I am transparent in saying that I, myself am a Feminist (awaiting the mixed reaction). But I am struggling to collect an opinion on the Ban of the Grid Girls in Formula 1.
If you don’t know what they are, Grid Girls are hired by Formula 1 to promote various things, such as wearing clothes with sponsors’ names on, walking around with boards with the drivers’ names on and just to stand around and be beautiful really. My feminist heart initially celebrated at the news of them being banned; this is a step against the objectification and sexualisation that I have always been aware of. Yet, my feminist head is thinking, isn’t taking away a job that empowers women to be confident about themselves in fact retrospective?
I know that it’s not just me that has had a mixed reaction to this – there’s a lot of people questioning whether this is a step forward or back. Even Grid Girls themselves are on the fence over this. Men such as Niki Lauda saw the decision as “anti-women” which I completely understand, because if a woman feels comfortable in what she is wearing, or is enjoying her job, then why ban it? So I started to consider the implications on the women themselves and their love for their jobs, and the fact that women like Rebecca Cooper didn’t view her own job as “demeaning” but rather saw the Grid Girls as a family.
So is the ban, “anti-women”?
Well, on the face of it, yes. Denying women their choice to show their beautiful bodies is anti-women. In essence, they’re banning women for being beautiful, and stopping them from being their own boss. Could this be comparable to a time when women were told to cover up and stay quiet? It’s been 100 years since women in the UK gained a voice, and this feels like we’re going back on ourselves.
However, there are some Grid Girls celebrating the ban. Beverley Turner, for example, sees the role of a Grid Girls as antiquated, old-fashioned. Which was in fact my knee-jerk reaction. I believed they were just there to ‘satisfy’ the men that make up Formula 1’s typical audience. But when I thought about it, I realised that maybe I’m displeased with the lack of Grid Boys and Female Formula 1 drivers which was a point that Beverley Turner brought up in the interview below:
The reason, I am so behind on publishing an article around this issue is simply because, I do not know what I think.
What is your opinion on the ban; Is it “anti-women” or is it empowering women?