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Blame it on Gloria Gaynor

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives

Blame it on Gloria Gaynor

Geoff Maxted
September 2, 2013

Maria Theresa De Filippis
Have you ever heard of Maria Theresa De Filippis (pictured)? No, neither had I. In 1958 she entered five Formula One races. She didn’t score any points but that, ahem, is not the point. How about Lella Lombardi? Giovanna Amati? These and many other female drivers have competed at the top level in motor sport. On TV, Vicki Butler Henderson and Sabine Schmitz both demonstrate fantastic skills, so why is it that women drivers get such a bad reputation?

Well, unsurprisingly, men don’t help; suggesting that, to be a good driver, you must have that hunter/killer instinct and physical strength which women simply do not possess: after all love, it’s a jungle out there. Also, women lack the necessary spatial skills needed for map reading and parking owing to a lack of testosterone in their bodies. This is tosh, apparently. For a start, women can multi-task. I know this for a fact because my wife told me whilst balancing a recalcitrant child and preparing a meal for six as I was trying to read the paper.

‘Why’, she once questioned me when the subject came up, ‘do I need to know how to read a map when that is what you are for?’

‘Ah Ha’ I countered, quick as a flash, ‘what if I’m not there? What would you do then hmmm?’

‘Well, I’d just type the address of where I wanted to go into that screen thingy and that nice girl will tell me how to get there. Simple.’

This is what we have come to. Stymied by our own technology. We have even reached the stage where for some time now specialist companies have been offering car insurance for women alone, if you‘ve ever heard of such a thing. This is apparently because female drivers make fewer claims than men, do less miles and generally drive more slowly. My goodness – I even came across a site that offered free cover for handbags and their contents! Imagine trying to itemise that!

Unfortunately, men have brought this upon themselves by continually trying to impose what are, essentially, Victorian values onto modern women. We got away with it for a long time boys, through most of the Twentieth Century in fact, but from somewhere this new feisty streak has emerged to thwart us. Put the blame on songs like ‘I Will Survive’ for this attitude change. Essentially, the problem is this. Men harrumph a lot about women drivers and make jokes about parking and the like but show them a damsel in distress and these macho blokes start floundering around like a load of puppy dogs seeking favour.

This is something that women understand all too well.

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