June 26, 2012
OPINION DISCUSSION: Sexism in F1 or just playing to the target audience?
So basically, I seem to flit between these two on my own opinion. Half of me thinks it is sexist and hates the way the grid girls are they for no real reason other than to be a bit of eye candy. They hold flags or number cards next to the cars before the race, and the cameras take every opportunity to get a close up of some cleavage or tight skirt. Then, at the end of the race, they are lined up to applaud the top 3 drivers as they take their place on the podium. Notice there are no other women around in general. Sure, a few journalists (still young ones, not old and greying like some of the men!) But no drivers. No engineers. (That I have seen, I could be wrong) What message does this send out? That women are only there to ‘look pretty’? For men’s enjoyment? To be the ‘eye candy’? I do wonder…
I’m not saying that this is my view, as I said I am in two minds, as my next thought was,
Well. Yes, there are no women drivers. But maybe that’s why there are only grid girls. Straight men, (and as far as we know, all the F1 drivers are straight) like women. So perhaps if there was a female driver or two, she would have hunky men at her car with bulging muscles wearing a stretchy tight tank top? I still cannot see this happening any time soon though.
My question still is, what is the point of them? I’m pretty sure any mention of their occupation could get the drivers any girl they wanted anyway, so surely they are not needed for them? They are busy before a race with the car and fittings etc and after the race, walking to the podium, they don’t seem to take any notice of the girls, they walk straight past! Now, this is allONcamera of course. Who knows what they do when the cameras stop rolling. But I’m not bothered about that. They can do what they like in their own time. I’m concerned with the message the TV coverage of F1 grid girls gives out.
So my concluding thought would be they are there for the TV audience, the majority of which is men. But this is where I cannot get off the point that it is sexist. They must know F1 is not solely watched by men?! So for us ladies, where are our hunky men with bulging muscles wearing stretchy tight tank tops??!!! You could argue that we have the drivers to ogle over but since they are zipped up from neck to toe the entire time I hardly think it is a fair comparison. Or are women just not interested in that type of thing? Do you actually just not want to see men represented in the same way as the grid girls are? And why? If you are a man reading this I think I am correct in thinking, you would still watch F1 if the camera concentrated on what the event is supposed to be about, drivers and racing? No?
So those are my thoughts. I keep watching F1 as I love the race but this question shoots into mind week after week. I would be very interested to hear anyone else’s opinion on it….