My first reaction to hearing the news grid girls were to be dropped from Formula 1 was - good!
Pretty women standing around waiting to be looked at when the men get bored of watching the fast cars; it’s all a bit old fashioned these days, isn’t it.
I’ve been to a few live boxing matches and thought the same when the ring girls come on. Why does the audience need to look at a girl’s bare legs in between rounds?
And it’s only for people who find women attractive, meaning those that don’t will feel excluded from what’s going on. I know those ring girls aren’t there to keep me entertained at the boxing.
I think most people don’t like ring girls and grid girls and cheerleaders because they don’t agree with women being sexually objectified.
The problem is it’s human nature to sexually objectify people. When I was a teenager in the 90s, all my friends weren’t putting up that poster of Peter Andre with his abs out because he was a great singer.
As soon as the news broke that F1 was dumping grid girls, stories from women who’d done the job in the past began to emerge.
Some, including Rebecca Cooper from Yorkshire, said: “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 and are proud to do. PC gone mad.”
My issue with women being there just to be looked at is more because it perpetuates the attitude they don’t have to be taken seriously and treated as people who deserve respect, whose opinions matter and are listened to.
Because their job seems to involve nothing more than being attractive, they can be disregarded and their voices ignored.
Yes, this happens to men too, but women make up the overwhelming majority of those who work in being-looked-at jobs.
Work like this isn’t for everyone. I can’t imagine wanting to do it.
But that means I can’t understand how it feels to be someone who does want to do that. And it means it wouldn’t be right for me to say they shouldn’t.
Are these women helping to perpetuate stereotypes and stereotyping? I don’t know.
If a woman wants to use her body to make money, should she be able to do that? I have to say I think she should.
It’s great that women are able to do what they want in life, be it working in promotions like this; staying at home with the kids, or succeeding in business.
It’s a total minefield and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to make my mind up.
I agree with Rebecca when she says women stopping other women doing what they want isn’t feminism.
But I also think using women to add “glamour” to sporting events is a relic which might be best left in the past.