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Old 03-02-2007   #1
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Sexual Diversity - 1/7/06

Sexual Diversity

by: Tauni Langelett

It’s a matter of opinion, I suppose. Should women be able to claim their place in the car world? Should women be held at the same level as men? Sure, these questions have been asked a million times before, and sure, they have been answered, but on what level have you, as my reader, actually stopped to consider how you feel about the subject. This is not an article to tell you why women are better than men, or to continue an on-going battle of the sexes in this local DSM club, but to share with you a point of view I often try to make people see. Before cars ever even came into the picture, men were held to the highest of standards. Women were viewed (and I quote my seventh grade history teacher) as “bare-foot and pregnant”. Eventually women worked their way up in society and are becoming just as prominent as the men in society.

When auto-racing began to take it’s rise in the sports world, no one ever expected women to ever take part in it. At this point women were expected to sit around and look pretty. Unfortunately, this is all to often the case today as well. But, as you probably can guess, all of that took an unsuspecting turn, and before anyone knew what was going on, women were being entered into races with the men, and winning. There is no question that men still have the upper-hand in the car world. There is, however, an easy-to-see rise in the number of women becoming involved in the sport. From Shirley Maldowney beating the boys in the 70’s to the girls you see cruising the streets of St. Paul on the weekends, it’s easy to see the sport has become bigger, and more and more sexually diverse. Continually, I’ve asked guys how they feel about girls stepping up into the racing scene. I’m taken back by the amount of men who actually encourage this diversity, for the right reasons, mind you. Says one guy I spoke to, “Women in racing just adds another level of diversity that can only make the sport stronger and larger.” The number of males who support women in racing is rising almost as quickly as the number of women participating.

But it’s not all sun shine and smiles for women in the car world. Though we are getting a lot of support there are also plenty of men who disagree with the female involvement, often being so openly rude about it, it discourages some of us. My girlfriend and I were spending the evening cruising University Ave one night and decided to stop into Porky’s. As we walked around discussing the cars we saw, we noticed a group of about twenty middle-aged men sitting in a circle watching us. As we stopped to look at a beautiful 1979 Mustang, a voice from behind us through confusion and anger at us. One of the men had shouted out to one of us something a long the lines of “Hey sweetheart, back away from the car, you’ll break a nail!” An argument arose between us and the group of guys, and I was appalled at the things they said to us. It wasn’t until I so politely asked the man who seemed to be the “leader” to show me what it was he was driving tonight so I could point out what was missing from his car, and exactly what he was trying to compensate for that they finally shut up. But as the night progressed we continued to receive ridiculous comments involving gender and cars. It’s no wonder so many girls are discouraged and scared to be involved in this sport. While there are men who encourage female involvement, we are still shot down and pushed around. What will it take for the men who disagree with our involvement to realize that women can be just as good as them?

So ask yourself this: Where do you stand? Would you ridicule a girl for doing something she loves, even if it’s a dominant male sport? Or would you support her for being strong and fighting the odds? And if you already do support women, ask yourself why? Is it because they look good in tight clothes violently grabbing a shift knob? Or is it because you understand women won’t lay around in bikini’s forever? “Life’s to short to sit around wondering whether or not it’s worth it to get what you want. So you better just drop that clutch and go for it, or you may never catch it.”
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Old 03-02-2007   #2
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Re: Sexual Diversity - 1/7/06

I really couldn't care less if women got involved. If they want to turn the wrenches, and do the same things the guys do, then more power to ya.

I'd like to see more women in the culture. I feel they'd bring in more ideas and would try new things with their cars. Not so much cosmetics, but performance.
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