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Time to take lady drivers seriously...


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#1 Doug Nye

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 18:31

See current 'Autosport' feature headed as above. Errr, how can I put this? Some of my best friends are, ahem, ladies. BUT, I think any notion that a woman driver will ever really excel against men at truly top level is a physiological impossibility. Will a female driver ever become THE standard setter? No way. I was a considerable fan of Desi Wilson, Yvette Fontaine and Pat Moss (in particular) but none truly matched the best around in their era, regardless of gender. So does this belief make me a sexist dinosaur, a realist, or maybe both?
:smoking:

Discuss?

DCN

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#2 arttidesco

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 18:41

IMHO there is no reason why a female should not excel at something like driving a car, it's not rocket science and the kind of physical endurance involved does not appear to me to exclude the possibility that one day it will be a female who the boys are all consistently chasing to the finish line.

Does that make me a comedian, deluded or both ?



#3 Phil Rainford

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 18:44

Nobody thought we would have a female Prime Minister.....my point would be until the ladies are given equal opportunities to prove their skills how can one make a judgement?

PAR

#4 alansart

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 18:46

Ironically motor racing is one of the few sports where women can compete on equal(?) terms. Football, rugby, athletics and even bloody golf are segregated.



#5 Mistron

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 18:57

I think it's a lack of opportunity combined with a widespread attitude that women won't be the equal of men in racing. I can't see that there is a physical / physiological or any other reason that a woman couldn't be the best. More women in a sport where thaa can compete on a level directly with men would, I suspect, do the sport the world of good.

On this one, Doug, I fear you are a dinosaur.

A Nyeosauraus perhaps?

#6 E1pix

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 18:58

IMHO there is no reason why a female should not excel at something like driving a car, it's not rocket science and the kind of physical endurance involved does not appear to me to exclude the possibility that one day it will be a female who the boys are all consistently chasing to the finish line.

Does that make me a comedian, deluded or both ?

Neither, the day is coming and with today's more-drivable cars I see little reason they can't compete.


#7 BRG

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 19:04

If one were to take a female athlete like Jessica Ennis, does anyone seriously doubt that she would have the competitive instinct, and of course easily the physical condition to race any sort of car?

All she lacks AFAIK is the interest in doing so. But there are women who do have that interest, the only issue is that they are rather few compared to all the young men who desperately want to be racing drivers. The trick will be to find an Ennis with the talent and urge to race cars of a Hamilton. If one is ever found, she can be a WDC - as long as all the male doubters allow it. I would love to see it, having been a champion of women competitors back in my motor club days.

#8 Michael Ferner

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 19:16

I actually think Doug may have a point here...

Racing is so much about raw, male instincts, that it's difficult to see women competing on equal footing. Of course, modern racing is just a 'light' version of all that, but still, I recall seeing a short YouTube bit about a lady driver (sorry, can't remember the name) who crashed during Indy practice a year or two ago, suffering burns on her hands. How many gals will be able to shrug something like that off, and keep the FOCUS?? A female Niki Lauda, Lee Kunzman? No way...

#9 TimRTC

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 19:23

You want to tell that to Shirley Muldowney, the 1977 NHRA champion -

Having seen a lot of women drive memorably in club events and junior series, I have no doubt that they are equally as good as their male counterparts - unfortunately attitudes like those expressed above all too often keep them from getting competitive drives or sponsorship. Look at a driver like Alice Powell, a points scorer in GP3 last year, yet unable to get sponsorship this year even for an F3 Euroseries drive - yet many other drivers who did not score points continue to race in the series.

#10 jcbc3

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 19:24

I vote dinosaur.

If this one had applied herself to motorsport instead of yachting she would have kicked butt. IMHO.

Ellen McArthur

#11 Phil Rainford

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 19:25

I actually think Doug may have a point here...

Racing is so much about raw, male instincts, that it's difficult to see women competing on equal footing. Of course, modern racing is just a 'light' version of all that, but still, I recall seeing a short YouTube bit about a lady driver (sorry, can't remember the name) who crashed during Indy practice a year or two ago, suffering burns on her hands. How many gals will be able to shrug something like that off, and keep the FOCUS?? A female Niki Lauda, Lee Kunzman? No way...


If the Paralympics are anything to go by ..........I would suggest plenty

PAR

#12 BRG

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 19:25

How many gals will be able to shrug something like that off, and keep the FOCUS?? A female Niki Lauda, Lee Kunzman? No way...

Let's hope we never have to find out. But there are plenty of women racing bicycles and they fall off just as often as male cyclists and lose as much skin on the road as the boys, not to mention the broken bones etc. And I wonder if Niki would have been so keen to get into F1 if he had known what was going to happen to him?

#13 Allen Brown

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 19:26

So does this belief make me a sexist dinosaur, a realist, or maybe both?

DCN


Did you ask Val?

#14 dbltop

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 19:29

That's kind of stereo-typical, I would think. There definitely are women with the inner drive and mental toughness to become a champion and I'm sure it's just a matter of time. The cars are becoming increasingly easier to drive from a physical standpoint. Brute strength isn't required anymore.

#15 BoschKurve

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 19:36

If Lella Lombardi could drive in Formula 1 in the 1970s, I see no reason why it can't happen now with cars no longer requiring the brutishness demanded of drivers back then.

If a woman or women are qualified, I've got no issue with it.

What I do not like are seeing the women who are involved in motorsports put forth because of looks first, and skill second. I have a female friend who hates Danica Patrick for that reason as she feels she does little good for women because of her willingness to become a sex object.

I'm also not a fan of people like Susie Wolff who are involved because of some personal connection (husband) when there are more talented people out there.

#16 David Beard

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 19:37

That's kind of stereo-typical, I would think. There definitely are women with the inner drive and mental toughness to become a champion and I'm sure it's just a matter of time. The cars are becoming increasingly easier to drive from a physical standpoint. Brute strength isn't required anymore.


Not heard of G then?


#17 E1pix

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 19:37

I actually think Doug may have a point here...

Racing is so much about raw, male instincts, that it's difficult to see women competing on equal footing. Of course, modern racing is just a 'light' version of all that, but still, I recall seeing a short YouTube bit about a lady driver (sorry, can't remember the name) who crashed during Indy practice a year or two ago, suffering burns on her hands. How many gals will be able to shrug something like that off, and keep the FOCUS?? A female Niki Lauda, Lee Kunzman? No way...

You can't be serious, only males have raw instincts? (I know Lee and agree with that part!) Tell that to my amazing mountaineer wife, as tough as any guy we've ever climbed with... if she'd let you get away with saying that. :rolleyes:

The lady you mentioned is Simona de Silvestro, who showed more strength in that post-fire interview than most guys. She damned-near burned alive and had raw hands but came right back to the cockpit.

You want to tell that to Shirley Muldowney, the 1977 NHRA champion -

Perfect. :up:

#18 Michael Ferner

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 19:44

You want to tell that to Shirley Muldowney, the 1977 NHRA champion -


Well, she had an advantage: she was deaf! :D Couldn't hear all the men telling her she couldn't do it! :lol: :rotfl:

Seriously, I never considered drag racing anything else but... er, drag racing. Perhaps a monkey could do it as well, I couldn't care less. It's not racing, as far as I'm concerned.

#19 AAGR

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 19:47

See current 'Autosport' feature headed as above. Errr, how can I put this? Some of my best friends are, ahem, ladies. BUT, I think any notion that a woman driver will ever really excel against men at truly top level is a physiological impossibility. Will a female driver ever become THE standard setter? No way. I was a considerable fan of Desi Wilson, Yvette Fontaine and Pat Moss (in particular) but none truly matched the best around in their era, regardless of gender. So does this belief make me a sexist dinosaur, a realist, or maybe both?
:smoking:

Discuss?

DCN



Note the word 'physiological' ....

I only know about female rally drivers ('know them' as opposed to 'have read about them', so my critics can stop, right there ....) and I reckon the only thing which stopped females like Michele Mouton and Louise Aitken-Walker from doing even better than they did was a lack of sheer physical strength, and stamina.

Pat Moss was not only superhumanly (superwomanly ?) talented behind the wheel, but she was strongly built - and all those early years riding horses in events must have helped.

So yes, add me to Doug's opinion.

AAGR

Edited by AAGR, 10 April 2013 - 20:05.


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#20 Phil Rainford

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 19:47

Oulton Park Easter Monday (F3 Cup)

Alice Powell with equal car / equal opportunity

Posted Image

Two races and two outright wins

PAR

#21 Glengavel

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 19:50

I actually think Doug may have a point here...

Racing is so much about raw, male instincts, that it's difficult to see women competing on equal footing. Of course, modern racing is just a 'light' version of all that, but still, I recall seeing a short YouTube bit about a lady driver (sorry, can't remember the name) who crashed during Indy practice a year or two ago, suffering burns on her hands. How many gals will be able to shrug something like that off, and keep the FOCUS?? A female Niki Lauda, Lee Kunzman? No way...


Women can never concentrate 100% like men can. There's always part of their brain that's thinking about shoes.


#22 Michael Ferner

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 19:50

You can't be serious, only males have raw instincts?


I didn't say that. Go back and read it again, I was talking about male instincts, as in different instincts to a female of the specimen.

#23 Michael Ferner

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 19:52

Women can never concentrate 100% like men can. There's always part of their brain that's thinking about shoes.


Exactly.

#24 Tim Murray

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 19:53

I’ve been desperately hoping that a woman will make it at the top level ever since Suzy Raganelli beat the likes of Peterson and Rosberg to win the 1966 World Karting Championship. It does seem that on the rare occasions when a woman shows enough promise to be considered for a top level drive, she isn’t taken seriously and ends up getting a raw deal. If only the March people hadn’t pooh-poohed Lella Lombardi’s feedback and left her to run all of 1975 in a car with a cracked chassis. If only at the 1980 British GP Desire had been allowed to use the Williams she’d used to good effect at the test days, instead of some cobbled-together heap of junk which they told her was the same car. There must be many more examples.

I really hope that the attitude of those at the top has now changed, and that if a woman manages to make it into contention for a drive at the top level she gets treated just the same as the men. However, having watched the TV programme on Susie Wolff the other day, it appears to me that there is still an awful lot of ingrained sexism in motor sport.


#25 E1pix

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 20:00

... it appears to me that there is still an awful lot of ingrained sexism in motor sport.

Yes Tim, not to mention in this thread.

#26 Tim Murray

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 20:05

Indeed so.

#27 Michael Ferner

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 20:18

I’ve been desperately hoping that a woman will make it at the top level ever since Suzy Raganelli beat the likes of Peterson and Rosberg to win the 1966 World Karting Championship. It does seem that on the rare occasions when a woman shows enough promise to be considered for a top level drive, she isn’t taken seriously and ends up getting a raw deal. If only the March people hadn’t pooh-poohed Lella Lombardi’s feedback and left her to run all of 1975 in a car with a cracked chassis. If only at the 1980 British GP Desire had been allowed to use the Williams she’d used to good effect at the test days, instead of some cobbled-together heap of junk which they told her was the same car. There must be many more examples.


That pretty much sums up what I meant. A driver (whether male or female) who will take that sort of treatment will never get to the top. Simples.

#28 Tim Murray

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 20:24

Lauda took similar treatment in his year at March. They regarded him as a pay driver and generally ignored his feedback. Fools.

#29 GMACKIE

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 20:50

There are, I'm certain, many women who have/have had what it takes to be F1 world champion. However, most women [and I'm just as certain] would think...WHY BOTHER? The ladies, bless 'em, have a far superior 'logic' to us poor blokes.

A good example - some years back my wife [of 50 years] and I were looking to buy a car [to share], and my choice had a manual gearbox.

Quite seriously, and using the previously-mentioned logic, the little lady asked "Why would you buy a car that you need to change gear in, when you car buy one that does that for you?".... Beats me.

#30 Michael Ferner

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 20:52

Lauda took similar treatment in his year at March. They regarded him as a pay driver and generally ignored his feedback. Fools.


Good example. Next, Niki took a big debt, lied to all kinds of people in order to get it (including a relative who worked at the bank), signed a contract with BRM only to break it within half a year, and landed a drive with Ferrari. Why didn't Lella?

#31 VWV

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 20:57

:rolleyes: I wonder how a female driver would respond to team orders...........


#32 carlt

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 21:02

Quite seriously, and using the previously-mentioned logic, the little lady asked ".....


how tall is she ?

#33 GMACKIE

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 21:08

how tall is she ?

As tall as she wants to be.


#34 D-Type

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 21:28

Just wondering - apart from motor [including motorcycle] sport, what sports are there where men and women compete against one another?

#35 GMACKIE

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 21:37

Just wondering - apart from motor [including motorcycle] sport, what sports are there where men and women compete against one another?

When you say "against one another"....... :blush:


#36 sonar

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 21:45

Women can never concentrate 100% like men can. There's always part of their brain that's thinking about shoes.


What we are actually thinking about is, who's going to raise our children if we get ourselves killed.
Mother Nature provided us with a built-in warning system that prevents us from doing anything dangerous...or stupid. :)

#37 PCC

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 21:48

Women can never concentrate 100% like men can. There's always part of their brain that's thinking about shoes.

If this thread is anything to judge by, there's always part of men's brains that isn't thinking at all. :rolleyes:

#38 Bloggsworth

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 21:51

It won't happen until the base of the Bell Curve gets a lot bigger. There are too few women driver to constitute a big enough pool to draw from. The only sport in which women and men compete on a level playing field is 3 Day Eventing, a sport in which 4 of the last 9 world champions have been women. Eventing demands strength, stamina and more than a little skill, not to mention a considerable amount of bottle.

When 20,000 women a year are competing in single-seater racing the situation may change, as for now, we will have to wait for random chance to single out someone special, and for all the conditions to be right for her to find a route through the money maze and simple prejudice. It happens occassionally, such as when, from nowhere, Suriname produced an Olympic medallist in the swimming pool.

Prejudice is the main stumbling block, no matter how good she'll have to be twice as good, and still no-one may take the plunge.

Edited by Bloggsworth, 10 April 2013 - 21:55.


#39 arttidesco

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 21:54

Oulton Park Easter Monday (F3 Cup)

Alice Powell with equal car / equal opportunity

Posted Image

Two races and two outright wins

PAR


There you go, where are all the nay sayers hiding now :smoking:

Edited by arttidesco, 10 April 2013 - 21:55.


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#40 LotusElise

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 21:55

Just wondering - apart from motor [including motorcycle] sport, what sports are there where men and women compete against one another?


Equestrianism including horse racing. Some shooting competitions.

I vote dinosaur on this issue. Whilst I agree with the posters above who state that there are fewer girls who spend their childhood dreaming of being the WDC or WRC champion, it is partly due to ingrained sexism in sport in general, and also in general-general, that they often do not enjoy the same encouragement, support and sponsorship as their male peers. Even if a car-mad girl is encouraged by her family to pursue her dreams, she has the whole weight of peer pressure and commercial pressure to contend with, which tells her subtly and not-so-subtly that this isn't really her thing. She sees toy cars categorised as boys' toys, and later, bigger "toy" cars explicitly displayed and sold as boys' toys. The most visible women in motorsport are silent, smiling grid girls.

If she weathers all this, she still faces dinosaur attitudes towards her chosen passion. She risks being ostracised by her friends for having any outside interests whatsoever, will probably be accused of being a lesbian (as if this is actually relevant to anything at all), and has to tolerate being the butt of tedious jokes from her male colleagues, if they deign to interact with her at all. If she achieves any sort of success, she may be accused of cheating, and any commercial deals she does to finance her racing will be picked to pieces and possibly become the subject of nasty and subjective gossip. That's if she gets any sponsorship at all, because she'll be seen as a massive risk, regardless of her results. If, doG forbid, she dates men from the motorsport world, she's sleeping her way to the top. If, as most racers do at some point, she has even a semi-serious accident, she is ridiculed by strangers on the internet and held up as an example of how women shouldn't be allowed behind the wheel.

Despite the fact that she trains even harder than her male counterpart, and has roughly the same bodily dimensions as him (5'6" and 9.5 stone perhaps), she is still subjected to dark mutterings about physical strength and g-loads by people who know little about human physiology. These dark mutterings are used to justify not even giving her a chance in the most powerful cars, even though there are female test pilots and astronauts who do less physical training and manage these g-loads just fine.

If she makes it into a team, as in many areas of life, if she is forthright with her opinions about car set-up and so on, this is tolerated less than the same from a male driver. While he is seen as competent and confident, she is seen as a whinger and a trouble-maker and gets a bad reputation (note: Annie Soisbault is an example of this). This is not specific to motorsport - there are many articles out there which discuss this phenomenon.

If she wins, there may be questions asked about the quality of the field. If she loses, it's because she's female. Even though there have been women racing drivers since 1897, it is still too novel a concept for many dinosaurs to grasp.

If she doesn't make it, she might remain un-jaded enough to write a blog about it. :)



#41 Doug Nye

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 21:56

Some of you blokes are slowly beginning to realise what I was saying to provoke this fascinating - perhaps generational - reaction. Hands up those who think modern race cars - at top level - won't demand phsyiological power and stamina from a standard setter which matches that of a male with all the other necessary talents.

And no - with a Scots wife of 42 years who is forged from spring steel, and a much-loved (and much-admired) daughter, I really cannot conveniently be dismissed as being merely 'sexist'. 'Dinosaur', I will happily accept. But just for once, I really don't think I'm wrong.

:cool:

DCN

#42 arttidesco

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 22:00

Even though there have been women racing drivers since 1897, it is still too novel a concept for many dinosaurs to grasp.


Spot on :up:


#43 D-Type

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 22:08

I don't think it's a physiological thing - I think it's a mental thing. The stereotypical woman has less of a 'killer instinct' than a stereotypical man.

#44 arttidesco

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 22:12

I don't think it's a physiological thing - I think it's a mental thing. The stereotypical woman has less of a 'killer instinct' than a stereotypical man.


As David Blakely found out  ;)

#45 PCC

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 22:16

Some of you blokes are slowly beginning to realise what I was saying to provoke this fascinating - perhaps generational - reaction.

Perhaps also generational in that the sheer strength required to drive at top level is not what it was for earlier generations, so what was true in Fangio's era may not be true in Button's. I find it hard to believe that the Williams sisters would not have all the physical attributes needed to drive a modern F1 car - not to mention the competitive spirit and aggression.

The right combination of physical and mental qualities may be rarer in women - testosterone must count for something - but I think that modern elite women athletes could be just as successful in cars as any man. But I suspect that few of them are obsessed with (or even exposed to) motorized things from childhood, or get stuck into karts at the age of five...

#46 PCC

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 22:19

I don't think it's a physiological thing - I think it's a mental thing. The stereotypical woman has less of a 'killer instinct' than a stereotypical man.

And that observation is as valid as most stereotypes... do you really want to defend this argument just days after the Iron Lady died?

#47 arttidesco

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 22:34

Phil Hill on the prevailing attitude to Denise McLuggage

“It’s a bit embarrassing to me, given today’s enlightened attitudes, to admit that in the late 50s I was a bit disturbed by the idea of this woman driver. It wasn’t a matter of feeling threatened, but like many men in that period, I had trouble understanding what kind of statement Denise might be making with her driving efforts. The fact is, gender stereotypes aside, she was holding her own on the track.”

I hope we can all move on with the 1961 World Champion :wave:

Edited by arttidesco, 10 April 2013 - 22:38.


#48 D-Type

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 22:40

And that observation is as valid as most stereotypes... do you really want to defend this argument just days after the Iron Lady died?

I think you've missed my point. Strength of character is not the same as 'killer instinct'.

#49 TimRTC

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 22:45

I think you've missed my point. Strength of character is not the same as 'killer instinct'.


Ever watched a women's rugby match? My wife played rugby semi-pro for years (like most women's sports, completely ignored by the media) and their matches were far more brutal than any mens match at the same level - players coming on with broken fingers, twisted ankles and the like just to try and win local league glory in front of a dozen spectators. If that is not a killer instinct, what is?

#50 PCC

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 23:06

I think you've missed my point. Strength of character is not the same as 'killer instinct'.

Fair point. But I don't think anyone without 'killer instinct' wins three elections and a war.

For the record (for what it's worth), I am in no way a big fan of her politics. But she is an excellent rebuttal to any claim that women lack the mental toughness to excel at competitive sports.