As a woman who has been working since I was in high school and participating in different sports since I was a young girl, when I saw the following quote, I paused to think about it for a minute then I felt the need to comment.
“Women shouldn’t have to deny their femininity just to conform with expectations. I’m a woman. I drive racing cars.” -Susie Wolff
Women around the world have fought for years to be treated normally and seriously in the workplace and not as feminine objects for men to look at. Women in different professions have fought obtain meaningful positions in companies and organizations based on their skills and knowledge and not their femininity or appearance.
The skills and confidence that I learned as a member of a sorority at university have helped me excel in different male dominated work and athletic related situations through the years. It hasn’t mattered that I’m a woman or that I’m feminine. What has mattered has been that I had the skills and knowledge necessary to be there.
I am an athlete and I play on men’s teams. The fact that I’m a woman or my femininity has never been an issue. I have proven that I can play with the men and that has always been the expectation.
If a woman or a female athlete has confidence in herself, puts the necessary time, effort, and commitment in every way possible, and shows that she belongs where she wants to be in the workplace, athletic field, etc., she will be welcomed and respected and she won’t have to deny her femininity to conform.
Yes, there might be a few at the beginning who question whether she belongs there in an attempt to get her to prove herself but the woman will not have to deny her femininity to conform to the expectations in the workplace or the athletic field..
The only way that a woman’s femininity might even become an issue is if the men sense that she’s not real serious, willing to do whatever it takes to be successful, or the skills or knowledge necessary to be there and be successful.
Women have been success at different times through the years in motorsports. If a woman is viewed by her peers in motorsports as been serious, committed, and has the skills and necessary talent to compete and contribute in a positive way to the sport in her pursuit of a race seat, then her femininity isn’t questioned.
If I was in Susie’s position and was serious about getting a Formula 1 seat, I would be racing in every racing series that I could to get seat time to show that full commitment to racing instead of mainly posing for photo shoots. The photo shoots make her femininity an issue when it really doesn’t need to be for her to have success. The photo shoots and fashion magazine spread make men view her as a feminine object.
If she feels that she has to deny her femininity to conform to expectations, maybe that is an indication that she shouldn’t be driving race cars.
If a person is doing what they’re meant to do, they shouldn’t have to deny any part of who they are to achieve success.