If you’re a female and haven’t heard of NASCAR until now, then I understand, the world of motor sports is hardly commanding my attention either.

Until now. Because if you’re a female and you haven’t heard of Danica Patrick, then you need to stay right where you are and read on.

The legendary Daytona 500 is a Sprint Cup race held in Florida each year and is the playground for the absolute best drivers in stock car racing in the country. Patrick, at 30 years old and just an inch over 5 foot in height, carved her name into the male-run sphere of motor sport history when she took pole position off 37 other drivers, smashing her qualifying session with an unbeatable 45.8sec lap around the 2/12 mile super speedway.

…the symbolism of a victory in a sport riddled with male machoism…

While this doesn’t align with a Kate Sheppard proportioned triumph, the symbolism of a victory in a sport riddled with male machoism speaks volumes of progress in the ongoing battle of the sexes, and the constant need to fight for the level-playing field that should exist between both but doesn’t and not just across sport, but various platforms.

Patrick has become an unofficial advocate for women’s equality on her road to success and teams up with the likes of tennis icon Billy Jean King, who smoked self-proclaimed “male chauvinist pig” Bobby Riggs after accepting his scoffed challenge. Following a 3 set trouncing, Riggs would have to reconsider his stance on a woman’s place being “in bed and kitchen, and in that order”.

…hairy underarms and unkempt eyebrows…

While these sports are considered non-contact, female boxer Jackie Tonawanda proved plumbing is irrelevant when knocking out Larry Rodania at Madison Square Garden in 1975, after the New York Athletic Commission changed the rules to allow women to compete in boxing.

I’m not a raging feminist, which for whatever reason seems to be directly related to hairy underarms and unkempt eyebrows by the opposite sex, but I find it incredibly satisfying in seeing women challenging sports sexual status quo. While burnt rubber isn’t my incense of choice, Danica Patrick showcases the backbone that I wish more women possessed in pushing against the norm.

About The Author

After playing various sports relatively well from a young age, as most people can when their knees are brand new and running is considered fun, the ability to do so has miraculously dried up and I've now funnelled the still-very-much-present obsession into writing about sports instead and all the overflowing subject matter that surrounds it.

One Response

  1. Rhianna

    There is always going to be inequality in certain male oriented and dominated sports- but what I see is Danica’s strength of character in who she is and her love for motor racing superceding the machoism of sport.
    But it is hard at events in motorsport when majority of the other women present are running around in total undress- wearing thigh hugging hot pants- revealing all curves at the pleasure of men and for men to sexualise them.
    So women need to look at themselves- as in some way they are reinforcing this norm and undermining those efforts of hardworking sportswomen like Danica.

    Have you thought of writing a piece on the representation of women in sport not just sportswomen, but as on women’s involvement in sport both directly and indirectly- it would be an interesting read.

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