As we wave goodbye to Formula 1’s gorgeous grid girls, some of us are left wondering exactly how we got to this point and why they had to go. It’s clear that feminism plays a large part in the decision that lead to the grid girls going, but there are still debates as to whether or not it’s justified.
From family households to workplaces to TV chat shows, everyone’s arguing about how getting rid of the grid girls is right/wrong, but the truth is, there’s merit to both sides of the argument.
Most in favour of the grid girls getting the sack will argue that these young women are being objectified for the pleasure of men, which actually, is a hard statement to argue against. After all, if that wasn’t the case then surely we’d see more variety than just females in their early 20s with long legs, toned tummies, long perfect hair and about 5 foot 6 inches tall, all of which are conventionally attractive traits.
The fact is that over 90% of F1 viewers are male so it makes sense that Formula 1 would use attractive, sometimes scantily clad female models that parade around to advertise the sport. Very much like how we see sexy women in perfume ads and music videos, Formula 1 was simply using sex to sell.
On the other hand, it’s just as easy to argue that being a professional model is no less of a job than being a racing driver. If someone were to argue that the grid girls are only there to look good for the men, they would be insulting their very occupation. As a result of Formula 1 deciding to get rid of the established custom of having grid girls, those young ladies will now lose the job that they not only loved doing, but may also have relied on. Is it a victory for feminism when hundreds of women are soon to lose their jobs because of this?
The decision came from the managing director of Formula 1 and went public on January 31st where it was stated that:
“Formula 1 will end the long-standing practice of using walk-on grid girls, commencing with the start of the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.”
Many grid girls have expressed their disappointment with being made redundant. Rebecca Cooper, a former grid girl, suggests that this is “PC gone mad” and that it’s “ridiculous that women who say they are “fighting for women’s rights” are saying what others should and shouldn’t do, stopping us from doing a job we love”.
Glamorous female models have been part of motorsport for a very long time, with Japanese model and singer Rosa Ogawa being recognised as the original grid girl back in the 60s. Since then, beautiful women have become synonymous with the glamour and grandeur of the motorsport and along the way, many of them are thankful for the opportunities they’ve been given, including the likes of Katie Price and Kelly Brook.
They will be sorely missed by countless viewers, drivers and crew members as we welcome a new age. An age where the drivers are not awkwardly clapped on by a harem of smiling female models, but rather celebrate the event with the children that are aspiring to be racers themselves, known as grid kids.