Finally we can drive!!!
From the school of thought that brought you mansplaining and pens for girls, Cosmopolitan – known for their sex tips and lipgloss advice – and Seat have teamed up to create a car specifically for women. Since it is so difficult to be a good driver when you are a woman because your period might impinge upon your ability to parallel park and operate heavy machinery compared to a man, women across the country were clearly delighted by this new innovative product.
This is not a drill, this is actually happening.
Now, thanks to the Mii car you can now drive a car that will accommodate all your feminine needs. Features include a handbag hook, lights designed to appear as though they are wearing eye liner, a Cosmopolitan tramp stamp (just in case you forget who is responsible for this monstrosity) and a panoramic sun roof designed to help you tan.Except none of my actual needs as a woman will be met by this car. Where’s my tampon dispenser? There are absolutely no actual practical advantages to this car that will make a woman’s life easier. It still does the exact same thing as your more edgy and dangerous man car with its huge and cumbersome steering wheel that I couldn’t possibly control with my weak woman hands.
Cosmo and Seat have been working on the design for the car for two years – two fucking years- and this is what they’ve come up with. A Cosmo story to accompany the launch of the car said: “They [women] want something that’s agile, and easy to park and drive. But they also want a car that looks stylish and cool, and suits their personality.” It comes in ‘candy white’ and purple, with extra mirrors and a handbag hook.
There is certainly an argument to be made that this endeavour began with good intentions, but as much as I would love to be channelling Regina George’s ‘cool mum’ in a ‘violetto’ car that will only happen when hell freezes over. This is such a ludicrous concept that when it was announced some people thought that it was a joke. Doesn’t that say it all?
This is just another example of the casual sexism surrounding the image of the female driver. Jokes about female drivers persist despite the fact that there is evidence to suggest that women tend to be better and safer drivers. According to one study women are more likely to drive safely and less likely to engage in reckless driving than their male peers.
The mockery that has ensued on social media is therefore unsurprising as the issues of gender equality and the challenges of redefining how we approach them have become especially important in recent years.
It is so out of touch that it is making me think that Cosmo lives in the 1950s and little to no understanding of the concept of feminism. For a magazine that specifically targets women, its lack of perspective is shocking, and although some women will probably love the car and its various features it doesn’t detract from the fact that this just reinforces gender roles and stereotypes that are to the detriment of all.
Author: Saskia Bamber