Following the lead of the Professional Darts Corporation, the Formula 1 professional racing circuit has announced that it will no longer feature promotional models called grid girls when the new F1 season starts on March 25, 2018. In a statement, F1 claimed that the longtime grid girl contingent no longer resonates with its brand values or current social norms, which may be another way of saying that it is sexist or a form of objectification of women.
“But while it might seem like a big step forward to some people, there are women across the U.K. who are being left without a job, regular payment and a career potentially in tatters,” the London Mirror observed about the elimination of the grid girls.
Formula E phased out grid girls in 2017 in favor of grid kids, and a spokesperson today satirically welcomed F1 to the 21st century, MotorSports.com reported.
“The role of grid girls is to conduct promotional tasks on behalf of blue chip sponsors. They wear clothing bearing the name of the sponsor, interact with the crowd, and carry driver name boards on the grid,” Business Insider outlined.
Seven-year grid girl Giorgia Davies, 25, a Miss England finalist who is currently on maternity leave in month seven of her pregnancy, took to Facebook to, among other things, imply that feminists are responsible for the job ban, something which she suggested reveals that they are anything but pro choice. She also explained that losing her job (to perhaps advance equality on some level) could destabilize her family income as well as the livelihood of her former co-workers.
“I am proud of my job…I am respected…I am paid well.. and I have managed to gain a professional reputation that has enabled me to make a career out of something I love…and since falling pregnant with my first child the thought of not having such a flexible income to go back to after my maternity leave worries me.”
In the lengthy essay that went viral, Davies went on to question the motivation of people whom she hinted were insecure activists.
“‘Feminists’…You’re not defending women…you’re actually defending women who are threatened by other women who are in a career that you know absolutely nothing about other than what you see on the exterior…and a career that we have as a woman by rights chosen to uptake. You’re eradicating a career that has taken years to get to the top of believe it or not and leaving women in a position of financial loss. That is not the true definition of what feminism stands for surely?…Should we wear a scuba suit daily so we don’t offend you because of your insecurities?”
“What will come next? Will you be telling rape victims it’s their fault for the actions they have endured for wearing a provocative dress also?” Giorgia Davies wondered rhetorically in her nearly 600-word post.
The grid girl also seemed to apparently be suggesting that the F1 cancellation came to pass because of an incident at the Presidents Club Charity Dinner in London last month when, according to Business Insider, attendees at an annual male-only, black-tie event allegedly groped and harassed hostesses. Davies insisted that the unrelated event provided no basis to penalize Formula 1 grid girls.
Several other former grid girls such as Michelle Westby and Rebecca Cooper also expressed their displeasure on social media with the Formula 1 decision to end the longtime presence of the models. In a detailed Facebook post, Westby noted that while initially earning extra money as a grid girl, she was able move on to the otherwise male-dominated stunt driving and drift competition driving professions. She added that contrary to perceptions, most of her grid girl co-workers have a strong interest in cars and racing and were there to advance their automotive knowledge base.
“I’m now retired from it all but to think girls have now lost a lot of important income because feminists think they know best when they haven’t a clue is really frustrating.”
In the tweet embedded below, Cooper attributed the grid girl ban to excessive political correctness.
So the inevitable has happened, F1 gridgirls have been banned. 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 ???? #Gridgirls
— Rebecca Cooper (@rebeccageldard) January 31, 2018
Traditional ring girls, roughly the equivalent of the Formula 1 grid girls, will still be a staple of professional boxing and MMA matches, however, at least for now.
In the clip from British television below, watch a discussion about so-called walk-on girls who, as alluded to above, were previously banned from the darts competition prior to the grid girls ban.