danica patrick’s indifference hurts women

The thing that frustrates me about Danica Patrick is that she doesn’t seem to spend a lot (or enough) time thinking about the fact that she’s a female and how doing those dumb GoDaddy ads affects other female athletes, and women, in general.

ESPN The Magazine’s first-ever Women in Sports issue, on newsstands FridayIn this video interview (below) with ESPN The Magazine (she’s also on the cover of their first-ever “Women in Sports” issue, on newsstands Friday) she says she doesn’t care what I or anyone else thinks because she has fun doing those ads. I get that she doesn’t think of herself as a female driver that has to prove herself but as a driver that wants to succeed. I totally get that, but the thing that I never quite seem to ever hear her say is that she can see other people’s perspective on those dumb, risqué GoDaddy ads and what it does to women.

I get that her perspective seems to be one of “I’m a driver” and it begins and ends with that, which is cool because she clearly loves to race, this is what she was meant to do and she’s doing it. But it becomes boring and disappointing when you can’t see outside of that and acknowledge that there’s more to your story than just that.

She has this huge platform that she could use to empower & support women and young girls, but instead her indifference hurts them. It’s the whole reason why I’m indifferent to her.

To be clear, I know that she’s talented and can be very successful in NASCAR. Her ability to race isn’t something I question. I truly believe that she has the ability win some races at some point, but I personally find her inability to look beyond herself disheartening and extremely frustrating. I’ve also found that she never really takes the opportunity to even mention the many other female drivers in both NASCAR and IndyCar today, to just say that the thing that makes her so unique in racing isn’t becoming that unique anymore.

6 Comments

  1. Theresa
    May 29, 2012 at 5:24 PM ·

    I agree. I will be jumping up and down like everyone else when she wins a NASCAR race….however she has been a disappointment. There is no requirement to be a role model, however it would be nice. Looking forward to seeing and hearing about other female drivers. Who are they? Where are they? Are there any African-american female drivers out there? I want to know about them. Valli tells us about them.

  2. Marcy
    June 2, 2012 at 4:38 PM ·

    Valli, I have a question have you ever gone to the godaddy website and watched the internet versions of the Danica ads?

    At no point is she ever nude or scantily dressed. In the TV ads they insinuation that she’s gonna take her clothes off, they try to imply that she will because her sponsor demands it BUT if you go to the website and watch the internet only ad you see the twist and the punchline that Danica never appears in the scanty costume in the TV ad. Yes the TV ads are of a somewhat misogynist tone and the internet ads have the most idiotic sexist male characters in them but Danica like Jillian is never nude, never compiles with the agent or ad producers desire that she strip down. Neither woman appears nude or comprises her personal values.

    Why is there an expectation or even an requirement that Danica be a role model or that she set an example for future female drivers. That right there is what is wrong with this world – expecting one person to carry the torch and please and meet every other person on the planets bizarre expectations.

    Going back the the godaddy ads, I actually made my sister watch the internet followups. At first my sis declined “I don’t want to see her nude.” My sister assumed that Danica appeared nude in the internet followup. She like many women assumed wrong because of her own assumptions and issues with female sexuality.

    Uh do you real think Danica Patrick, media powerhouse, would appear nude on camera? Seriously? So my sister watched all of the followup internet ads and said “those are cheesy but no worse then the Doritos ads with beautiful women or the Diet Pepsi ads.” Very true.

    We all KNOW that advertisers use sex or implied hyper-sexuality to sell products and services using both male and female athletes and celebrities. Do we really think that the athletes or celebrities are writing the copy for these ads? Do we really think that once they’ve signed an explicit legally binding contract which probably says NO NUDITY they will do any ad where they are nude just because. No.

    Let’s be honest the Dale Jr Wrangler’s ad where he talks about how the jeans don’t pinch or bunch and have a U-shaped crotch are insinuating that Dale Jr is packing an extraordinary weapon in his pants and that these jeans coddle his nuts. Please note that the shots in the Wrangler ad tend to make sure that Junior’s crotch is the focal point, placed where the eye will naturally travel to repeatedly. Where is the whining about Junior selling his sexuality and letting all men down. The Diet Pepsi ad featuring Sofia Vegara where she dances with a litany shady men in order to reach the waiter whom to see says something about really wanting. Essentially Sofia allows her body to be manhandled and fondled by these repulsive men all in her quest to reach a can of soda. The Diet Pepsi should equally be as offensive as many women assume the GoDaddy ads to be.

    Too many people are placing unrealistic and very puerile constraints on how Danica can market herself and how she can maintain her credibility. We do not place these same constraints on male athletes and they do try to use their sexuality and virility to sell us products.

    Danica, she’s in a male dominated sport and she wants to retain her femininity while trying to succeed and too many women interpret that to mean that she cannot if she chooses be attractive or sexy if she wants to be taken seriously. Really? Who made up that rule.

    The Danica Godaddy ads aren’t sexy, they aren’t insulting, they are just very very bad puns or plays on how dirty the viewers mind can go. Which is to say if you think that Danica sold herself short and that she appeared nude then you the viewer have an issue while Danica doesn’t because she never comprise her morales. Again, she doesn’t not appear nude or scantily dressed and moreover Danica usually gets the “gotcha line” of the ad. We women make too many assumptions about other women (too much makeup, too little makeup, bad hair, good hair, too fat, too thin, too opinionated, too quiet etc) to such an extreme that we collective hamper the advancement of all women.

    We women really need to stop expecting every other woman to represent our personal viewpoint. Represent your own viewpoint and have respect for your fellow females and allow them the same courtesy of personal expression.

  3. Kelly O
    June 4, 2012 at 3:41 AM ·

    It’s not about whether or not she is actually nude or scantily clad in the “explicit” versions on the website. She’s using her sexuality to sell her sponsor.

    When you Google her name, you get pictures of her in skintight fire suits for everything from Go Daddy to milk. There’s one Go Daddy ad with her wearing one of those aforementioned tight suits looking up with her mouth slightly agape at a pair of women’s legs in nothing visible except black high heels. One of the images is of her in a black bikini and heels laying across the hood of a car. There are several sets of her in bikinis and heels in provocative poses.

    Now, let’s Google Dale Earnhardt Jr. images, shall we? Him in his normal race day fire suit. Him in a t-shirt and jeans. His car. Him in a suit jacket at some media event. At the race track. Even one of him as a little kid.

    Okay, Carl Edwards. He works out, he’s done magazine covers without a shirt, right? There is ONE image on the first five pages of images of him without a shirt. All the others are of him in fire suits, t-shirts, at the track, his car, one of him and his wife all dressed up.

    The point is – male drivers are not using their bodies to shill for their sponsors by promoting overly sexual images the way Danica is. Especially for someone who claims she wants to be taken seriously as a driver, gender notwithstanding.

    So, I only compared guys. Google Simona de Silvestro (currently driving in IndyCar) – look, she’s in her fire suit at the track, t-shirts. There is ONE image of her in an undone firesuit. Same number as Carl… Pippa Mann? Yeah, a couple of her in dresses, but mostly fire suits.

    The point is, Danica is talking out of both sides of her mouth. She says she wants to be just another racer and not have her gender be a factor, and yet it seems every marketing decision she makes exploits the fact she’s a reasonably attractive, hard-bodied woman. Oh, and she races.

    It’s not about having other women respect my personal viewpoint – it’s that her actions and her words don’t match. I don’t want my daughter looking at her and thinking that is the way you need to behave to be successful, should she decide to become a race car driver one day.

  4. June 4, 2012 at 10:18 PM ·

    I don’t think the way Danica allows herself to be marketed is nearly as bad an example for young girls as the Idio… ahem… Cope twins. That’s all I’m saying about that.

    Anything else I would say, Marcy put it much more eloquently.

  5. Jessica
    June 13, 2012 at 3:24 PM ·

    Danica’s not the first one to use her body to market… Carl Edwards shirtless on the cover of Men’s Health? The Kasey Kahne commercials where he’s stalked by women who are attracted to him? And those are just a few examples from NASCAR. Have you ever thought that Danica doesn’t want to think about it, because maybe, just maybe, she feels like the more attention she draws to it, the more people will give her a hard time about it? It’s like racism. Ultimately, the goal is to be able to acknowledge ability without having to qualify it as “female” or “african american”… Do you think Jaun Pablo Montoya wants to always talk about his racing in terms of how it makes the latin community feel? Sheesh!

  6. todd t
    August 11, 2012 at 11:31 AM ·

    first of all i think you all take things to seriously I love her in heels i love the commercials, it shows that she has a comedic side, or as we would say a sense of humors. There are actresses who are bad influences but no one seems to complain about them.