The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Posts Tagged ‘motorsport’

Does This Ad Make You Feel Protected Against Potential Motorcycling Accidents?

Posted by Clem Bastow on October 8, 2008

Walking through Melbourne’s CBD the other day I snapped this phonebooth ad.

Draggin Jeans are a motorcycle fashion company whose signature item is Kevlar-lined jeans (i.e. to provide added protection in the event of a bike spill).

I’ve seen their ads on TV – loud, low-rent and featuring ridiculous moto stunts, and mostly full of blokes – many times, particularly during motorsports coverage, which is why I found this ad somewhat out of character (for the brand; not, sadly, for the motorsport community at large).

If you can’t read it, it says: “Protect your assets. Wear Draggin Jeans.

Geddit? “Assets”! Good one!

Really, Draggin – any women who are likely to buy your products are not going to be swayed by this; if anything, I’d think they’d be turned off. As for the blokes, well, the company has sold plenty of jeans and jackets based solely on their existing advertising (as mentioned before, featuring little more than – ahem – cunning stunts on motorcycles) and reputation for providing road safety in a reasonably fashionable format. Was this really necessary?

Posted in Fashion, Watching The Ad Breaks | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Poll Finds Australian Male Drivers Should Put Their Hands Back On The Wheel

Posted by Clem Bastow on August 1, 2008

File this one in the “what did they expect?” folder: Australian Top Gear magazine has polled its readers and, surprisingly, found that the rev-heads are knuckle-dragging cavemen a little sexist when it comes to their fellow, female drivers.

In a survey of 3,000 readers of motoring mag Australian Top Gear, only 15 per cent said they felt comfortable when their wives or girlfriends were driving.

Almost half said they liked to point out serious flaws in their partners driving skills and many admitted they were embarrassed.

When reversed, most men said they couldn’t handle being corrected by women.

More than 60 per cent said that when a woman pointed out a fault in their driving they “sail on at 160km/h in a 50 zone – the car has airbags after all”. More than 30 per cent said they would want to push them out the door.

Almost 40 per cent of respondents said they would want to call the divorce lawyers if their partner corrected their car knowledge in front of their mates.

Okay, I know the multiple choice answers offered are meant to be “funny”, but pushing a woman out the door of a moving car? Theoretical violence against women is hilarious! Give these guys a Walkley!

The editor, Stephen Corby, tries to act repentant and tut tut his readers, feebly adding “If they’re all such good drivers, why do they crash more often than women?” but perhaps he should look at himself and his editorial team for offering the readers the chance to air their misogynist tendencies in the first place?

Incidentally, for once I would like to congratulate the Fairfax Digital photo team, for choosing to illustrate the story with one of my favourite road safety campaigns ever:

Says it all, really, doesn’t it?

Posted in Media Watch | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

So Does This Make Every Other Single Pit-Lane Altercation Between Drivers A “Dick Fight”?

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 22, 2008

When I read in the paper about Indy drivers Danica Patrick and Milka Duno having a trackside argument, I rolled my eyes, because I could tell exactly what the media would brand it as: a bitch fight (or a cat fight, for the PG papers). Here’s the LA Times’ lamo description of the events (you can watch them here – and just a warning, don’t read the comments if you know what’s good for you):

It ain’t World Championship Wrestling, but it’s kinda fun to watch Danica Patrick confront Indy racing’s other female driver, Milka Duno, about being a slowpoke, old lady driver during Saturday’s Honda Indy 200 practice session.

According to reports, Patrick marched over to the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing pit stall after Saturday morning’s practice session to complain that Duno did not let faster cars – including Patrick’s – get past her.

Yeah, “kinda fun” – because gee whiz, aren’t those lady drivers a cute little novelty! And it’s not as though the LA Times was alone in their cringeworthy coverage of the two drivers having words; a sampling of headlines and blog titles includes “Cat fight in IndyCar pits“, “Danica Patrick fight with buxom Milka Duno” (yes, “buxom”), and “Who wants a Super Soaker fight between Danica Patrick and Milka Duno?

This pisses me off for a number of reasons, but number one is because of the rampant sexism (duh).

As a motorsport fan, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen drivers have it out with each other on pit straight, or after a crash, or anywhere, really. V8 SuperCar driver Mark Skaife, in particular, is never shy when it comes to giving another driver a piece of his mind. Drivers chuck tanties when they end up in the gravel, they whinge if their pit team doesn’t work fast enough, they sook when they don’t end up at pole position, etc etc. There is no such thing, really, as a laid back motorsports driver, no matter what sex!

In other words, there is nothing special or extraordinary about this “fight” in motorsports terms – but because it’s two female drivers arguing with each other, it’s “news”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Blog Watch, Media Watch, Sport | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

And They Wonder Why Female Attendance At Motorsport Events Is Down

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 9, 2008

If you read today’s online edition of The Northern Territory News, you could be forgiven for thinking the entire newspaper was being sponsored by a tits-and-arse-blast – this gallery ad for the V8 Supergirls appears on the front page, the news page, the sports page, the entertainment page and the ‘Travel NT’ page:

In my “let’s explore third wave feminism” phase I entered the V8 Supergirls contest and wrote an article on my experiences, and the potted highlights include getting hives from excess fake tanner use, having to keep that sunny smile going while standing under the flight path of an F1-11 going down pit-straight (and not being allowed to wear ear-plugs), and getting changed in a flimsy Porta-Cabin in the middle of a field full of race-fans. Apart from meeting some genuinely interesting women and getting to watch the race for free, it was a pretty awful experience all ’round, the nadir being ushered into the private boxes to circulate like concubines. I distinctly recall the surprised look on the face of the Grid crew of “my” driver (i.e. the driver whose name and number I held on my ‘lollipop’) when I was actually able to discuss motorsport.

Really, stuff like this is hugely alienating to female motorsport fans. Not only that, it perpetuates the idea that the only role for women at the track is as voiceless sex object, when there are in fact women really kicking goals both in the pit crews and behind the wheel (witness Indy 300 winner Danica Patrick).

And, really, NT News, we don’t need to be alerted to your “phwooarr, cop a load of her machinery!” gallery five times when we’re trying to read the actual news.

Posted in Media Watch, Sport | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »