First they came for the Grid Girls

13

On Saturday night of August 31st, Bendigo stadium was packed out with spectators watching Jeff Horn take on Michael Zerafa.

The lively audience became clearly disturbed upon the sight of fully clothed men holding cards to indicate the rounds, replacing the usual card girls. This decades old tradition of card girls was done away with in Bendigo on Saturday night and replaced with ‘fight progress managers’. This decision was made after the fight promoter, Dean Lonergan received pressure from Greater Bendigo City councillors, Yvonne Wrigglesworth and Jennifer Alden, who are also members of GBC’s ‘Gender Equity Working Group’, to not feature card girls between bouts.

Wrigglesworth and Alden objected to the use of card girls as “token trophy women” reminiscent of arguments made in protest of grid girls at the Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne and other host cities. Lonergan capitulated to the will of the two counsellors/activists from GBC but conceded the obvious inconsistency of the action stating:

“Ironically four women will be fighting tonight (wearing less clothes). It shows [the protesters’] agenda is more about headlines than equal opportunity.”

Also noted was the lack of objection to the ‘objectifying’ of the men who replaced the card girls. ESPN associate editor Jake Michaels reported that Lonergan’s decision to use male fight progress managers “did not sit well with the capacity crowd who constantly booed and jeered them” and added

“(T)he prolonged crowd protest left organisers scrambling, and in the second last fight of the undercard, the girls were handed back their jobs. They were met with a huge cheer from those in attendance as they took up their place ringside”.

This is yet again reminiscent of the controversy that was set off in reaction to the banning of Grid Girls at Formula One’s Monaco Grand Prix where, in 2018 organisers were pressured into performing a spectacular backflip on the banning, in defiance of Formula One’s owners, the ironically named Liberty Media Corporation. The New York Times reported that following the decision made by Monaco’s Grand Prix organisers, Russian GP organisers joined in “saying the women would also appear at its race in September”. Promoter of the Russian Grand Prix, Sergey Vorobyev affirmed this position by stating:

“We do not want to give up the girls… (t)hey are wonderful. We are developing creative approaches that will allow the girls to remain next to the cars”.

Such sentiments are understandable given the experience of Monaco’s 2015 trial of grid boys to replace grid girls. Driver Sebastian Vettel jokingly voiced his opposition at the time stating:

“Why didn’t we have any grid girls today? What was that? F**k! You get there and park behind George or Dave. What’s the point?”.

F1’s managing director Sean Bratches explained in a statement that:

“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”.

“At odds with modern day societal norms.” Source.

Who exactly defined these societal norms and just how widely shared they are in greater society remains unclear.

Much of the arguments that oppose grid girls and card girls are based upon the idea that women are being objectified and that their presence at such events in this capacity is demeaning as they are reduced to nothing more than physically attractive props for men to fawn over. This line of argument usually holds that the celebration of their physical beauty means necessarily that men are simply incapable of seeing them as humans. Coupled with this is the notion that these women are there only to compliment the dominance and prowess of these male athletes and/or drivers.

So, if the central issue is women being objectified then the problem must be that men are incapable of finding women attractive and simultaneously viewing them as humans, which is a bizarre suggestion given the amount of men in relationships with women that they must have some level of physical attraction to. Yet the central claim of these activists is that the men in the audience of these events are seeing these women as nothing more than complimentary pieces of garnishing with no real human value. Well, where is the evidence of that? Show us how the 324,100 attendees of the 2019 Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne can’t understand that the grid girls – as physically attractive as they are – are not capable of having personalities? Has anyone interviewed the 10 million people who illegally streamed the Dante Wilder vs Tyson Fury fight with regards to their views on the card girls? Do the 325,000 pay per view customers think that card girls are devoid of all mental activity that makes them human? Maybe a small minority do, but why must the whole practice be done away with by this assumption?

Why is it so difficult to understand that many men can view physically attractive women, find the sight of them appealing and simultaneously know that they are still people with personalities and aspirations and worthy of respect?

Another factor that can’t be avoided is that fact that these women are partaking in these activities voluntarily. Many feminists may view this as internalised misogyny rather than actually try to understand the reasoning behind the girls’ choice to partake in these sports, albeit in a complimentary manner. And this is the key word here: ‘complimentary’.

If we follow along with the line of thinking that suggests that these women place themselves in a position to accentuate a man’s prowess and status, isn’t that a perfectly reasonable and respectable thing to do? Shouldn’t we respect a woman’s right to voluntarily partake in this manner? For millennia men have overwhelmingly been the ones who have built structures, hunted and gone to war to create and defend civilisations. Humans have always venerated the men more capable of being able to achieve these requirements of survival by granting them status within their respective communities.

The only thing new about this phenomenon is that humans have created a comfortable enough living that we are able to play out our primal urges in arenas of sport rather than desolate wastelands and battlefields. After 600,000 years of evolution it stands to reason that many women may still feel inclined to compliment the feats of these men who have toiled so vigorously to achieve the skills that have earned them their high status in their respective proffessions. Who are these feminists to insist that these women don’t have a right to compliment these men in whatever manner they see fit? Maybe these women have different reasons entirely for participating in the manner they do, and that’s perfectly fine. But no feminist can decide what is demeaning to these women. It would only be demeaning if they were forced to do it, or equally, forced not to do it which of course begs the question, who actually has more respect for these women and their choices? Clearly not Greater Bendigo’s ‘Gender Equity Working Group’.

Sadly, what goes unmentioned throughout all of this, is the destructive effect that this style of activism is having on greater society. Rates of suicide, anxiety and substance abuse among men is skyrocketing out of control as a result of this insane war on masculinity. By denying men every possible outlet with which they can enjoy their life, there is a very real and ominous effect on our social fabric. Men are instinctively hard wired to enjoy feats of strength, speed and skill while also finding the female body aesthetically pleasing to the eye and sexually appealing to the loins. There’s no avoiding it, we won’t apologise, and no amount of social engineering is going to erase this evolutionary galvanised reality.

It’s time to start looking into the socially detrimental effects that denying men of things that they instinctively enjoy is having on our wider community. Men can’t help but enjoy high end competition and the sight of sexy women. None of us should be made to feel horrible about it and be stripped of our self-worth as a result of our evolutionary instincts. Women are not made to feel horrible because they feel affection towards cuddly animals and show preference towards comfortable surroundings. As feelings of self-worth among men decreases, their behaviour becomes erratic and destructive.

This might be where most writers on this subject would refer the reader to the Beyond Blue page, but I’m going to instead refer you to my earlier piece on why you should start learning to the fine art of boxing immediately. We need to be brave enough to call this out for what it is: A systematic attempt to deny men of any and all enjoyment in their lives that has nothing to do with the liberation and/or betterment of women. This attempt is launched by sociopaths who evidently have no regard for the outcomes of their activism but rather relish in the ability to force their will on an unwilling population.

It is incumbent upon us to resist.

Be steadfast and courageous. Show up to as many fights, races and games as you can and be sure to heckle, jeer and boo at the first sign of the methodical, calculated and sinister attempts by these vile sociopaths to deny you of your God given right to be a man.