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Time for a spot of toxic masculinity

As we have seen recently, Formula 1 has decided to ban the practice of young ladies parading in the grid at the start of a motor race, on the grounds that such behaviour no longer has a place in the sport. Come to that, why not just ban very attractive people from sports events and moments such as parading in front completely, just so to protect the feelings of those less fortunately endowed by Mother Nature? The US tradition of cheerleaders clearly has to go. And if a bunch of people want to lead out footballers at a cup final, make surethey are either very young, old, and preferably covered up completely.) A number of women have been angered by the move.

Well, since modern race cars use engines that make less of a noise, presumably as all part of the kinder, gentler age we are supposed to enjoy, this all makes sense. I personally think that this doesn’t go far enough: how about curbing speeds in F1 to, say, 30 mph, so as to encourage more responsible use of scarce resources? And should all motor racing fans be forced to attend some sort of self-awareness course about the need to not objectify people as sex objects, or even get a mild arousal from seeing attractive members of the opposite sex? (OK, sarcasm alert.)

In the meantime, for those like me who will be visiting Le Mans in France this June, here is reminder of what this raucous motor racing is all about. Check out this video of a Ferrari 312 PB works car, dating from the early 1970s. The sound it makes is simply fabulous.

I don’t know if Le Mans has attractive women parading near the cars this year (it has in years gone by), but this is France, and for all its faults, some old traditions linger on. But for how long? I cannot help but wonder whether, in the case of F1 (the endurance race series of which Le Mans is a part is not in the same category) cultural considerations have played a part. F1 has been held in places such as Malaysia and Abu Dhabi, and the Muslim populations, with oil-wealth in their hands, may have argued for a ban at least in their jurisdictions. UBS, the Swiss bank, is at the moment global sponsor of the sport, but I have no idea whether the Zurich-listed lender put pressure on F1, although it may have done, in keeping with its staid Swiss image.

We live in Puritan times, and part of why I think F1 is harming itself is that motor sport is meant to be a bit naughty; driving a car at 200+mph around a track, making lots of noise, and with all that danger and sense of life, is totally against the current do-gooder mood. As the US journalist H L Mencken has said, a puritan is someone who worries that someone, somewhere, is happy.

28 comments to Time for a spot of toxic masculinity

  • CaptDMO

    SOMEBODY clearly has NO idea how this ….bread and circuses thing works.
    Is there no “studies” class for that in higher education holiday camps?
    NOW I have absolutely NOTHING ELSE to occupy my time , than actively harass “progressive”(by any other name) “Social” Justice Warriors.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . how about curbing speeds in F1 to, say, 30 mph, so as to encourage more responsible use of scarce resources?”

    They’re way ahead of you.

    Check out the new rage – Formula E, the new, all-electric version of Formula 1. Some of the same drivers, F1-style cars with no engines at all, just motors – it sounds like you’ve wandered into a race of Teslas. And that’s not a good thing.

    It’s funny to watch them towards the end of races, as the batteries wear out.

  • Paul Marks

    It is deeply depressing – the cultural decline and even the technological decline (not using the best engines available).

    I suppose everyone thinks society was better before they were born – but society really does seem to have been better around 1960, both in the United States and in Britain. Certainly decent buildings started to be demolished (and replaced with rubbish) in this town in 1960 – a Sunday morning in 1960 was when the decline of Gold Street started.

    In the 1950s motor racing was about as going as fast as you could go – not artificially reducing speed. At least I suspect it was. And there was no such thing as “Third Wave Feminism” (at least no one had heard of it).

    I suppose everyone is either a Royalist or a Roundhead – and, in spite of my Puritan “lifestyle”, I am a Royalist – let the ladies dress up nicely, if they wish to do so.

  • Mr Ed

    Slight OT, but where are the protests about the gender pay gap for supermodels, didn’t one once say that she didn’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day?

  • Darryl Watson

    Bring back chariot races and helmets with horse hair crests!

  • Harrison Bergeron — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrison_Bergeron

    In the year 2081, the 211th, 212th, and 213th amendments to the Constitution dictate that all Americans are fully equal and not allowed to be smarter, better-looking, or more physically able than anyone else. The Handicapper General’s agents enforce the equality laws, forcing citizens to wear “handicaps”: masks for those who are too beautiful, loud radios that disrupt thoughts inside the ears of intelligent people, and heavy weights for the strong or athletic.

  • Mary Contrary

    Jonathan Pearce,

    I think you missed the low cunning of the F1 bosses. By engaging in a spot of virtue signalling they managed to protect themselves from anyone noticing what they were actually doing – peremptorily sacking a bunch of young women who had become an unacceptable business risk for sexual harassment lawsuits.

  • Radu

    But think of the children. Do you want young women to feel all bodies are equally beautiful or don’t you? Do you want young boys to think going fast in cars is good?

  • Shirley Knott

    I’m sorry Mr. Marks, but I grew up in the 50s and 60s. ‘Society’ was hardly better. Yes, there were things to appreciate, and still are, about that time, but better? Among other problems, opportunities and options for shopping or dining out on Sunday were limited and restricted at best. Let us not even discuss gallbladder surgery. Compared to today, life was nasty brutish and short. Or at least nastier, more brutish, and shorter, and that’s really the only metric, yes?
    The past has its charms precisely because we no longer live there. Rose is always such an ugly color in other people’s glasses, yet looks so fetching on us; a perspective we must fight, natural though it be. We carry forward a few edited and generally positive memories and think “ah, it was so much better then.”
    Rubbish.
    It’s never been better than it is now, for all that so much has gone so dreadfully awry, if not amok. And that will continue to be the general trend.
    Absolute poverty has been eliminated. How is that not better? The great enrichening continues. The road is always bumpy, but it leads ever onward.

  • Stonyground

    If this is about sexism, couldn’t we just have an equal number of partly dressed hunky male models for any women in the audience to ogle?

    Actually I’m curious, are there any female F1 drivers? I know that women have been successful at motorcycle racing in the past. I recall that there was a class called Super Mono which was for big singles which at the time was dominated by the MuZ brand that had been MZ before German unification. The MuZ used a Yamaha engine and the nearest rival, I think, was a Ducati special based on the 916 V twin, presumably with one cylinder removed. At least one year the Super Mono Championship was won by a female rider.

  • zenit

    Paul Marks
    February 6, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    In the 1950s motor racing was about as going as fast as you could go – not artificially reducing speed.

    Today, going as fast as possible would mean going over the speed of sound.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7D4-49pkEWY

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ThrustSSC

    Thrust SSC holds the world land speed record, set on 15 October 1997, when it achieved a speed of 1,228 km/h (763 mph) and became the first land vehicle to officially break the sound barrier.

    It would be interesting from technical standpoint, but hard to make it into spectator sport.

  • Tony Harrison

    Beach volleyball surely must be next.

  • AKM

    I doubt that Thrust SSC would be particularly fast by F1 standards; it would be crap at cornering and would have to pit too often due to limited fuel capacity.

  • Iowahawk put it more succintly in a Tweet:

    “F1 2023: driverless solar electric cars silently parading in front of empty stands at 15 mph”

  • Paul Marks

    zenit – you have forgotten something (something that many have forgotten before you – so this is NOT some sort of attack upon you) TURNING.

    A proper race involves lots of turns – ideally sharp (“hairpin”) turns – controlling a fast chariot (sorry I mean motor car) in such sharp turns is certainly a spectator sport, I doubt it could be done at supersonic speed, but if someone wants to try it…..

  • James Strong

    ‘A proper race involves lots of turns’ – this is true, but the turns need to be both right and left, and they need to be of varying degrees of tightness. Not all race circuits provide these features – those circuits are, at best, second-rate.

  • Paul Marks

    At the risk of angering J.P. – I must confess that I agree with you James Strong.

  • Mr Ed

    both right and left‘?

    No sir, I beg to differ. There is the great tradition of Oval racing, the now-lost Champ Car World Series (a split of Indycar) had races like the Michigan Speedway in 2000, with J-P Montoya (red) and Michael Andretti (black) racing to the finish at up to 240 mph, 500 miles of left turns, but a race like none I have never watched, here are the last 4 minutes or so.

  • Laird

    “A proper race involves lots of turns.” Well, no. That’s like saying “A proper game involves a round ball.” There are different types of races, just as there are different types of vehicles. It all depends upon the rules to which the participants agree. A drag race is a straightaway; Indycars and stock cars run on oval tracks; Formula One is street racing. All have their fans, and it’s just silly to call any of them either “proper” or “not proper” racing. And they all have different specifications for the automobiles. Which makes perfect sense, if it’s to be a contest of the drivers’ skills rather than simply the mechanical qualities of the automobiles (not that there would be anything wrong with that, either; it would just be a different type of race).

  • John Galt III

    Hi James,

    In the US we have space – lots of it – so we can build Daytona, Indianapolis and have racing at 350 kmh all the time and any car can win.

    I watch all F-1 races and love it but it is pretty much over after 2 laps in fact it is pretty much over after Q-3 , which why I always, always watch qualifying. The first (4) Q-3 cars win 90% of the races.

    Girls – maybe Malone, Liberty Media is run by queers – how about female robots?

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    You mean, girls like drivers of fast cars? Why didn’t anyone tell me this earlier? I’ll give up abstract painting right away!

  • Mr Ed

    Even the wonderful Scottish export of Tunnock’s Tea Cakes have fallen foul of the new Puritans, with an advert banned as ‘offensive to women’.

  • Ian Bennett

    Actually I’m curious, are there any female F1 drivers?

    Not currently, although there have been half a dozen or so in the past, none of whom has been especially successful. There are a few females competing in junior formulas – Tatiana Calderon is one example – but again, without spectacular success.

  • bob sykes

    One is reminded of the Steve McQueen at Le Mans film. Which version of Formula I do you prefer? For that matter, wasn’t the Indy 500 better in 1967 with the STP-Paxton turbo car and Parnelli Jones? That kind of stunt was prohibited for 1968 and later, and that marked the end of Indy cars.

  • EdMJ

    It’s never been better than it is now, for all that so much has gone so dreadfully awry, if not amok. And that will continue to be the general trend.
    Absolute poverty has been eliminated. How is that not better? The great enrichening continues. The road is always bumpy, but it leads ever onward.

    Fair point Shirley, and I appreciate your optimism, but how much better might life be now without so much having gone dreadfully awry? We should be on our way to the stars by now.

    Also, might not the Romans have said the same at some point of their empire? It didn’t lead ever onwards for them, why should it inevitably do so for us?

  • Sam Duncan

    “I don’t know if Le Mans has attractive women parading near the cars this year (it has in years gone by)”

    No, the WEC ditched them two or three years ago.

    The sanctimony over this move, “because it’s 2018” and all that garbage, has been nauseating, but the news since has thrown some light on what might actually be going on. To understand, first you have to be aware that Bernie Ecclestone, the octogenarian long-time ringleader of the F1 circus, was forced out of his position about a year ago and the position of promoter and commercial rights holder was taken up by an American company, Liberty Media. It, obviously, has its own ideas on how the sport should present itself. Starting with this season, for example, there’s to be a comprehensive rebranding excercise, with new logos, custom-designed fonts, and a complete new TV graphics package (which, for a sport so reliant on thousandths of a second, is a large part of the coverage).

    So, it turns out that the grid girls are to be replaced with children. I can see the sense in this. Liberty clearly want to present a more family-oriented image. There was a famous moment at last year’s Italian GP after Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen retired from the race and the TV cameras caught a small child crying his eyes out in the stands. He was invited down to tour the pitlane and meet his hero. The universal reaction was that it would never have happened under Bernie.

    “I think you missed the low cunning of the F1 bosses. By engaging in a spot of virtue signalling they managed to protect themselves from anyone noticing what they were actually doing – peremptorily sacking a bunch of young women who had become an unacceptable business risk for sexual harassment lawsuits.”

    Cynical, but, I think, probably not too far from the truth. There’s the danger of lawsuits but also, the girls stood in the way of the rebranding. Not, if we put the most charitable spin on it, because they were an outdated relic of a sexist past, but in a purely practical one. They had to go, so why not grab a bit of virtue-signalling publicity out of it? (Well, I could tell you why, but Liberty obviously thought it was worth it.)

    “Actually I’m curious, are there any female F1 drivers?”

    A few test and reserve drivers (although I’m not sure if any of them are still around as of 2018) – former Williams test driver Susie Wolff, who retired a couple of years ago, is well respected – but no active drivers since Giovanna Amati failed to qualify for the first three races of 1992. Only one woman has ever scored in the World Championship: Lella Lombardi, who finished sixth in the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix, which was stopped before the full distance. She therefore scored half a point. Divina Galicia, who drove in the World Championship in the late ’70s, made several podium finishes in the now defunct British F1 championship.

    “Even the wonderful Scottish export of Tunnock’s Tea Cakes have fallen foul of the new Puritans, with an advert banned as ‘offensive to women’.”

    Gawd ‘elp us.

  • Thailover

    “Over the last year we have looked at a number of areas which we felt needed updating so as to be more in tune with our vision for this great sport,” said Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1. “While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 Grands Prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms. We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”

    Would it be too much to ask that the lies flung at us at an ever-increasing rate be even remotely believable?

    Are we to believe that Soy-boy Bratches, managing coward of Commercial Operations at Formula 1 took a comprehensive poll of long-time fans to find out what they think of grid girls? No, of course not.

    At odds with modern day social norms? Oh, he means feminazis and manginas, which make up about 1% of the general population and, of course, DO NOT watch Formula 1 racing under any circumstances.

    Zer Bratches is not a business man. Businessmen offer the public what it wants. Zer Bratches is a bitch, and bitches stampede where they’re not wanted and then try to convince others that this is both necessary and what everyone wants. Unfortunatlly for Zer Bratches, the rest of the world is not filled with cowards like himself.

    I look forward to the viewership of F1 racing declining even further, then we can watch this idiot’s skill as he surfs the circular drain wave.

  • Thailover

    It bears saying yet again. Feminism isn’t merely against (“toxic”) masculinity, it’s against femininity as well. (Not to mention child birth, motherhood, fatherhood and marriage; i.e. it’s completely anti-family). They want everyone to be unattractive genderless fat blobs with short blue and pink boy hair. They also want everyone to become incompetent to avoid being “ableists”.

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