Woman vs Female. There Can Be Only One
I was reading an article today about a driver. I don’t even remember who it was about because I got mad as soon as I read the phrase “woman driver.”
I don’t necessarily object to playing the female card in relation to my driving. It’s an advantage I have as it makes me stand out. Playing up my female-ness also means that other drivers may underestimate me. There is nothing I like more than people having a preconceived notion and then blowing them out of the water. And anyway, I like being a girl. In many ways we have more options than men. I can go to my day job in a theatre and play with pretty clothes and make up, but then the next day I can don my race suit and get dirty and for the most part, society doesn’t really think twice. But you take a male racer and throw him into the world of theatre and dance costumes…yeah people are going to judge him. I could make a comment about how that indicates that women and the work we traditionally do, the clothes we traditionally wear, etc are still looked down upon as being less than valuable, but that’s a whole other Oprah.
What I really want to talk about is GRAMMAR! Though I taught English as a Second Language for a while, I do not profess to be your Grammar Homecoming Queen. However, if journalists are going to make a gender distinction when it comes to drivers I implore them…please, please, PLEASE do it correctly! If you go way back in the way back machine to your 5th grade English lesson, you’ll remember that an adjective describes a noun. For example, “loud exhaust,” “broken shock,” or “expensive engine.” The correct word to describe my gender is “female”. Setting aside the notion that “driver” doesn’t need to be qualified at all, I should be referred to as a “female driver,” not “woman driver.” “Woman” is a noun and it can not describe another noun. Similarly, my pal Tut Cote of Tut Tech Racing should be referred to as a “male driver,” not a “man driver” (but even saying that, don’t you feel kind of dorky?).
Look, I appreciate the differences between males and females. Why do you think I love a good Alpha male? I do my fair share of all girl racing, from MORE’s annual Powder Puff to raise money for breast cancer research to the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles, a 9 day rally through the deserts of Morocco with no GPS. And on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the greatest level of annoyance, I’m at a 5 at being written about as a “female driver.” It can be a bit exasperating, but it certainly does not inspire a DEFCON 1 alert.
Just don’t call me a “woman racer.” I’ll hit you with my grammar stick and the grammar stick leaves no dangling participles.