What 2016 Has Showed Us
Sexism, Ageism, Racism, Discrimination, are words that have all been on the tip of American tongues throughout 2016. Trying to find the line between politically correct and overbearing sensitivity. In a perfect world, everyone would have common sense and good manners and the debate over these words wouldn’t be necessary. Sadly, as we discovered, roughly 25% of the United States lack the human decency to recognize that they are wrong when it comes to treating other humans with basic kindness and respect. It’s disheartening to know that the problems we faced over 50 years ago are still relevant today. It makes a person wonder if they are following the righteous path when it comes to these topics. Especially if you are involved in a hobby/lifestyle that is primary dominate by one demographic, like automobiles.
Car Girls in the Hobby
I have had the pleasure of meeting a handful of women who are die-hard motoring enthusiasts, but for every car-girl I meet there are 20 car-guys I already know. It begs the question, are car-guys unintentionally sexist? Does our habit of referring to cars as “her” affect our ability to treat women with the same amount of respect as men in our hobby? I’m not saying every guy with a passion for cars likes comparing a woman’s features to car parts. I’m questioning whether or not we do it unintentionally without realizing it.
Every car-girl I’ve met over the years has told me the same story of not being treated the same as the boys in this hobby. They feel that their dedication to the hobby is constantly being questioned rather than celebrated. They have to prove they are the real deal which is a problem guys don’t often face unless they do/say something stupid at a car meet. Full blown sexism goes beyond a hobby, it is a deep emotional belief that is usually taught at a young age and never corrected. Car-guys that feel that women should only be allowed as models on the hoods of cars are just assholes that were never taught otherwise. Same goes for car guys who feel threaten when a woman beats them at a race or knows more about engines than they do. That is something I have never understood because those types of men are also the same ones that buy a car based on its “chick-magnet” ability. They put the moron in oxymoron.
Humans to Machines
It’s common in the automotive world to name our combustible sidekicks and refer to them as a she or a he rather than an it, because we build cars in our own image. Cars have a brain, a heart, blood, shoes, require subsistence, need regular checkups, and can die just like us. Its easy to compare cars to humans.
I’m guilty of this. I was raised to be a gentlemen by my mother, but my brain sees cars and women the same way. I can appreciate the beauty in a woman’s eyes the same way I can admire the spotless chrome bumper on a ’59 Cadillac. Is that wrong? Does that make me an unintentional sexist for comparing women to cars even though I know they are completely different? It’s a difficult idea to bring up because anyone can assume just by that last sentence that I’m just another male pig who refers to a woman’s breasts as “headlights.” I’m a man not a monster, even though those two things often come hand and hand.
We Are a Community
One of the best things about the automotive community is that we share a basic common interest in a spectrum of different preferences. I’ve never met an enthusiast that didn’t offer a helping hand if I needed it, or bonded over a car story. We’re like one vastly diverse dysfunctional family; we tease each other often but when the hood is up by the side of the road we always stop to help. So it bothers me that some people in this hobby don’t treat others with the same level of respect just because of their gender, or feel threaten because of it.
Doesn’t matter what our background is outside the hobby, we all share the same interest. Normal people don’t understand our lifestyle, so let’s not push away those that do.
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