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Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness. Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.rainfallpress.com/

Sunday, February 24, 2013

You Go (Daddy) Girl!

"I was brought up to be the fastest driver, not the fastest girl." ~ Danica Patrick
I am so not on the Danica bandwagon.  I guess, per our society, I should be, because I'm a girl.  Just like all the blacks are supposed to be loyal to President Obama, all Latinos are supposed to be fans of George Lopez, and all writers are supposed to worship Hemingway.
danica patrick 06 1024x768 Danica Patrick Pictures Collection
Do I think Patrick has an advantage because of her gender?  I don't know.  I've looked at it from a dozen different angles. Weight (a silly, completely untrue theory), natural reactive skills, the hottie factor.  
I have a decent knowledge of the sport, and yes, I've had my "go girl!" moments, locally and nationwide.  But while I'm all for anyone who swaths out a path for others, it doesn't need to be based on gender, color or anything else other than talent and skill.  And Danica just hasn't shown to be a woman I want to admire nor celebrate. 
Sure, she has wins and statistics that are impressive by most standards, but for me it's attitude that determines a winner.  For the longest time, especially she transitioned into NASCAR, nothing was ever her fault.  When learning to drive a new class of car, there's a learning curve. Rather than learning gracefully, it seemed she was always in the face of another driver, accusations being screamed about. 

In my experience, the girls who go about proving they're a badass simply because of their gender completely disprove the above claim made by Ms. Patrick. 
A fellow Facebooker stated this evening, "Teach young girls they win when they're the best, not because they're 'undervalued' or face overwhelming obstacles.
My reply, "I agree, but the thing is .. I don't think she does."
What I really wanted to say was that while his intent was a positive one, by bringing attention to the topic of "a girl being on the pole of Daytona" he actually ended up being one whom he was speaking out against.
We have many women racing at our local track, but two in particular that I am great fans of, not because of their gender but because one is a good driver, and one is a great driver.  What stops the one from being a better driver is that yes, she does carry a "the boys are picking on me" vibe.  The other gets out there and races.  That's all.  And she is brilliant to watch. 
There was, at one time, a 17 year old girl who beat my husband in overall season points by just one.  I laughed for ages about the notion that this girl went out and kicked the asses of all the middle aged men around her.  And it wasn't because she was a girl.  It was because she was a driver of great skill.

Does it help or hurt that Danica Patrick is the
GoDaddy girl?  Well, I'm all for anyone who uses their looks in our shallow society to get ahead.  Use what you've got.  Exploit yourself to your heart's content. 
But then don't complain when it comes back and bites you in the T&A, and undervalues your skills.  I do believe that she got the sponsorship she has based in parts on her marketability, which is easier to accept when it's an American Idol contestant, not necessarily an athlete.
To prove I'm not gender biased, I think Jeff Gordon has also cashed in on his pretty boy looks, and yep it took him a long time to convince people he had the skills to back it up.  Admittedly, I chuckled at my brother's comment that it's the first time in history that two girls were starting the Daytona in the first row. 
If Patrick wins the race, I do believe it will be based on her skill.  But her arrival to the pole, I'm not so convinced.

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