I bet you read that title and thought, hmm, is this post going to be about how 1999 Toyota Corollas are kickass cars? Though I am an avid spokesperson for the ’99 corolla brand; this post will not focus on that today. Note, I said today so hang around and you may just get that post sooner than you think. So why entitle the post “My ’99 Corolla is The Feminine Mystique”, you ask? Well, sit back and get comfortable so I can explain!!
I’m sure we are all aware of the peculiar tendency human beings have to give their car a name. My sister Christa, for instance, once had a car she called Betty. Then there’s the famous Mustang, Sally; she was great. There’s also been Christine, Eleanor, and good ole Lucy. My list could go on, really. And though normally it is associated with nicer cars, poor people can claim that ridiculous activity too. Because I’ve only ever come into contact with people driving cars around that are a little banged up, pretty old but something to be proud of nonetheless; and they almost always come with a name attached. However I find it kind of funny that it is almost always a woman’s name. I’ve never had someone respond their car is named “Mike”, “Hank” or “Chad”; which is not to say it doesn’t happen. But more often than not, the car is referred to as a she and therefore gets a name associated with that gender. Why is that?
If you boil it down to its most basic reason, I guess you could say it’s because women are viewed as a sort of possession, whereas men aren’t. And calling objects or possessions “she”, or a stereotypical female-gendered name, reigns true in many instances. Think about it; we refer to boats like they’re women, countries as women and many other mechanical objects. It’s been commonplace in society to gender objects as female, it is almost never male, for decades. While some may argue it’s not all bad, for example, justice is identified as a female. And okay, yes, that’s kind of badass. But what is justice? An object, an ideal. Weirdly enough, it is not a human. Not a person. Not a woman.
So, being the human being I am, one with far too much time on their hands, I wanted to analyze this. What possible reason would objects be gendered as women? Besides the obvious reason, which is essentially because women have always been looked at as objects, whether it be sex-objects or mere objects of possession (Which is essentially what heterosexual marriage is my friends, how else can you interpret the reason marriage was even popularized in society. I mean marriage is so deeply rooted in the patriarchy, it legitimately stems from the idea which perpetuates institutionalized inequality between genders, as women were referred to as a man’s property.), women are a not only a thing but a thing that which can be controlled. But perhaps when you really boil it down, maybe it’s because the object is not fully understood and/or not fully under the control of a man.
But this is not only the fault of men, women must take part of the blame too. Granted the root of the problem started with men, it continues with women. Women have had to accept the fact that objects are viewed almost as our equals and have resigned to it. Which is why, when someone asks what I call “her”, when they refer to my car, I respond “The Feminine Mystique”. Not only because it’s badass, and also gender neutral, but because it brings attention to when the constant mistreatment and discrimination against women was brought into the mainstream. Sure, the reference is a little outdated and some of the contents of the novel aren’t necessarily applicable in today’s society; it is a book that matters. If you’ve not read it yet, as a woman and perhaps more importantly as a man, you will never truly understood how far this country’s come in making strides for women to be equals to men or understand how much more we have to do.
I know in the grand scheme of things, naming your car is harmless and not an attack on women. But the practice is so deeply rooted in patriarchal ideas that it’s more sinister than you may think. Until we start treating women with the same respect men get, we will never be equals. So why not start with something as simple as this.
Well, thanks for letting me get that off my chest. And please feel free to tell me I’m doing too much, and I need to relax; Id love to hear it! I won’t listen because I have every right to be as bitter as I am, but it’ll entertain me and make me feel like people actually read this blog. So, give me your worst. Or chat with me if you’d like to add to this discussion. Till then, friends.