Men, motors, markets and women

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'See 500 sexy models reveal all.' This Motor Show slogan provides a graphic reminder of the traditional role of women in car culture – as adjuncts rather than drivers. Stephen Bayley’s 1986 essay ‘Sex, Drink and Fast Cars’ typifies 'man's relationship' with his car as being all about power, as it is articulated by designers, stylists, advertising creatives and marketing professionals. For Bayley, a woman in a powerful car is 'at once titillating and de-masculating' and represents 'an overt sexual statement.' [1986, pp. 32-3] The fact that this feeling is mutual is suggested by the female journalist who admitted: ‘ who are ambivalent about driving are not attractive to me. And it’s not just me.’ [L. Cross, ‘Driving Miss Crazy’, Guardian, February 28 2000] The masculine dominance of car culture is sustained even though increasing numbers of women drive and work as car journalists.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAutopia : Cars and Culture
EditorsPeter Wollen, Joe Kerr
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherReaktion Books
ISBN (Print)978-1861891327
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2002


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