Last night, Tony Stewart, a hot-headed NASCAR driver with emotional problems, ran over a colleague in a race in upstate NY. The young man he hit, Kevin Ward Jr., sadly passed away due to the injuries he sustained after being mowed down by Tony Stewart’s number 69 superfast cool-guy car, brought to you by Tide and Raytheon.
It’s a tragic accident, and a few are pointing fingers and questioning whether there was foul play at hand, but one thing I’ve noticed is that in the couple of hours since news broke of the accident, no one has bothered to introduce gender into the equation. I can’t help but think, hello folks, aren’t we forgetting gender here? Let’s figure out how gender plays into this. Gender. Gender gender gender.
The reality is this: a man killed another man in a motorsporting accident, and that’s the end of the conversation. But think for a second, what would have happened if a woman hit a man?
Can you imagine the Katrina-sized shit storm that would have churned up if Tony Stewart was instead a woman, and lady-Tony lady-drove all over that young man’s face? Immediately there would be an investigation. Immediately there would be demands to know why we were letting a woman drive a man’s car in the first place. Immediately everyone would trot out tired canards about a woman’s inability to drive and how she was probably applying makeup when the accident happened.
If Tony Stewart was a lady driver, we, as women, would be totally fucked. Not only would there never be another lady driver in NASCAR, they’d probably pass laws banning women from everyday driving on public roads. We’d have to go back to riding in the back seat like children.
Luckily for us, women are extremely underrepresented in professional motorsports. There’s that Sticks-N-Stuff lady, and uh, I don’t know probably like one more bitch. And Peach in Mario Kart. Maybe Yoshi, too. I think Yoshi is a girl.
Anyhow, that’s three female professional drivers total, and if we had true equality in the world of motorsports we’d have a much higher risk of a woman ending up as the one behind the wheel in one of these fatal accidents; in which case, the resulting backlash against all women would be much worse than the inequality we face with plain old underrepresentation in NASCAR.
I want to let you guys know something: it has been, and always will be, my lifelong dream to drive a monster truck. Specifically Grave Digger, but I would drive any one of the trucks if I could get a chance. Not Samson though. The fists on the side of Samson make it look less like a strong man and more like an autistic boy making his way through a crowd of bullies. But, I would drive any other truck in the game. Unfortunately my life got sidetracked by a couple of unwanted pregnancies and failed relationships, I had to give up on that dream.
But, here’s the thing about dreams; as long as the slightest possibility exists that they could be fulfilled, even by an unrealistic, delusional version of yourself, your dreams never die, they just stay dreams. In my mind, I know I’ll never be a monster truck driver, but in my heart, it’ll always be there. I know in my mind too, that the reason I won’t be a monster truck driver is because of my son; not any fault of my own. And if another woman had become a NASCAR driver and killed a man, and subsequently, all women were banned from professional motorsports, my failed dream of being a monster truck driver would be impossible; even for my idealized self. I wouldn’t be able to blame my son for breaking promises I made to myself, I’d have to blame other women, and that’s a bigger step backwards for feminism than any underrepresentation ever will be.