Women and cars

This isn’t the first time I’ve visited the topic of women behind the wheel, but I promise I’m going to spin a different angle here, oh faithful reader (just to spice things up a bit). In light of it having been International Women’s Day at the beginning of the week, I thought this was an appropriate topic (look how current I am).

What happened between women and cars? Where did the relationship get sloppy? Where did the lines blur? When did it become acceptable for a car to be a man’s toy and a woman’s posing partner for photo shoots? Why is it such an anomoly to find a woman who actually enjoys driving and knows how to drive a manual?

So many questions, so little time.

My confusions stems from the heart of cars; horsepower. The soul and life-blood of a car is bred from its horsepower. That’s what makes a car as fast and agressive or slow and mundane as it is. Sure, there are so many other components that work together to make a car function, but for me the horsepower is the defining spec that’ll make me take notice or shrug.

Now, women and horses tend to have a special bond. My husband pointed this out to me the other day while I was at my parent’s house. My horse, Ben, is there and I absolutely adore him. He offers me real horsepower. He’s gorgeous, elegant and oh-so powerful — like the ideal sportscar with a heartbeat and four legs instead of wheels. Sublime.

Unless you’re deathly afraid of horses (which some women are), I’ve found that in general women and horses go together. You see it in movies, you read about it in books. There’s a bond between beast and woman that happens in a strange way. It’s a connection that’s hard to explain, even though I’ve experienced it. It’s all about trust between horse and ride, but also about empowerment as a woman — having comlpete control over this massive, strong beast.

And that’s where I get confused when it comes to women and cars.

Why can’t all women feel that same surge of empowerment when they’re behind the wheel of a car? Doesn’t matter if it’s a God-awful Beige Corolla or a rough-and-tough Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, women should feel powerful behind the wheel of a machine they are in control of.

Then I think that perhaps that’s the issue; they don’t feel in control. And that’s a shame.

I don’t know how we can correct this gap between women and cars (and obviously it doesn’t exist for all of us), but I think it’s something we need to work on. Women deserve to enjoy their vehicles as much as their male counterparts. And being empowered doesn’t mean you have to be aggressive behind the wheel either, it’s all about confidence and pride in your car and your abilities as a driver.

What do you, oh faithful reader, think the issue is with women and cars? Is it part of our genetic makeup? (Am I a genetic freak in the world of women? I wouldn’t be surprised…) Can we be taught to love cars and to enjoy driving? Can we build confidence in ourselves behind the wheel?

Drive on,
– M.

~ by drivingmsmiranda on March 10, 2011.

4 Responses to “Women and cars”

  1. So interesting. In our family we have both me and my wife our own cars. My wife’s car is “normal” family car and she can drive it. To drive, I mean that she is good driver; because she is very careful, she has a traffic eye, is polite to others, obey traffic rules etc.

    She differs from me only in one point and it is that I love driving fast. Fast driving is not possible legally in my country and that is why we make a car holiday every two years in Germany driving on its “Autobahns”, where there are no speed limits with my car which is a little bit more sportive. Sometimes when driving at the speed of 250 km/h or 155 miles/h, she says be careful.

    I think, that kilometers / miles combined with our cars, make also women love driving. So I have noticed when seeing my wife’s driving – she enjoys rally driving.


    Happy mileages!

    P.S. Maybe my answer was not that You were seeking. In that case, I am so sorry.

  2. Hmmm – I think it has to do with the simple fact that a car is a mechanicl object and a horse is an organic being with emotions. Cars are a bit scary because they are logical and only respond to a given stimulus in a mindless, unemotional, mechanical way…not so with the horse.
    I enjoy driving when I am on the road alone, nothing sharing the highway with me, but I am a little lacking in confidence behind the wheel of a car, the total opposite when I ride a horse.
    Despite my daughters taunts, I am not a terrible driver, just not terribly enthusiastic. A car is a mode of transport to get from A to B…a horse is a luxury, a thing of beauty and power, an emotional experience and a freeing of the spirit. Funnily enough, all can equally describe a great car and good drivig experience! So I guess I still haven’t really solved the problem, except one is an inorganic object the other a fantastic living organism, sigh!

  3. Some interesting responses…
    Kate’s in particular sheds a lot of light on the popular view of this matter, the idea that the horse being a living being with emotions can be much more easily related to by women than the emotionless and unforgiving machine. There’s probably a degree of truth in that, however I’m still willing to challenge it. Firstly, being governed by ones emotions is not – yes men, time to ‘fess up – strictly a female thing. This can actually be measured. And it turns out about 1/3 of men use emotions to make their decisions, and 1/3 of women prefer logic. If you’re good with math you’d have deduced by now that either group’s majority will indeed support the old stereotype, but it’s a long way from being a clean sweep.
    To make things even blurrier, I will make the argument that machines do indeed have emotions, or can at least portray a reasonable facsimile of them; they are those transposed by their creators. Anyone who’s driven a very wide variety of cars will realize they can they behave and sound dramatically different from one another, even cars that are ostensibly built for the same purpose. This is because the people who made them had very different feelings about how they should look/sound/feel and those personality traits clearly come across in the machines. A Corvette ZR1 is easily as intimidating, challenging and dangerous to pilot as a high-strung race horse… and a Toyota Camry is little different from a gentle, old mare in how it will quietly tolerate and forgive even the most inept human at the reigns.
    But even being an emotional type doesn’t mean you can’t bond as easily with the machine as the beast, it just all depends on what exactly stirs your particular emotions. Horses, roller coasters, cars, bikes, everybody gets cranked up by something or other.
    In the end, I think we’re still operating on some fairly stale data when it comes to this subject.
    I’d love to see a current poll on what percentage of women vs. men claim an interest/mastery of cars… I think the results would be quite surprising.

  4. […] seems to me that someone like Ms. Dangling Gas Cap (because, sadly, it was a woman driver) has given up on […]

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