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I just got an email from a reader who felt that we had posted too many positive reviews lately. She said she missed my rants and was starting to wonder if I wasn’t getting paid to post postive reviews. Very flattering, but I don’t get paid for reviews, really I don’t. It’s not as if I can’t be bought; it’s just that no one has tried yet. I had just turned over a new, less prickly leaf, thinking that my gear experiences had mellowed me enough that I wasn’t taking the downside of each piece of gear personally. I was trying to focus on the positive and not be such a nitpicker. Turns out – people don’t like that! My public likes my hate-ons. Who woulda thunk?

So I cast about for some complete crap gear that I could write about. Luckily I had just gone bike shorts shopping so boy, do I have some commentary that will blister your computer screen. My wrath shall fall on the Fox Diva short, which after a day of bike short shopping stands out in my mind in large part due to its stupid name. My Gearguy even pointed it out in the shop and snickered, knowing that I would fly into an entertaining(for him) rage in the middle of the store about how manufacturers can’t figure out how to name women’s items anything but DIVA. I’ve already posted about this here and here. But it hasn’t gotten through to the industry so here we go again.

People, it is a red neon sign that you are not trying hard enough to develop your women’s market if DIVA is the only name you can come up with. A Diva is, in fact, a horrible person; a demanding, pushy, imperious bitch. Why do you name your gear after such a person? Is this what you think women are? For the record, I do know that the word “diva” has more than one connotation but I’m not buying that gear is named after a “female singer of outstanding talent” and nobody really thinks of a diva as a “goddess” any more. Even if they did, it’s an extremely over-used name. If I wanted to I could wear Diva ski boots and Diva bike shorts, carry Diva ski and hiking poles, hook a Diva wrench kit on my bike, put a Diva bike saddle on it too (it’s spelled Deva in that case but I am NOT FOOLED); wear Diva gloves, ride a Diva snowboard with Diva bindings, click into Diva skis, put on a Diva shirt and Diva socks; the list goes on and on. Stop it, industry! Put some thought into these things or just don’t bother.

So. Anyway. The shorts. Lately I’ve been envious of the cool baggy shorts the freeride girls are all wearing on the MTB trails. My staple spandex seems really quite lame at times and I feel like the odd woman out. I had the idea to go and buy some cool baggy shorts so I would feel more stylin’ on the mountain. This of course necessitated trips to various bike shops, which can be not nearly as fun as it sounds if you are female. I might save that discussion for another time (though I already have it written up but was waffling about posting it for fear of being too negative. Good thing my readers straightened me out – look for that one soon) but needless to say it was a frustrating day. Finally I gave up on the local places and headed to the big conglomorate which to its credit had a rather decent selection of women’s bike gear. I grabbed one of every style of baggy shorts and went to try them on only to find that not a single one fit remotely decently.

Is my body that weird? Is this really that hard? Is there a bike short conspiracy? I really don’t know but there has to be a reason. I tried on 6 pairs of shorts and NONE of them fit, but I’m picking on the Diva because not only does it have a sucky name, but it had by far the WORST fit of all. I’ll just come out and give you the stats; I’m a 5’5” size 6. This means I can buy a 6 or a small and I’m usually OK with the outcome. It also means I have size 4s in the closet that fit fine and size 8s that fit fine. That’s the way sizes are – inconsistent. So I’m OK with a little getting-to-know-you size surprize when trying a new brand. I am also over 35 so when the spandex comes into play I tend to bump things into the medium range just to be safe. Since women’s bike shorts only come in S, M, L it seems to be a no brainer that since I’m trying on baggies (which are supposed to fit loosely) and usually wear a size 6 bike short, the mediums will do. Well. To my horror I found that the medium Diva shorts were skin freaking tight in the hips and ass, as in, not remotely baggy AT ALL. Obscenely, ego-crushingly tight – and too big in the waist. Adding to the non-appeal of this look were the inner liner shorts, which basically fit fine but buttoned to the outer shorts in a spot that was just plain wrong, dragging the outer waistband down and creating a really non-cute fold/bulge thing unless I wanted to just tug the whole ensemble down and bust a sizeable crotch sag. A feeling of dread sunk in as I went back to the rack and grabbed a size L, knowing full well what I would find but needing to verify. Sure enough, the size L was WAY too big, falling-off too big, just ludicrously too big. I did a little web research and found that the women who were able to fit these shorts really liked them even though the comment that they run small was pretty common. I might – MIGHT – be OK with a line running small, but I am not OK with such a HUGE size disparity between the medium and the large. That is just ridiculous.

Really, Fox? REALLY? This is the best you can do for women; falling back on a stupid, hackneyed, overused and rather insulting name while not paying any remote bit of attention to how the item should fit? I mean, I try not to take it personally when an item doesn’t go with my body type; that’s just life. But for a size six person to go from a SKIN TIGHT size medium to completely drowning in size large; that is just not right. That’s just plain lazy on your end. Now, if you were flooding the men’s market with men’s shorts called the D-Bag, that would be just funny. But you’re not. You’re calling men’s shorts the Baseline, the Sergeant, the Ranger, the High Voltage, the Titan, the Altitude – and women get the DIVA. Again.

So I can’t tell you how the Fox Diva Shorts feel when you’re riding. I can’t tell you how tough they are or how long they last, or what you can expect when you launder them. I can’t tell you these things because the shorts are just unwearable. Adding insult to other insult AND injury is the fact that Fox clothing isn’t made for women at all, it’s made for “Girls”. They make clothes for “Guys”, “Boys,” and “Girls”. Not women, just girls. That’s all we are…just girls. All of us. From age 9 to age 90. Girls. Men can be either “guys” or “boys” but not us – no, we’re all just girls. I’ve seen this from other companies too and I don’t like it at all. I can’t be the only woman annoyed by this type of marketing. I’m not a girl and I don’t want to wear girls’ clothes! I am a woman and I want to look like one.

Fox does make a damn good front fork but I kind of feel like putting duct tape over that logo right now.