A friend of mine, Petrea Ardagh, posted something on social media today that made me, and a lot of others, think, and I think it’s worth sharing.

Here’s the post in full:

People often ask me why I have such a problem with promo girls at car events. Is it because I’m jealous? Cause let’s be honest they’re all hot asf and I’m not talking myself down here, but it’s hard to “compete” with that. While totally plausible that’s not why I have such an issue with it. Growing up around the car scene I saw a lot of these women. I saw beautiful cars, accompanied by beautiful women accompanied by the men who drove them. It was normal. Boys drove fast cars, and hot women made those cars look even better. As a young girl who liked cars it was hard to understand where I fit into the picture. I didn’t want to stand next to one of those beautiful looking machines; I wanted to drive one. So I spent my life proving to men, and anyone else who would listen, that as a girl I was meant for the drivers seat and not holding the flag, or the umbrella. Growing up it wasn’t easy to prove that the drivers seat was where I was supposed to be. It was intimidating, and scary and I felt like every f*ck up was somehow amplified “oh well she’s not meant for that drivers seat anyway so no wonder she hit that wall.” Lucky for me I’ve met some incredible people on my journey who have supported the decision I made as a young girl as to where I belonged. I slowly met other girls who wanted to be in that seat too and now it’s pretty normal. No one questions it anymore. But it wasn’t easy to get to this point. So why don’t I like promo girls? Because I don’t want to tell kids that that’s what girls in Motorsport are for. I don’t want another young girl growing up thinking that all she’s good for is standing next to the car and not sitting in it. It’s certainly getting better the older I get; there are a lot more females into it – but the stigma is always there. So no. I don’t like promo girls coupled with Motorsport. I’m not about that message. Judge me all you want for the opinion but I’m all about putting girls in the cars rather than next to them ????

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She makes some good points. There’s a lot of sexism in motorsports and it needs to stop. Even at the Fast 4s and Rotaries Jamboree they still have a bikini competition, despite the show being attended by lots of women, kids and young families. It’s not necessary. Some of the most impressive car builds in the show are created and owned by women. Cars and motorsport aren’t a boy thing or a girl thing, and it’s about time people caught up. My five year old daughter is an enthusiastic petrolhead (not sure where she gets it from).

Speed Show 2015 had a section of the show dedicated to women racing drivers and their cars. It was cool to see them promoted, and great to wander around and talk to the drivers. There were a couple of drivers who had magazine spreads of themselves on display, in skimpy outfits posing with their cars and I remember thinking it’s a shame that they feel they have to do that. I doubt male racing drivers would get asked to pose half naked with their cars. It really shouldn’t be a thing.

It’s good that motorsport is catching up but there’s a way to go. What do you think?

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Photo, and header photo by Rene Vermeer of http://www.timeattackr.com

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