Don’t judge us by our gender, judge us by our capabilities

I write this on the back of a few recent blog posts. It is time to clear things up.

 

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Some of the message examples.

The raw speed, aggression, the split second decisions – racing is my biggest passion. But hold up, I am a girl. I can’t like racing…I shouldn’t like racing. Racing is for men.

This is the raw reality of loving Motorsport in 2016, and it shouldn’t be. In fact, apply it to most sports and you get similar outcomes. Girls can’t like football, rugby, boxing – the list is never ending and leaves youngsters ashamed of sharing their passions. You shouldn’t be embarrassed to admit what you love.

Like most racing fans, Motorsport is in my blood. I grew up watching a little-known man called Michael Schumacher winning, winning, and winning again. It gripped hold of me just like that and now it is something I simply couldn’t imagine living without. The highs and lows, the drama, the adrenaline, racing defines who I am. And I love that I have the opportunity to write about what I love.

However, one thing I see becoming more and more frequent is the comments about my gender. I remember logging on Twitter one day to find a message from someone saying I only got to chat to Toto Wolff because I was female. Sorry, how? I worked damn hard to do what I did that day, and my gender has diddly squat to do with it.

Dare To Be Different is an initiative aimed to connect and inspire all women in Motorsport.

Another day, another message from someone claiming I only wrote for attention from men. I write because writing has got me through some incredibly dark times. I write because I love seeing an idea form into something solid. I love writing because it is an escape from everything negative in the world. I write for me, no one else. I am glad I have cleared that one up.

It hurts that people assume you’re sweating your butt off to seek a career in PR/Journalism just because you want guys to like you. Oh you are so very wrong. I very much doubt that thirteen year old me thought that as I got laughed at in class for saying I wanted to work with cars.

This is what came from an F1 team’s official account.

Derogatory comments, I’ve got used to that one. Through different publications, I’ve been named, by professional and respected journalists, everything from ‘that bitch’ to ‘hoe’ and ‘slag’. It’s not pleasant but you get used to it. Journalism isn’t always a nice world.

Thanks to Motorsport, I have met some of the greatest people and those that I shall stay friends with for a very long time to come. And guess what? Half of them are female!

I was on a train travelling through France recently, and the guy opposite started talking to me. It was a four-hour journey and things were great up until he asked me what sport I liked and I replied with Formula 1. That was the wrong answer according to him; Formula 1 is only for men. I was shocked.

Bottom line: the very people who inspired me to start blogging are female – and all highly successful. They do what they do because they love racing and gender couldn’t be more irrelevant. I have come across plenty of successful girls who are in exactly the same position as me. So if you think you’re alone in this situation, you are not. No. Way. Near.

These special ladies all have one thing in common: their love of Motorsport.

Joining an initiative, which is now very close to my heart, further reinforced that there are so many talented females involved in Motorsport, and that is anything from engineering and nutrition to aerodynamics and photography. The female support base of Motorsport is strong, and it is growing every day as more people fall in love with the sport. And the sport needs to realise that and do more to get little girls involved. That, I’m afraid, is a whole different story.

I actively search for opportunities, I email and pester until I get a yes. I may not have many fans as a result, but I am getting places. And getting to do what I love, which is the most important thing. And if you truly adore something, do not let no be an answer. Because one day you will regret not following your dreams.

I shall never give up until I can say those golden words of: ‘I work in F1’. Because it will happen, one day. And that is purely down to my ability, nothing else.

So, I ask you this. Do not judge us by our gender, judge us by our talent, our capabilities and our potential.

It’s the 21st Century. Girls like cars. Deal with it.

 

Helena xx

 

7 thoughts on “Don’t judge us by our gender, judge us by our capabilities

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  1. There are some men who simply do not understand how fandoms work. Yes, sub-groups within fandoms often end up in single-gender “tribes”. However, any sufficiently well-supported activity will have both men and women enjoying it and participating in it, at every level.

    Ironically, I have found motorsport to be one of the less dismissive sports when it comes to accepting me as a fan who happened to be female. Though I have certainly had people call my motives into question, or say “you don’t look like a motorsports fan”. It is more difficult to be a female racing fan these days, simply because the reduced enforcement of netiquette practicable with this decade’s preferred social networking tools means people encourage each other to say ridiculous things to a considerably greater extent than even a decade ago. “I can say anything I want, yell at anyone I want for any reason I want or none, and nobody can do anything about it, nyeh nyeh ni nyeh nyeh” is becoming a worryingly common attitude in the 21st century among many walks of life.

    Keep reaching for the stars, Helen, and best wishes!

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  2. Brilliant article! It really shows how outdated the attitude that some people within Motorsport still hold towards women is so congratulations for making things happen for yourself despite the blatant sexism and derogatory comments you’ve had to deal with! You deserve all the success you’ve had so far and will have in the future!

    Liked by 1 person

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