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Sexism is still around... - Equiraptor's Journal
Sexism is still around...
Some things really bother me. One of these things is the sexism I encounter in my daily life.

I don't feel I'm an extremist about this. There are some things that could be seen as "sexism" that I choose to interpret as "being polite" or "fair generalizations." An example of being polite? Holding a door open for me. It bugs me a bit when a guy holds a door for me, but won't let me hold a door for him. But, meh, he's trying to be polite, not insulting. I get that, and I appreciate it.

So what do I consider a "fair generalization"? When I'm sitting next to Nugget at a track event and people see he's driving a 911 and in yellow. They ask if I have my own car, if I'm in green or blue (green and blue are the less experienced groups. Yellow and red are more experienced). They assume I'm the less-interested wife or girlfriend. That's fair - most of the women who show up with boyfriends and husbands are less interested, have less experience, have less enthusiasm, are slower. They don't treat me like I'm less of a person for it, and they're pretty much universally pleased when Nugget tells them I'm faster than him.

So what examples of sexism do bother me? Here's an example. This was part of a thread on a Porsche forum. The original poster had just bought a 911 that was some distance away. He and his wife were going to pick up the car and drive it home. A commenter responds:
Great to hear that you took the various advice rendered and "did a deal", and since you mentioned your wife was going to go along for pick up, I can't resist giving you a little more "insightful and experienced" purchasing advice (since you haven't signed the papers)...switch to PDK and it will make future Porsche purchases a lot easier since, with PDK, your wife will buy into the whole experience a lot sooner (I have 3 speeds and one PDK..so I have nothing against 6 speed). Yes, there will be future cars, because one a 911 driver..always a 911 driver.
The original poster had never made a comment, anywhere, that implied his wife as uncomfortable driving a manual or that she would prefer an automatically-shifting car. PDK is a "dual clutch" transmission, where the computer handles the clutches. The transmission can be in an automatic mode where it drives like any other automatic transmission, or it can be put into manual mode where it's essentially a paddle shifted manual.

Nugget, bothered by the commenter's apparent unfair generalization, comments, "Why would that be the case?" The response:
They don't have to go through the intimidation of learning "heel and toe" to balance the car and extract the performance. Just insights from my wife who has done the PSDS Masters program..and wanted a Carrera to practice on.
So, what, learning heel-toe is too much for a woman, but a man can handle it? Women need men to buy the fancy PDK cars for them so that they don't have to be intimidated by those three scary pedals down there? What are we, children?

Yeah, I'm insulted and pissed. But I try to calm myself and reason with the guy. Maybe he just doesn't realize he's being so rude. I comment:
Well, how about some insights from an actual woman, first hand, in the thread? ;-)

Nugget will have a much easier time buying a new Porsche if it's a traditional manual, not a PDK car. I vastly prefer having a clutch on the street and I get a lot of enjoyment from working on heel-toe on the track.

Please don't assume all women are alike. Please don't generalize about us. Let the OP's wife have her own opinions, let me have my own opinions, and let your wife have her own opinions.

HPDE Instructor

My main point? Stop assuming all women share the same opinions. We're all different! How does Mr. Sexist Pig respond?
I guess as a HPDE instructor you can generalize for all women.

Ok, so have at it.

I couldn't respond to that. He clearly just completely missed the point. Other women commented in the thread in support of me, but that was the end of the discussion with the sexist guy.

Time passes. I see another thread about PDK. PDK interests me. The thread contains a poll asking if you'd want PDK in your GT3 / GT3 RS if it were available. I vote my preference and post a quick comment explaining why. I keep reading the thread, looking for more discussion. What do I find? Here's Mr. Sexist again...
<snip> ...and your wife might like PDK (if you need an excuse!) for another Porsche.

At least there's a "might" this time? *sigh*
6 comments | Leave a comment
stickcow From: stickcow Date: November 23rd, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
There are plenty of men out there who won't drive standard too.

Thanks to you, I have no issue with driving a standard if that's what's available.
equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: November 24th, 2009 04:24 am (UTC) (Link)
mduell is among the men who won't drive stick. He ended up with an M3 with a sequential manual box for his current car, and he does track it. He seems hooked - for someone like him, the sequential manual boxes are the best of both worlds. They can stand up to track abuse but shift themselves when you don't want to deal with it. No harm in different preferences, but for me to assume all men want PDK just because mduell does would clearly be ridiculous. It's a shame this guy doesn't understand it's the same when "mduell" is replaced by "that guy's wife."

Yay! You know how I feel about manuals - everyone should be able to "get home" in one, even if they don't actually like them. ;-)
zenithgryph From: zenithgryph Date: November 24th, 2009 12:02 am (UTC) (Link)
That would make me see red. I'd prefer to drive stick. I like it. Would I prefer a dual clutch? Sure, but it's because of the power-delivery benefits and the fact it can shift faster than I ever could. But I like having a stick.

I know a ton of guys that run from buying a stick. It's not a "woman" thing to drive an auto over a stick, it's an American thing to like laziness.
equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: November 24th, 2009 04:28 am (UTC) (Link)
*nod* I have to work hard to calm myself down. I prefer a traditional manual, just because of the satisfaction I get when I handle the heel-toe downshift perfectly myself. If I were actually racing, of course I'd go for the faster option (PDK), but for the HPDEs we do, I want the more fun. And oh, the drivetrain on the GT3 RS is so sweet to shift.

It really is an American thing. It's one of the things I dislike about this country. There's plenty I love about this country, too, but... *sigh* So many lazy automatics.
fordarkness From: fordarkness Date: November 24th, 2009 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)

i remember my bf talking about getting some car with an automatic clutch / PDK system and honestly? it sounded like a cop-out to me. like a cheap way of getting the shifting without the complication of a clutch.

sorry, i prefer three pedals and a shifter. i may not be a racer, but damn if the feeling of shifting and stamping on pedals far outweighs an automatic transmission.
equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: November 24th, 2009 04:54 am (UTC) (Link)
For a street/toy car, I agree. But sequential transmissions are used in racing for a reason. They are faster than a human, and when prize money is involved, faster is faster.

I like the thought of dual clutch transmissions replacing the automatic option, at least in performance cars. I hope we continue to get the traditional manual option, as well, though.
6 comments | Leave a comment