This is the second article in a three-part series by Amelia as part of Women in Motorsport Month.
Misogyny doesn’t just exist at the highest levels of our sport; it is also constantly present in the fan community, changing the way that we are perceived simply because our gender does not correspond to the expectations of others.
I asked some of the leading women in the online community about how misogyny presents itself in the fan community.
Often, people will assume that women only like a particular driver or team because they think the driver is hot. There’s nothing wrong with finding drivers hot anyway, but the assumption that this is the only reason a woman would like a driver can be painful.
In addition, if a fan has their profile picture set as their face on, say, Twitter, and they have an opinion a male fan disagrees with, they often get insulted for their looks and for being a woman – and maybe told she knows nothing just because she’s a woman. On the other hand, when a guy says something that people disagree with, people just insult their driver and not the fan to the same extent.
‘The label of ‘DTS stan’ is the most annoying thing: you could have liked F1 for 50 years or 50 minutes; if you’re a fan, you’re a fan – end of. Even if a girl likes a driver because they find that driver attractive, so what? Let them.’
‘I think it depends on the person, but it is very harmful and discouraging for new fans to see labels such as ‘DTS stan’. We have all seen how Lando has been spoken to recently in regards to having girlfriends, including by the press. It also shows that objectification still occurs.’
‘I can’t say how many times I’ve been written off as ‘just another Norris fangirl’ (I’m not even a particular fan of Lando), or ‘DTS stan’. It seems like we aren’t taken as seriously because some men who are motorsport fans don’t think that women can have complex knowledge of the sport, or can’t understand how we could enjoy it. It sucks sometimes but I try to surround myself with people that aren’t like that and educate people who are.’
‘When men see that a woman is interested in Formula 1, they often interrogate them with stupid questions, doubt their knowledge and intelligence, and claim that women watch motorsport because “the drivers are attractive”. Labels like DTS stan hurt women because they are used to belittle women and make them feel as though they’re not true fans of the sport.’
‘I think misogyny presents itself in motorsport fan culture the same way it has presented itself in fan culture as a whole for decades. People forget that the Beatles were mocked all the time for having a large fanbase of young women. Societally, at least in America, people have a tendency to hate teen girls, and therefore anything remotely attributed to them (in this case certain drivers) become the punching bag.
‘People also have a preconceived notion of a ‘fangirl’: that they are stupid, and incapable of understanding things beyond the surface level. This is why so often we see the label ‘DTS stan’ thrown around, used to imply that fangirls are unable to understand and appreciate motorsport beyond flashy lights, dramatic TV editing, and pretty men. Which, frankly, is so funny to me, because I have never seen people go on long rabbit-holes learning about something obscure in the way ‘fangirls’ do.’
‘We consume the sport in the same way as everyone else, and we’re a hugely significant section of the fan community, yet women are constantly questioned and challenged for their knowledge and commitment, facing impromptu knowledge quizzes and regular assumptions that we know less than we do. When we get something wrong or express an unpopular opinion, it’s linked back to our gender rather than ourselves as an individual. We can never just be fans; we are always female fans, as if that means we require extra qualifications just for people to believe we love our sport. It’s unfair, and it’s misogynistic.’
- Jodie @formulawah on Twitter; “I would like to work in the media side of F1”
- Charlotte @purplesector50, @fseries__, @charlotte_lines on Twitter; “I am a social media content creator for PlanetF1 and want to work for a motorsports team.”
- Alice @alicewheels on Twitter; “I am an aspiring race engineer”
- Elodie @ElodieGP on Instagram; “I aspire and am working towards working in motorsports (not necessarily F1) as a journalist or working with digital media.”
- Giota @seimeiseb on Twitter; “I want to be a race strategist”
- Grace @gwaceb on TikTok; “I am just a fan!”
Amelia Taylor is the author of “formulaAMELIA” details at formulaamelia.com
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