Mara's Musings

Moments from a Mid Life Crisis

The Myth of Choice

February 3, 2018
Formula 1 choice

Thoughts on the F1 Grid Girls/Darts Girls

aka Save us from the Born-Again ‘Male Feminists’

Essential to the race?

For the record, I’m not bothered either way about the removal of F1 grid girls or any other women carrying signs at sporting events. I personally believe this is a ridiculous practice and does nothing to add to the sports which these days a lot of women also follow as fans.

What is gripping my turd this morning is the number of mainly (but not exclusively) men who mostly give not a jot about real equality banging on about choices for women as if lugging a sign around is actually the height of female achievement.  They are puffing out their chests and acting like they are some kind of born-again feminists (BAMF) while at the same time condemning  feminists of the actual female variety as being rabid and removing women’s choices, males who have consistently supported equality and have been vocal in support of this particular development are ‘pussies’ and so it is essential that they – the born-again male feminists (BAMF)  –  stand in defence of female autonomy. Obviously, if they get to gawp at some tits and ass that’s a bonus.

So suddenly we have all these male voices being raised in support of women’s choices and how all these terrible feminists (and pussy-males) are just ruining life for these women. One chap got quite upset when I suggested tongue-in-cheek that F1 keep the grid girls, added a few well oiled ‘grid boys’ and equalled it up that way. Apparently, there are already men in F1 who are called ‘drivers’. But being a girly I obviously didn’t know that.

It seems that the BAMF viewpoint does not extend to any of these women having wit enough to find another job. Or perhaps that F1 should maybe relocate them into other jobs within the industry. It is also worth noting that this particular choice is determined not by women but by the men in the industry that employ them – ‘the choice’ that these women have will vanish as soon as they no longer fulfil the essential criteria – youth and beauty – when they hit a certain age, or put on a couple of pounds they will be out the door. No one raises an uproar about these women losing their jobs then, oh no.  I mean no one wants to look at a chipped vase…

Maybe all these guys who are suddenly strutting around flexing their BAMF credentials in support of using women as objects to promote motor racing (or darts) should use this as an opportunity to push F1 to reassess what part women actually play in that particular sport. How many women racing drivers are there? What is the proportion of female mechanics? All these men who are suddenly so concerned about women’s right to choose to strut around holding a sign are remarkably silent about our right to choose to enter into traditionally ‘male’ careers or examining why women are so poorly represented within them.

Within a society where gender barriers still exist, how many women would even consider that to be an option that is open to them, or be able to find out how to go about breaking into F1? I know there are plenty of women racing drivers and mechanics out there – how many have managed to get through the glass ceiling into the male bastion of F1 racing?  Do the BAMFs mention any of this?  Nope.  They have raised their voices loud – but only to browbeat any woman (or man) who sticks their head over the parapet to question if we really do actually need this as part of a sporting event in 2018.

This is not about women’s choice, it is about an industry who is intent on utilising power relationships within society to turn a profit. As a friend of mine (a man) said, ‘F1 is basically Nuts Magazine come to life, it’s not really aimed at women, they are just there to act as a bit of décor’.

Some men see this as an attack on them, on their rights to look at women.  And yes, women are lovely to look at.  But time and place.  This is not about individuals looking at attractive, well proportioned young women or men, it is more to do with reducing women to a decorative function at male-dominated events perpetuating unequal gender relationships within society.  No matter how much you dress this up as a choice, this does not promote equality no matter how loudly you shout.

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