Fact Jeke Behind the Wheel
THIS week I want to deviate from the norm and talk about an issue that is close to my heart, that is the prejudice among men when it comes to women and cars. There is a perception among men that
woman know very little or are not qualified to talk about cars or even drive one.
There is actually an inherent belief among men that women are generally bad drivers.
I have observed that if a man is behind the wheel and a fellow motorist makes an error or drives slowly, in most instances the man would tend to believe that a woman is behind the wheel of the other car.
In such cases the man will say “mira uone anofanira ari mukadzi chete” (wait and see the driver is a woman).
The funny thing, however, is that most drivers who drive like two-year-olds on our roads are actually men.
In addition, there is a tendency among men that when they see a car, they immediately catalogue it as either a woman’s car or a man’s car, before stating what class it belongs to.
In this instance, the general belief among men is that all small cars are for women and the big robust and butch SUVs are for men. This tends to happen as a consequence of the axiom proclaimed in the beginning.
This way of thinking has become so well established that even women themselves are starting to believe it.
Yes I am a woman, and sadly for most men I know more about cars than what some of them will know in their lifetime. The main reason why I decided to write this particular piece is so that I try to correct this stereotype and show that not everything is about gender.
I have male friends, who struggle with simple terms when it comes to car engines and parts and when I talk about the technical stuff they start squirming because they are ignorant about the subject.
Then on the other hand I have a very good girlfriend of mine who I literally share notes with, very hot, sexy and classy like yours truly but she knows the engines like an auto mechanics student.
I am sure the two of us can take down a few male auto enthusiasts in a bar discussing and debating an auto greasy subject.
Don’t get me wrong I am not being feminist but I am just trying to enlighten and show that as women we know a thing or two about cars and that this stereotyping should cease. Having said that, I would like to look at the “typical” men’s and women’s cars. In just about every parking lot in the city you are almost bound to run into at least one “tuned” car.
That is a kind of car that is engulfed in a bodykit that is almost touching the ground and one that ruins the aerodynamics, with a rear wing that turns any 75 horsepower car into a LeMans racer.
It can also have a vomit-inducing colour and an exhaust that sounds like a dying animal.
This, my dear ladies, is called a “man’s car” in almost every discussion between guys.
On the other hand, a Beetle is a “woman’s car” since it has a small vase near the steering wheel for a flower.
The same goes for the Mini Cooper and in some circls a man who drives a Mini Cooper is most definitely gay or a carjacker. A Porsche Cayenne turbo is seen a “man’s car” while the Cayenne S is typical woman’s car and the base, less-powerful models are just “family cars”.
On numerous occasions I have heard couples arguing when choosing a car. The woman, on one hand, would be focusing on the upholstery while the man is focusing on the exterior.
Men normally handle the exterior because they know what colour is more “resistant” to scratches and dirt, while women like the interior because they want upholstery that will last.
Men normally want masculine lines while women desire pleasant touches. But, like I said, we are fast catching on.
When either of them tries to step on each other’s territory battle line are drawn immediately.
You hear the woman saying, “You are a man and you don’t understand” and the man will respond by saying, “You are a woman and that pretty much settles it,” etc.
We are all living under the impression that our sex automatically gives us a competence on the matter and we can’t even move on because of it.
Well, I got news for you, these days most women look at so much detail on a car that it would even surprise you.
They want to know the engine capacity because it goes back to the economics of the vehicle, and so many other things that will give us piece of mind when we do buy the vehicle.
A while ago, a friend bought himself a rather powerful BMW X3. He was very excited about his new toy especially since it drew so much attention among his pals.
His wife was worried that her husband might also turn the heads of other women at the traffic light.
After a while though they had a baby and the “sporty” car became a small, safe and easy to manoeuvre family car, a “woman’s car”.
I am also convinced that you have noticed how almost everybody says that a limo is only fit for certain occasions, like a wedding or a business lunch as if its comfort would become overbearing if we used it all the time.
A Jeep is only thought to be only fit for the mountains, a convertible for the coast while a small car is for the crowded city we live in.
Engulfed in a variety of stereotypes and marketing rules, we forget the fact that the streets have almost the same width everywhere in the world, parking spaces are quasi-identical anywhere you go and we have pretty much the same body shape no matter the meridian we are on.
It makes me sad to see that not all people are expressing themselves freely when talking about the cars that we dream of.
We should do it with humour and without prejudice and not like a defence lawyer and a prosecutor in a courtroom. I believe we need to move on from the stereotypes, start enjoying beauty anywhere we find it and realise that we can talk about the upsides and downsides of a car without bringing sex into the equation.
Stereotypes only shorten or even shut-off our communication channels, common sense, free will and even our personalities. Let us free ourselves!
Fact D. Jeke is a motoring enthusiast who has attended auto shows, rallies and has written for various publications in the region for the last decade. She can be contacted via email on email@example.com or Torque with Fact Jeke on Facebook