Sitting at home on Sunday night waiting for inspiration to strike, lamenting the lack of idiotic political news this week and wondering if I really could write a whole column on that time I bought the dog a bow tie (I could you know, it’s a skill), my eyes strayed up to the TV where Lord Hamilton of Bad Hair Ville had just won his third World Championship for playing grown up real life Mario Karts and was sobbing into his helmet.
A small unwelcome stab of glee hit me in the gut when the screen switched to him rushing up to the drivers lounge through the tunnel of long legged Texan beauties in the teeny tiniest of short skirts. ‘Right!’ thought I, ‘sexist rant column, stat.’
I started off getting angry about the objectification of the women. Why, in the racing world dominated by high achieving men and one absolutely terrifying Bernie, is the most prominent female contribution being a bit of fluff at the start and the end of a race? It adds to the objectification of the female form, perpetuating the already painful stereotype that women are, first and foremost, window dressing. Rant rant, rant.
Then, in full Over-Thinker mode, I wondered if maybe those women were having the last laugh – maybe they were winning at life, being paid a fortune to stand around for a few hours for no reason other than they had been born a particularly beautiful woman and were making the most of it in a world that values that far FAR too highly. Despite the fact that I don’t particularly like it or think it’s any good for the cause, maybe we should be celebrating their right to choose whatever career path they want, to make a living any way they damn well choose. Isn’t that what equality is about?
I swung back and forth between ranting and virtually high fiving the pit girls for a good few hours, unsure of how I genuinely felt about it, how it was OK to feel about it, unsure of how to articulate that without winding up so very many people.
My conclusion? Feminism is hard. It’s hard to not only declare yourself a feminist amidst the bra burning, man bashing connotations that word conjures up but then to form opinions and to verbalise those without a bigger better feminist calling you out and telling you you’re talking a load of cobblers. It’s hard to start a conversation without upsetting the world (ok, a few people on Twitter).
The sole goal of feminism should be equality: equality of pay, choice, opportunity, education, safety. The only way to keep pushing on to achieve that is by talking about all of the things, all of the time, without fear of someone telling you you can’t.
So….if someone could just tell me if it’s ok not to hate the pit girls?