- Getty Images
- Formula 1 has banned grid girls from the sport.
- The women, now unemployed, are taking one final stand on social media.
- A five-time F1 grid girl says the ban is “political correctness gone mad.”
- A stunt driver and former grid girl added that “a lot of women have lost their jobs because feminists think they know best.”
Formula 1 grid girls have been told to leave motor sports, but they’re making one last stand on social media.
Just a few days after the Professional Darts Corporation banned its walk-on girls, Formula 1 followed the same path by banning the use of promo models, commonly called grid girls, commencing with the start of the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.
The role of grid girls is to conduct promotional tasks on behalf of blue chip sponsors. They wear clothing bearing the name of the sponsor, interact with the crowd, and carry driver name boards on the grid.
In a short statement on the Formula 1 website on Wednesday, commercial operations director Sean Bratches said the custom of using grid girls “does not resonate with [the] brand values [of F1] and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms.”
“We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world,” he added.
Now, the women who have been left out of work as a result are fighting back on social media.
Rebecca Cooper, a five time F1 grid girl, said on Twitter that it is “ridiculous that women who say they are ‘fighting for women’s rights’ are saying what others should and shouldn’t do, stopping us from doing a job we love and are proud to do. [It is] political correctness gone mad.”
Cooper also implied that grid girls have been misrepresented and put together a photograph collage to highlight that women who work in her trade are not “scantily clad furniture” and that the outfits are more modest.
"Scantily clad furniture", "sexualising women", "provocative", "Id never let my daughter wear a grid girl outfit"… just some of today's comments, yet people clearly haven't dont their research as these are my outfits from my 5 years in F1 #gridgirl #gridgirls pic.twitter.com/etbcCPnCC1
— Rebecca Cooper (@rebeccageldard) January 31, 2018
For Michelle Westby, working as a promotional model in motorsports led to a successful career as a stunt driver and a drift racing driver.
— michelle westby (@michellewestby) February 1, 2018
“If it wasn’t for grid work / promotional modelling, I wouldn’t be where I am now in a ‘male dominated’ sport and job as a stunt driver and drift competition driver, inspiring and influencing females into this ‘intimidating male environment.’ I get girls messaging me all the time saying how I inspire them and made them want to get into racing and drifting when they didn’t think they would be accepted… What people don’t realise, is that the girls have knowledge of the products and teams they are promotion – that’s part of the job. We get a brief on the uniform but it’s up to us if we feel comfortable in it. We are more clothed than what teenagers wear down the supermarkets. I’m now retired but to think girls have lost a lot of important income because feminists think they know best, when they really haven’t got a clue, is frustrating.”
The Formula 1 season begins on March 26.