So I wanted to write something on the banning of Grid Girls in F1. Its take some time for me to get my thoughts together as I’m not as eloquent as Anna. When I heard that they had banned Grid Girls it was actually pretty upsetting to hear for me…
To start I guess I want to say that Grid Girls had never really been something I paid attention to. As a female maybe that was the point but my partner who also watches the sport was never that bothered by them. They were just another part of the spectacle of F1 along with the boring celebrities we have thrown on the screen for pointless interviews. In that aspect they were less of a annoyance then these celebrities as they never were put on screen to attempt to answer questions they had no answer to.
Whilst I get that in a way this was the problem, they were just seen as decoration, at the same time some of the hyperbole about how it will make girls see the sport made me laugh.
Grid Girls are models. Or that is what I thought they were till this week when I found out that they are actually working ladies, some who do this for their love of racing and others who do it more regularly as a job but many who have degrees and jobs outside of racing. They are required to know a lot about the brands that they are made the faces of and seem to do a lot of work behind the scenes.
Also this idea that they are dressed in ridiculous clothes seems odd. Sure maybe they should have more weather appropriate clothing but looking at photos from the last few years they actually dress really well and extremely smart.
Sure they are all pretty but again that is a problem with the model industry so why not ban modelling? Does this mean any job that now has female models should be banned?
I didn’t look at Grid Girls as a girl and decide if I wanted a job in F1 that my only choice was Grid Girl. When I went to school it was before NVQs and things like that so there wasn’t any kind of push to get females to do creative studies that would get me anywhere near engineering. I never wanted to race, I didn’t want to play football either but it wasn’t due to models or lack of female football on the TV it was because I had no interest in anything like that. I learnt different languages, played instruments and read a lot. Those were my hobbies. Would it have been different if the school had been more progressive and tried to interest me in these things instead of just not caring?
Maybe, maybe not.
The thing is I’m in my 30s now and there was no push to get girls into that kind of thing. There also was no push for us to be homebodies or that we shouldn’t be smart, in fact it was the complete opposite for me. Then again my experience, and the experience of most of the people I knew, was that the schools wanted us to go to university and do business or just academic things. There was no push to get males or females into engineering.
I’m in that age group though where things changed drastically very fast so someone a few years younger and a few years older might very much have different experiences. It just wasn’t the thing. If you got into engineering you were either super into it anyway or had family members in the profession. Same with racing. I didn’t think I couldn’t be a racer because of lack of representation I just didn’t want to do that and I probably couldn’t afford it.
Will removing Grid Girls mean that girls are more likely to want to be a engineer then a Grid Girl?
Racing is expensive and unattainable for many.
Whilst I’m sure there is more of a push to get girls into engineering and the like which could help them get into F1 in the future its still not the be all and end all of jobs for ANYONE. You’d have to have a interest in F1 TO BEGIN WITH.
F1 is not a big sport in the UK anymore. If I was a little girl right now in the UK I would 100% not be watching F1. Its hard to follow unless you have Sky Sports and my family upbringing we wouldn’t have Sky Sports. They like to make out its still a giant spectacle but it isn’t. It isn’t a highlight in any calendar with or without Lewis Hamilton winning.
Plus I love the stats in F1. I love learning about where drivers come from and the success they have as well as teams. If growing up the representation was Suzie Wolff, I’m sorry but I wouldn’t have been impressed and want to grow up to be like her. F1 and Motorsport in general don’t really tell you about the women that do REALLY well in racing, and there are many who do, you are just meant to feel proud that a woman is there. That along with banning Grid Girls just smacks of women being patted on the head and told we should be happy for what we get.
There is nothing degrading about Grid Girls. Maybe instead of banning them you should actually explain to the world their actual job? Actually make them important and show what they do? Instead of telling the world that girls will look at pretty women and not be interested in racing maybe do something to grow interest in the sport, engineering, business and reporting at a grass root level and let women who grow up and decide that they want to be models and would like to do jobs like being Grid Girls the choice as well?
Stop telling women what is and isn’t degrading to them?
What Grid Girls might have been in the past and what they seem to be now according to their own words on Twitter/Instagram the last few days seems to be worlds apart but there are a lot of people who seem to be angry that pretty women have to stand around doing a job they actually want to do. There isn’t some evil Grid Girl Ring operating in Motorsport, they aren’t forced to do things against their will or brainwashed into anything. They are normal women doing a job they seem to love to do.
I actually like the idea of having kids involved as well, it’ll help a good deal, but why ban Grid Girls? Why can’t bother go hand in hand? If its about the fact that they are too pretty or wear inappropriate clothing why the hell not just hire a more open group and put them in team gears or suits? Why take away a paid job from women who enjoy doing something, you can have Grid Girls and Grid Kids, hell why not have Grid Boys whilst your at it? Maybe actually tap into that whole its for everyone feel to it?
I know many female F1 fans and never in my life have I met one that said the reason they didn’t go into F1 was because of Grid Girls. In fact some absolutely adore them and treat them like models, which is basically what the majority of us see them as, and others filter them out.
Banning Grid Girls to me felt like being told I don’t know what the problem is and that F1 is fixing a problem that they don’t really know the problem too but in this climate its easy to be congratulated for removing sexist ideas that if they just explained what Grid Girls did and maybe made a few rule changes for them wouldn’t come across as sexist at all.
For the first time ever I feel that anger Anna has when it comes to the Women’s Revolution in WWE. It smacks of a company wanting its back patted for getting rid of a problem they themselves created but in actuality taking away from women who have fought hard to get to where they are, ignored history and in this case, not WWE’s I have no real idea about it other then what Anna has told me, taken away jobs from women for their best interests.
I do not in any way buy that women turn F1 off because of Grid Girls.
I do not think the removal of Grid Girls will increase female interest in F1 or working in the series.
For those who say its sexist and demeaning I really want to know what is the difference between this and modelling?
I’d really like to know how many people who are so happy about this have seen what Grid Girls have said about the ban and whether they have changed their minds or believe the women should get over it.