Girls like cars too you know!

Let’s cut out the gender crap – cars are the great equaliser

By Shahzad Sheikh

Pagani Zonda

Pagani Zonda

My wife happens to be a member of several car groups on Facebook. She’s not a nerdy petrolhead but she knows what she likes and she has her favourites. And that’s fine. With automotive passion in general on the wane, and teenagers more interested in saving up for smart phones than for their first cars, automobiles need all the love they can get right now.

So she’s scrolling through her timeline and she comes across a picture of a Pagani. Now the Zonda and the Maserati MC12 are her two most favourite supercars. She’s never had a ride in or driven either of these cars (and sadly I haven’t been able to fulfil her wish to do so either, despite all the great cars I do manage to get my hands on from time to time) but she adores their styling, presence and aesthetics.

Pagani Huayra

Pagani Huayra

Upon seeing the Huayra, she  couldn’t help herself, so she hit ‘Like’ on the picture and added a comment about Paganis being the best supercars. Now few of us could really have justifiable reason to vehemently disagree because, hey, it’s Pagani – the cars are off-the-scale spectacular, utterly unhinged and surface-bound warp ships.

But then some know-it-all jumps on her and rants about Paganis being McLaren copies, relying on AMG engines and describes them as ‘Elton John with wheels’. He then goes on to berate her that proper supercars are things like Noble M600s.

I guess he thought that would confuse her by bringing up the rare and lesser known Nobles. In fact she does happen to know what a Noble is, and whilst it might drive very well indeed, she finds it plain, dull and inspiring – a complete fail at the most crucial aspects of being a ‘supercar’. And I agree with her.

She hit him back with a well reasoned argument, and from there things got bloody, with the antagonist resorting to outright sexism and revealing himself to be a small-minded (I used the word ‘minded’ instead of describing a piece of male anatomy to avoid offending sensibilities on this page) chauvinist.

Noble M600

Noble M600

I can’t quote exactly what he said because the posts got so vile from here on that they were understandably deleted by the admin, but to paraphrase it was along the lines of ‘tch, women, all they know about is what looks pretty and can take them shopping. They only like superficial things like Tom Cruise.’

Huh?! Why drag poor old Cruise into this? Okay maybe not so ‘poor’, but he is getting on a bit – okay, I’m just jealous really, considering he’s older than I am!

Anyway, I digress, essentially this other poster was clearly affronted that a women had a valid opinion about a car. His further assumption was that she couldn’t know much about cars in depth, so could easily be dismissed as not worthy of commenting on a picture post of a Pagani parked on the streets of London.

Sheeshh! I find this contemptible. This gearhead bigotry was uncalled for, but more crucially, it’s damaging and detrimental to what I call ‘The Cause’ – that being the perseveration of passion and enthusiasm for the automobile – a struggling movement whether you and I will admit it or not.

Cars to me are actually the great equaliser, the great leveller. Whenever I go to car gatherings in the UAE it’s inevitable to encounter a vast mixes of races, religions and colours amongst the owners in attendance, not to mention rich and poor, old and young and, yes naturally, male and female.

Maserati MC12

Maserati MC12

The one thing that I love about attending these gatherings, the one thing I find most heartening of all, is that any socio-political, demographic or belief differences fade away as the sheer enthusiasm and delight for the humble car overcomes all prejudices. We all become, simply, car guys.

And I use ‘guys’ in the universal context, not as in the male or female form. Admittedly these things are a sausage fest to a large extent, and I can tell you for a fact that nearly 90% of our readership here is not the fairer sex.

But that’s not the point. That does not mean we can belittle, ignore or take easy pot-shots at women readers and car fans. To the contrary, we need to respect and listen to their opinions too. Here are some facts to back that up for those that still don’t get it. According to one US survey women buy more than half of all new cars and influence up to 80% of all car purchases.

Which is why, whenever we’re asked on the Dubai Eye Radio show (which we do Monday nights with James Piecowye) by a male listener what car he should buy for his wife, our answer is always: ‘ask her!’

 

3 responses to “Girls like cars too you know!”

  1. kamil says:

    Beautifully written piece. I second your opinion on generating a love for automobiles that transcends gender, religion and what not!

  2. shumayal says:

    Great write up and I agree with everything. I might disagree with her as I’m not a great fan of Paganis.

    That aside, I find it rather silly that one stupid person can inspire you to write such an article. I hardly see such kind of sexism, realistically from my experience.

    Of course such people keep popping from time to time even in ‘fields’ deemed feminine in nature. Maybe a boy giving opinion on a particular model of barbie doll. He is mocked and told that he can never understand girls.

    But putting myself in your shoes, of course I would be outrageous if someone did that to not just wife but any close relative.
    Obviously, the vile and abuse is uncalled for anybody. Even you. I kindly suggest you to please edit out even the implicit references.

  3. Dom says:

    What an article!
    I am fortunate to be a part of a social circle that appreciates me being a petrolhead- regardless of my lack of in-depth knowledge. I have however encountered male counterparts who will throw ridiculous questions to ‘test my knowledge’ and berate my avidity for cars.
    As you rightly put, some ‘men’ clearly feel emasculated when faced with a woman who shows enthusiasm for what has been preconceived as a male-only interest.
    Perhaps the real issue is the lack of their male extremities.

    Happy Thursday!

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