Some parts of the world are beyond objectifying women in motorsports, why can’t the pinnacle of motorsport do the same?
Earlier this year, in response to the World Endurance Championship removing grid girls entirely from holding up flags and umbrellas in front of drivers cars, in response during the Monaco GP back in May Formula One replaced every grid girl with an equivalent grid male model. Unfortunately for every other GP location has missed the opportunity to implement male models onto the starting grid except for the upcoming Brazilian GP which will see both male and female models holding up signs identifying their drivers according to Autoweek. Good one you Brazil.
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Since advertising hit mainstream sometime around the late 19th century, sex has been used to advertise a product in order to appeal to a certain demographic, the male demographic. Female models in motorsport has shared a rich history that spans many decades, but modern times have seen the inclusion of females entering Formula one as test drivers and a shift away from the objectification of women.
It’s been a long-held belief that women do indeed add that bit of sex-appeal to any product being advertised. Enter any show convention and you’ll find a host of models armed with knowledge and information to throw your way. And although there is evidence that sex does sell, when it comes to Formula 1, there are deeper problems to be dealing with.
In the European market, Formula 1 is indeed big business but in the rest of the world in the places that the F1 races travel, viewership is dwindling. People are opting to skip television altogether and watch the race elsewhere. Nowhere is there a problem with which gender is holding what flag.
And although the male demographic is the largest demographic for the sport, there can be strides made elsewhere that can bring in a new market. That means some both men and women on the grid, a push for more women in motorsports in driver and team capacity and less of a spotlight on the drama that is grid girls.
We can’t change the entire world’s viewpoints, but we should cater to different venues just to be gracious hosts. If the climate is changing for a gender neutral grid, so be it. If they prefer women, let them have it. No grid girls or boys at all? No problem.
The racing should be the main selling point. There isn’t anything wrong with that product to dress it up.