It took almost fifteen years to finally figure out that there are men out there who like educated and powerful women. It’s something I still struggle with to this day. What is my role? Am I a future trophy wife or should I be running a marketing firm? Men are often expected to get a job and make money, but as a woman, being too engaged in my career (and risk being a bad parent if I have children) or too engaged in my family (and risk getting divorced and having outdated career skills) seems like a liability either way.
What I do know is that women are not empowered at all if they are merely sexual objects. Women are indeed sexual creatures, but not to the extent that our society portrays them. To be seen as merely an object for men’s jollies is frankly really boring and wasteful of all the talent women have to offer.
That is why I get really irritated with Danica Patrick’s decision to play into GoDaddy’s misogynistic marketing campaign. Here is a women who broke into a man’s sport, something that few women have ever done. She’s actually resented in the Indy car circuit because she has so many endorsements, but has actually only won one race. Indy racing is actually quite difficult as it requires extreme concentration and endurance. GoDaddy could be highlighting her training and story, but instead, they’d rather slap her in a shower with another woman.
Growing up as a tennis player, I admired Steffi Graf more than I did Anna Kournikova or Gabby Sabatini. Why? Because although Steffi wasn’t considered the most gorgeous person, she was a winner, over and over and over again. She won more singles Grand Slams than any other woman in history. Hate them if you want, but the Williams sisters worked their way out of Compton to be two of the most dominant tennis players alive. They will be able to look back and say they left a legacy behind.
On the other hand, will Danica Patrick be able to say this? Or will she say, “I would have won more races had I spent more time training and racing and less earning Bob Parsons money by objectifying myself”. Will she be able to say that she inspired generations of women to pursue careers in male dominated sports and career fields that interest them, or will she perpetuate the stereotype that there are certain things that women “just shouldn’t do”?