedis.
But the contrast in presentation is stark. As a reminder, here’s how MV Agusta suggests women position themselves on and around their motorcycles:
(Video screenshots taken from MV Agusta’s video for the Superveloce 800 Serie Oro)
Lest I be labeled a Moto Guzzi apologist, I must disclose that I do in fact own an old V11 Sport Rosso Mandello, and am a fan of Guzzi’s bikes—as I am also a fan of MV Agusta’s motorcycles. Lest anyone believe that Guzzi fans themselves are somehow more enlightened than MV enthusiasts, or motorcyclists at large, I will share that I am also a member of a V11 Sport forum, where the overwhelmingly (100%?) male population has a Gratuitous Pics of Girls + Guzzi thread that features pages upon pages of chix on bikes and plenty of the witty banter that usually accompanies such “motorcycle art.”
Notably, there is no Gratuitous Pics of Boys + Guzzi thread.