5 Ways Professional Sports Reinforce Sexism


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Formula One Grid Girls
The grid girl for Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 on the grid before the U.S. Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on Oct. 23, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Lars Baron/Getty Images

In December of 2017, Formula One (F1) floated the idea of getting rid of grid girls, the promotional models who stand alongside the track, carry the drivers' name boards and, well, sexualize the sport. Grid girls, opponents say, are an outdated tradition and little more than a distraction. In addition, grid girls reinforce the notion that it's a man's job to drive the car, and a woman's job to admire him doing it. Just a month later, Formula One tabled the decision and said they wanted the grid girls to be more "fully integrated" into the racing experience. How that will happen remains to be seen.

For what it's worth, F1 has experimented with grid boys, though that was short-lived. And, past and present grid girls seem relatively happy with the experience. A former grid girl told the BBC in December 2017 that it's a tough job with long hours, but generally, they're treated well by everyone at the track and she never experienced any inappropriate behavior.

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