Emergence of Females in Racing

Auto racing is one of the things that many people categorize as being very American, I mean whats more American than a bunch of people sitting in the stands watching a car make left turns, or watching a car speed down a 1/4 mile track. That being said this sport is generally a very male dominated sport. When most people think of Nascar they think of Jeff Gordon, Dale Jr. not Danica Patrick. Few females have been involved up until very recently. But recently more and more females are emerging into the sport. Most notably Danica Patrick has entered the world in Nascar and has been teh first woman ever to qualify on the pole. She recently qualified the pole for the Daytona 500. During the race she led 5 laps and finished 8 becoming the first woman ever to do both and the first woman to finish top 10 at Daytona.

Now all this wouldnt be weird except that in the American society today, even though times are changing and women are becoming more independent some people still hold on to the idea that women are supposed to stay home take care of the kids and take care of the house. The image comes to mind of the 1960s nuclear family where the mother is baking apple pie while the son and father are playing catch in the backyard behind the white picket fence. Its interesting to see the change in society and the change in woman’s roles.

Danica patrick is not the only woman to emerge in racing. The force daughters of legendary drag racer John Force have also entered racing. Ashley Force and Courntey Force have been extremely successful in top fuel dragsters as well as funny car dragsters.

The automotive industry in general is an extremely male dominated sport with few female participants but its interesting to see even at the grassroots level as well as the top the emergence of more and more females in racing. I work in the automotive industry and most women who are part of the scene are characterized as being kind of there for the guys or the attention, once those females are weeded out its interesting seeing other women take part in the industry. Weather it being a technician at a dealership, or a grassroots racer on friday nights at the local drag strip. It goes against what many Americans see as a socially acceptable gender role for women. Most women are thought of as being all into clothes, makeup, and fashion, not oil, grease and rubber. To me this illustrates the changing demographic for women in American society today.

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One Response to Emergence of Females in Racing

  1. I don’t think the issue here is traditional gender roles or men who think women should be at home in the kitchen. I think it’s about competition and some men have issues about losing to a woman. I’m sure Danica Patrick has experienced a lot of pressure to stay out of a male dominated past time, but you never hear her talk about it. Perhaps she feels like if she’s not allowed to rock the boat if she wants to keep her lucrative contracts?

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