Mr freya walton
The story of a sexist man and his porsche cayman
“I tell you what… I’ll take you out in my Porsche Cayman to give you a bit of experience.. I think you need it, you don’t seem to know what you’re doing.” Sorry, what? These are the words of a man who, while leaning on a bar to keep himself upright, began to tell me that I am a bit clueless when it comes to the subject of cars and the motoring industry (despite the fact that I did not ask nor care for his opinion).
Women face oppression every day for different reasons… but in the motoring industry it can be brutal and I am no stranger to it. I really really love cars. I think about cars all day, I talk about cars whenever I can and I have grown up surrounded by inspiring, motivating car enthusiasts like my father. I am 20 years old, I drive a 2002 Honda Jazz and wait for it… I’m a woman. What a SHOCKING combination. I am also a firm believer that women can do whatever they want, even if it involves throwing themselves into a man’s world. Most of the time I can have a great conversation with men about cars, we can discuss our favourite manufacturers, preferred engine types, new launches and The Grand Tour without there being any judgment or sexism present at all. However there are some men who cannot quite get their head around the fact that a young woman may know a little bit about cars and might even be able to challenge them to a conversation about it.
Is it down to lack of female presence in the motoring industry? Is it the fact that motor sport is dominated by men? Or is it just general sexism that hasn’t been wiped out yet? Whatever it is, I felt it in a bar the other night. Previously to my encounter with these men, I had received a motoring press package for 2017. It was addressed to ‘Freya Walton, Her Automotive’. However instead of being addressed to Miss Freya Walton, it was addressed to Mr Freya Walton. When I saw this, I rolled my eyes and chalked it up to a funny typo. But after my evening of desperately trying to defend my feminine corner (difficult when the man working behind the bar starts to join in too) I realised that maybe it could have not been a typo, and perhaps whoever addresses Newspress letters does actually assume that everyone who needs a motoring press package must be male. Surely not. But still, it got me thinking. We are starting to teach girls that they can be and do anything they put their minds to. Yet it seems we are still teaching boys that, in some cases, girls can’t join in. Bizarre. And the outcome of this is a young aspiring female motoring journalist (who knows she is more than capable of keeping up with the boys), having to deal with men who assume that women just don’t know as much. I can guarantee if I had been a bloke, I wouldn’t have been challenged and doubted in the way that I was.
Does it surprise men when I join in a conversation about hybrid cars and turbo engines? When I can justify why I love a Lamborghini Murcielago SV? Absolutely. I’d like to shout out to the many men who chat to me without doubting me. Maybe I’m over reacting. Perhaps some women don’t particularly mind keeping their voices quiet even when they know what they are doing. I, however, like to be heard.
To the patronising man in the bar… No I do not want a ride in your boring Porsche Cayman… But thanks for the offer.