Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Women in the motoring scene.

So today I’m going to talk about women in motoring, a sticky subject and I make that remark with no perverted overtones, I will be talking about oily women, but oil of the 10w40 variety rather than baby.
When women and cars are mentioned in the same sentence what comes to mind first?  A female mechanic? Or is it Poor standard of maintenance, small “shopping trolley” cars or even the image of a model with her tits out and legs akimbo, sprawled across the bonnet of a heavily modified car? Sadly it seems as though the first scenario is rarely if ever thought of, and to me that’s quite sad don’t you agree? It’s an image that is not at all helped by many modified car magazines such as Fast Car.
Car magazines aside I feel that men’s attitude towards women in motoring is 99.9% of the issue, the “we can do it better because we have testosterone” When in reality the only real advantage we have is more strength and slightly better space conception, in other words we are better at looking at a nut and bolt and judging if they will fit, but not that much better. As I said I feel that the biggest cause for the attitude of us men towards women in motoring, we seem to see them as little more than eye candy, not in just magazines but think about any bigger motoring event, the BTCC for example, they all have grid girls, now tell me why we need this?

 Do we REALLY need a woman clad in spandex or tiny little shorts holding a board with the drivers name next to the car?  How many of these models do you think actually care about the event? I'm sure a number of them do don’t get me wrong, but the majority are hired from agencies and see it as just another job, I am in no way holding their job against them, if that is how they want to pay the bills that is their right, I am merely saying that they are unnecessary and are there just to add a bit more “glamour” to the event.

I find myself again coming back to the subject of forums and internet message boards, where people are anonymous and often offensive to others, and sadly a lot of the time women cop a fair amount of sexist, for lack of a better term bullshit just for being a woman who dares to have an interest in cars. I have seen women leave sites because of comments towards them and that is just in an introduction thread. The following is a quote from a mechanic and female member of the MCM forum who is always incredibly helpful and whose posts are always filled with fact and insight.

       “But yeah, one thing I've found with forums and other chicks is, when we sign up we either say we're a chick or don't say anything. I don’t really go around announcing I'm a chick just because it doesn't really matter in the end if you're a chick or a guy. A lot of the chicks that sign up to the forum don't last very long, because they find some of the guys here to be full on. Its like OMG YOUR A CHICK>>>> MARRY ME>>>>> BE MY FRIEND COS I NEED A CHICK THATS INTO CARS.. etc, it can scare them off as you can imagine.
In the industry as well you hardly see chicks full into mechanics. When I was at TAFE (Alex – For my non-Australian readers TAFE is basically technical college) there was one other chick but I think she left not long into her first year, and there was a couple of others on different days to me but they were there. It’s something you don't see all the time so when you do see a chick it’s like, seriously I'm not alone
If you're looking for chicks on a forum for cars, you'll be looking for a while since the percentage is low and half the time (unless they broadcast in their sig or something like that) they like myself, don't go around telling everyone they're a chick. I'm all for chicks that are into cars, even more so mechanic chicks, cos we need more of them, but you can push people into things and it’s an industry (even for the non-mechanical people) that is very male dominated and its one of those things that you have to put up with. Guys don't like being emasculated by a chick who knows more than them, they also don't like it when chicks have a better car than them. No matter what you do, you will never win. I just take it as it is and if a guy feels sad about me being a chick and a mechanic, that’s his own problem.”
You can find the full thread here

The fact of the matter is this, we need to step back and take a long hard look at ourselves, individuals can do anything and to say that one is better than the other because of what falls between their thighs is ridiculous. It seems sad that in 2013 I am having to write this, women have equal rights and equal pay, so why don’t we give them equal respect in what is a heavily male dominated field, I think we are just scared, not of change but of being shown up because of the traditional gender roles no longer applying. 

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