Formula 1 cans sexy grid girls, NFL and NBA cheerleaders probably next
For decades, dozens of grade-A hotties stood on the Formula 1 race tracks. They’d perform promotional duties and escort racers to their marks, but more importantly, they were the eye candy essential to a male-dominated sporting event. At least, until they got axed.
This past week, Formula 1 announced it would no longer be employing “grid girls,” calling the practice inappropriate and contrary to social norms.
Which begs the question: how long will NFL and NBA cheerleaders survive until those leagues come to the same conclusion?
“While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 Grands Prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms,” Sean Bratches, Formula 1’s commercial chief, said in a statement. “We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”
Grid Girls will be replaced by Grid Kids next season.
Many women celebrated the announcement as a feminist victory. The ladies who lost their jobs, however, felt differently.
"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
Former grid girl Rebecca Cooper called the decision “political correctness gone mad.” Grid girl Charlotte Gash said she was “disgusted.” Grid girl Sophie Wright explains she was “really disappointed,” especially because no one bothered to "ask the girls who are doing these roles how they feel about it... I feel this decision has been made on their behalf."
However, this hasn’t stopped supporters from pushing for a ban on babes throughout the industry. Women’s Sport Trust, a charitable organization dedicated to raising visibility for female athletes, hopes the decision spreads to sports famous for parading around near-naked ladies.
“We strongly encourage sports such as cycling, boxing and UFC to follow darts and Formula 1 and reconsider the use of podium girls, ring girls and octagon girls,” the Women’s Sport Trust said in a statement.
Thank you @F1 for deciding to stop using grid girls. Another sport making a clear choice about what they want to stand for:— Women's Sport Trust (@WomenSportTrust) January 31, 2018
“We feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms.” https://t.co/Rrwxf5VcjY
Sports giants like the NFL and NBA may be next to feel the feminist pressure. In the wake of domestic violence cases among several NFL players, the league’s treatment of women (and their abusers) came under scrutiny.
Critics argue that cheerleaders in lingerie calendars imply that women's only suitable role in sports is to be a sexual prop. While they’re intended to “lead cheers,” their sole purpose seems more for television close-ups of their tits and ass.
“What purpose is NFL cheerleading serving other than dehumanizing women and entertaining the male gaze with ever-shrinking costumes?” asks Vice.
There is also well-documented evidence that professional cheerleaders are wildly underpaid. Lawsuits brought against several NFL teams seeking minimum wage indicate that the women were sometimes paid with nothing more than a game ticket and parking pass.
It seems the golden era of girls in glittery booty shorts dancing on the sidelines of every major sporting event may be nearing an end.