Mike Stevens | Aug 3, 2008

Don’t get me wrong; some clown yelling out at me doesn’t normally faze me. Until, that is, I hear the words “you women don’t know how to drive”. When I hear that, my calm collected self is transformed into “oh no he didn’t”, fingers snapping left, right, and centre.

Nearly a full decade into the 21st century, where women are working for themselves, earning their own keep and strutting confidently around town in their tailored pinstripe suits; why is it that we don’t have this same presence when it comes to cars? Does the automotive arena still have that glass ceiling in terms of respect and recognition for the knowledge and enthusiasm so many women now hold for cars? In the struggle for female auto enthusiasts to gain a little acceptance, it seems sometimes as though I’ll be walking on Mars (or is it Venus?) before that day ever comes.

To quote a reader and fellow female auto enthusiast’s comment on my last article:

“The biggest problem I’ve always had being a female car nut, is that some guys feel intimidated by a woman that knows more about cars than they do. I also have to say that females get lumped in the same basket as other airheads that have a head from Mattel. It seems a five foot 8 inch blonde that wears an E cup bra like myself, is not only just a trophy for my most men but couldn’t possibly have an interest in cars.”

Clearly, I am not alone.

So, guys, answer me this. You all go on about how you would love to find the girl who understands your passion for cars—your love for a spirited run along the nearest winding mountain road just to get a pie and a Coke—yet when you find this girl (whether it be just a friend, friend with benefits, or a relationship) all of a sudden it’s like a contest has started. It’s as if you need to prove that you’re the dominant one in the relationship by always going overboard, outshining the girl with your wealth of knowledge, ultimately putting her down, and potentially embarrassing her. As a point of advice: Don’t do it. No only is it a massive turn off, but your chances with this girl go from way up there, to way down to a date with your right hand.

Swift&Women

On a recent outing with a bunch of rev-head car enthusiasts, I was the only female there. Okay, no, I tell a lie; I was one of three. Nevertheless, I was the only one driving. Now, I know my car isn’t the fastest in the world, and it being an automatic doesn’t exactly help when dealing with the male car enthusiast, but my car is my baby and that’s all we’ll have on that.

On this night, one clever lad thought it’d be good form to suggest I should stick to the back of the pack when driving up the mountain pass. I was somewhat taken aback at this, especially when it was coming from a guy who knows how I drive, and knows that I am more than passing familiar with this particular stretch of road. My retort was somewhat childish, true (a woman reserves the right to be spiteful), but honestly I didn’t care. I was put out by his remark and I certainly was not afraid to show it. Once arriving at our halfway point, I was asked, “How did the Queen go?”, implying that it was the car—and not the driver—that had managed to keep up with everyone. My frustration levels shot through the roof!

Spending (sometimes far too much) time with male friends has given me not only some serious insight into the automotive obsession, but also an understanding of it. I feel I’ve grown, as a woman, when it comes to boys and their toys. I think there are a lot of women out there that are in my position, and also that perhaps there are women (or girls, which ever seems to fit better) that give us a bad rep.

nadine-toyoda

Too often do I see the group of token girls, standing around in their packs, having a whine about their man fiddling with this and that under the hood. I need to come right out and say it, regardless of the backlash I may get. Girls, your boys love their cars, and you need to learn to deal with that; I have. Spend a bit of time getting to know what that funny looking red thing is, or how the shiny black thing works. It’s surprising how much information can be absorbed when someone talks about it so passionately.

As a woman, no, as a person, it can be hard to earn respect in our pursuits. Whether with your work, your partner’s family, or your friends. But sitting around all day sulking about not gaining that respect is not going to get you any. Get out there, show enthusiasm without sarcasm, and see what comes of it. Everyone has something to offer to the next person and learning how to take on advice and compliments is one step closer to reaching that peak.

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