Cars & Girls



From the very beginning of motoring the female form has been used time and time again to sell, promote and market all things automotive. From the brolly dollies who parade on the starting grids of motorsport to the heel-clad promo girls who stalk the car shows, cars and (objectified) girls go together like Katie Price and pink ponies.

Strange, really, because in a world where women are pretty much as passionate and enthusiastic as men about their motors, there is a lag between the media reality of the car obsession and the actuality out on the streets. You never see car show ‘boys’ and when is the last time you saw a ripped male torso selling anything other than hair product or after-shave?

General sports punditry, once the sheepskin-clad preserve of the male gender, has with Gaby Logan, Suzie Perry and Helen Chamberlain etc infused a healthy dose of womanhood into the testosterone-tainted aether of sports TV. But will we ever get to enjoy a genuine counterpoint to the stonewash-hitching maleness of Clarkson, May & co? And no, Vicki Butler-Henderson just doesn’t count.

Does the fact that there is something fundamentally bloke-ish about the urge to list, opine, analyse, muse, pontificate and generally blather about motors, mean that the day that we see a proper female motoring anchor is still a long way off?


6 Responses to “Cars & Girls”

  1. Oh how I wish they would open a competition for a new female presenter!!!!

    It’s so frustrating because like you say there IS a world where women are just as passionate & enthusiastic as men about their motors and keeping the ‘female-ness’ to Fifth Gear is just as lame.

    Having shown car’s for year’s I’ve seen more & more number’s of women who are becoming very serious about the art of ‘car’s’ in general!

    Believe me Jezza…when you ask me about car’s, I don’t only know what colour it is – lol.

    Whats wrong with making it a bit fairer…just please please please no ‘eye-candy’ that’s been ‘taught’ how to discuss cars/engines/mods/performance etc

    We live in hope 🙂

  2. Anonymous

    … And why would 5th Gear’s Vicky not count? Is she not woman enough or does she not know enough about cars?

  3. What about the German lady that punted the Transit van around the Nurburgring? No mean feat in a car, let alone a van, better at driving than Clarkson? Vicky Butler-Henderson is okay, why doesn’t she count?
    I’m a woman and I love cars and I have rebuilt my own classic vehicles myself and I also ride a motorbike. It does annoy me about the lack of credible women presenters on Top Gear, but I would have a problem with, as you say, some bit of eye candy reading some well-rehearsed lines. But you can’t tell me there isn’t someone out there suitable – it is 2009, surely things must have moved on by now.

  4. Nor is there a sensible Magazine for women drivers – we are expected to put up with what has been written by men for men.

    If we want the ratio of presenters to be fair, let’s have more than one to reflect the driving population and differing female perspectives.

    Much as Jeremy, Richard and James bring different talents and personalities to the Top Gear party, women drivers have similarly different outlooks and interests. Whilst many might be mechanically-minded most of us aren’t and very few of us (men included!) can drive as well as Sabine did round Nurburgring. And do we need to compete with the men anyway?

    It would be good for us girls to do something completely different to reflect our real motoring interests not just a ‘me too’ version of Top Gear.

    Definitely no ‘eye candy’ – this is truly offensive to women and I’m thrilled to see more of us saying this.

    If nothing else comes from this recession, I hope manufacturers trim their exhibition and new car launch ‘leering’ budgets and cut out the bikini bimbos in future.

    FOXY Steph


  5. I find it interesting that Steph Savill has a real issue with the so called “brolly dollies” yet signs off with “FOXY Steph”. Of course women and men have their differences and similarities, on a motoring programme though naturally there will be a lot of discussion about horse power etc because it’s telling us about the cars, the build quality, etc. I can imagine that Sabine Schmitz would be a good presenter with them, however she’s in a German programme of a similar nature to Top Gear. James is the new equivalent to Quentin Wilson, the more down to earth, real world motoring presenter, yet the time they all had their mothers review the cars, James’ mother completely trounced the others in the show.

    In the middle of a recession, it’s good to see that people are still having fun out there and broadcasting it to us; if we only ever had mundane car reviews etc, it would fail to incite most audience’s interest and would fail to have the ratings that the existing show does. Also we need a reminder that we can have aspirations regardless of financial impedements to give us the drive to keep going, to try to achieve something.

    And surely on a motoring programme you’d expect them to give you all the information they can to advise consumers about the short-comings and benefits of particular cars in order to allow people to make informed decisions about the cars available, their competitors, etc.

    Someone that doesn’t know cars very well can’t do that, they can’t give you the information that as a potential buyer you really need to know. The dealer’s word isn’t gospel, they’re sales people just like many others, trying to sell you something; the less informed you are, the worse off we’ll be.

  6. Just to explain my FOXY Steph monniker Mark.

    I run a motoring club for women called FOXY Lady Drivers Club. We identify, promote and monitor female friendly garages, dealerships and motoring-related services. FOXY is a female brand meaning shrewd, canny and astute which is what we believe women need to be in what is seen to be a male-dominated motor industry. Hence my posting about unnecessarily scantily clad females; c50% of customers are females and I for one don’t know any women who like to see their gender put out there to be leered at by men.

    What was in your mind about my name btw?