Of sexism and race cars

I know, I know. This topic has been explored countless times before.  Last year, that excellent episode of Mad Men (even if I still have qualms on the whole plausibility of the Joan situation) called “The Other Woman” showed perfectly the correlation. The tagline “Jaguar: Something beautiful you can truly own” shows sexism in its purest form and the whole pitch scene should have made even willfully ignorant people aware of the clear connection between sport cars and sexism.

But I digress, Mad Men is set decades ago, the situation must have changed. Everyone that reads this blog knows that this change is as true as Don Draper’s name. So why am I wasting your time? Because, at times, I am surprised at how easy it is for sport journalists to slip it into a segment, without worrying about the ramifications of that message.

I was watching the sporting news with my siblings at lunchtime. On Saturday, chances are that entire families are watching that program while eating. There was a segment on the presentation of the F138, the new and improved Ferrari for the coming Formula 1 Championship. Here is the first sentence that accompanied the images of the new car: “A new car is like girl that needs to be tamed in order not to get screwed.” I literally almost choked on what I was eating but my siblings (a brother and a sister) didn’t find anything strange. Of course, once I went on a tirade about how sexist and disgusting the sentence was, they agreed easily that it was so. They just hadn’t paid that much attention to the sentence. 

I can imagine a multitude of young boys that didn’t find the sentence strange and that will grow up equating a race car to a girl that needs to be “tamed.” Sure enough, most men discriminate and it won’t be their passion for F1 that will make them male chauvinistic pigs but it is obvious to me that these sentences necessarily contribute to a sexist society.

Why isn’t it obvious to everyone around me? Why doesn’t anyone in that press-room feel the need to say “this is offensive”?

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