Essential Car Care for Girls: Why books like this make me angry

Zara Rabinowicz Tech

Zara Rabinowicz column.jpg
Zara Rabinowicz writes…

Today a press release popped into my inbox. ”Essential Car Care for Girls’ it screamed. Fair enough, I thought. I objected slightly to the fact that the book is pink and targeted at girls (surely drivers are considered women?) but I could let that go, and dismiss it as another irrelevant release when the next sentence caught my eye.

‘Women are now ready to get their hands dirty and take control over their own cars,’ said author Danielle McCormick. What? I repeat what?? And this is written by a woman/ I mean GIRL?

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Now I don’t pretend to be the savviest person when it comes to cars, but equally I don’t stand around fretting about breaking a nail when something needs doing. After all, I managed to get it together enough to buy my car (after a couple of weeks research with Parkers guides and some bad experiences with the sale ads in Loot).

Seriously though, I don’t need a woman wearing stockings ogling a half naked model on a car to help me learn about my engine. That’s what you call a manual, or at a pinch, Driving for Dummies. What will a book about car-care aimed at women teach me exactly? How to apply lipstick using the mirror whilst checking my blind spots? I think not.

Here’s a useful quote from the books blurb.

‘It’s amazing that in an era when no-one would bat an eyelid at a female prime minister, president, army officer or doctor, the thought of a woman confidently changing the tyre of her car would be laughed at… ‘

Really? To start with, getting Hilary into the White House DIDN’T happen, and provoked a helluva lot of debate in the process. Next, are you saying women doctors are somehow an aberration? Grr. Moving on.

If I went around dressed like Paris Hilton or Jordan changing a tyre would look laughable, but then they probably get their chauffeurs to do that for them. Should I just sit back and wait for a man to come and save me? It seems I must have been, or else why would such a book be given shelf space? Voila, now I can do something with my life and not just depend on others.

It’s no surprise then that this is her FIRST book (and last?)

Welcome to 151 pages of info on your car about teaching a ‘woman (so we’re not girls anymore? I’m confused) everything she needs to know about her car, from how her car works, the car and the environment and car maintenance, checking air pressure and oil, to when things go wrong such as changing tyres, what to do if you breakdown and what to do in the event of an accident’.

Gosh, that sounds jolly useful, I could never have come up with calling the AA or RAC all on my own. Thank god I now have a guide to save me! Now if only I could read…

Seriously folks it’s book like these that give women in technology a bad name, and mean that I have to put up with being treated like some silly female all the time. And the fact that it’s pretending to be tongue in cheek and is written by a girl/woman? Words fail me. I didn’t want to preach sisterhood or girl power, but honestly Danielle, have some SELF RESPECT.

Rant over.

Zara Rabinowicz writes for Shiny Shiny and Kiss and Makeup and has enough trouble being blonde in a technology world without people writing books like this.

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By Zara Rabinowicz | September 18th, 2008

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