Monday, November 06, 2006

Single Fans of Formula One

First, let me state that as much as I like to cite other writes and/or bloggers who have actual credibility -- as opposed to my crazy man with a keyboard credentials -- there are times (like now) where I like to write solely based on my crazy (truthfully put, incoherent) opinions. As this article from Grand Prix.com talks about, when you put the shoe on the other foot (or however that saying goes) things don’t necessarily work out better.

In order try and garner a different demographic, the promoters of this past year’s Australian Grand Prix tried to provide incentive to their female population. Unfortunately, it seems as though their incentive scheme worked about as well as it would trying to provide the average American male a more enticing reason to go to the ballet. (Other than full-on nudity, I’m not sure if you could find any other way to make guys to go to the ballet. And by the way, the men would still have to be clothed.)

Similar interests – not just interests, but hobbies – I think probably make a huge contribution to a good relationship. Now, I’m not saying this because I have sure-fire proof or personal knowledge, but rather, everyone I know has told me this.

So, I wonder if the problem lies within there being a shortage of female Formula 1 fans and a shortage of male ballet fans. I would very much love to say yes, but I’m half-way on this. I think deep down, media and culture driven gender roles inhibit what could possibly be someone’s natural tendencies to like certain sports and activities.

As much as I want to believe that there are more Danica Patrick’s and Katherine Legge’s out there, I don’t think anyone is holding their breath. Although, in terms of media and culture driven gender roles, maybe Formula 1 itself is part of the problem. No one will deny that it’s a boy’s club (even Bernie Ecclestone has issues with women in the sport). As long as there’s no impediment, if women are good enough, there’s no reason why any female shouldn’t be picked up by an F1 team. If Bernie changes his tune, then obviously the sexist tone won’t make women as fearful to take a drive in F1.

But, there are a few other things working against F1. First, pride. Pride is such a factor in Formula One that the organization would probably do a lot to shy away from women drivers because F1 would hate to be seen as doing something for purely promotional concerns (although many conspiracy theorists would argue to the counter saying that the FIA has secretly helped Ferrari in the past for media reasons). Also, almost every other form of motor sport is male-dominated, and the pool of women to choose from is quite small.

Nevertheless, I still want to thank the promoters at the Australian Grand Prix who put in the effort to create a sort of social singles scene, even if it did fail and it was only done to promote ticket sales. But who knows, maybe if one-day females have their own incentives to watch Formula One racing when women start competing in it.
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