Tag Archives: grid girls

There’s no hypocrisy in putting grid girls out of work

Formula 1 recently announced that they would no longer have scantily clad women acting as “grid girls” during races. This seems like a no-brainer to me, but there has been a wave of backlash against the decision. The main argument against it appears to be this:

These women have chosen to use their looks to make money, which is their free choice. And now pressure from a bunch of angry feminists has made them lose their jobs. So much for respecting women’s choices. 

Variations of this argument have recently appeared in the Mail, Mirror, Metro and Times.

And it is a terrible argument.

It wrongly assumes that feminists must support a woman’s right to be paraded for her looks on whatever platform she chooses.

But this just isn’t true. Imagine if Prime Ministers Questions decided that, to raise their viewership, a woman would introduce proceedings every week in her underwear. That would be absurd, whether it gave a job to a young woman or not. People don’t have a god-given right to dress in a sexualised way to advertise a brand. Feminists aren’t hypocrites if they don’t support giving people such a platform.

When brands like Formula One promote Grid Girls in the way that they do, it has damaging effects on other women and on society. It implies that women should be seen as decoration – only relevant for their looks – while the male drivers are heralded for their sporting ability. What kind of message does that send to young girls who see them on TV? This isn’t the same as being anti-sex, or saying that women shouldn’t be able to dress how they like in their everyday lives. It’s about context. Why should there be a platform for parading half-naked women during a race? How is that relevant to sport? 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments
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