Earlier this week, 23-year-old Arab-American racer Tony Bredinger announced that she will make them NASCAR Truck Series Debuting with TRICON Garage at the Kansas Speedway event on May 6th. As a Victoria’s Secret brand ambassador, Breidinger will be sporting a pink and black VS branded livery for the event – and it’s about damn time. We need more motorsport sponsors like this.
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Allroh listen to me Victoria’s Secret isn’t perfect. It has a long and complex history of promoting unhealthy standards of beauty for women, and I’ll be honest: it’s not even really the best place to shop for lingerie. There’s a good chance you’ll find the bras expensive, not particularly comfortable, and somehow ill-fitting No matter what size you try on. But at this point I have doesn’t matter. People recognize Victoria’s Secret. They realize that this isn’t a brand that caters directly to the traditional depiction of A Big Manly Man.
However, the comments on TRICON’s Instagram post announcing Breidinger’s entry into the sport proved exactly why this type of sponsorship is necessary if we are to make racing a more hospitable place for women.
“I mean. If Monster gave us the Monster Girls… do you know what I’m getting at?” wrote one user.
“If the team doesn’t change the ‘y’ in Toyota to a thong, I’ll give up marketing all race teams,” said another.
Other comments envisioned explicit scenarios involving female drivers. Still others questioned Breidinger’s credentials, even though she was most winning woman in USAC history.
I’ve spent several years doing the roll from Women In Motorsports, so it’s not surprising that male fans have once again found a way to turn an inspirational announcement into an opportunity to objectify women. (There are, for example, several Men above the internet begs for an opportunity to sexualize the drivers of the new all-female F1 academy, even though many of those drivers are underage.) But the only way to weed out these mindsets is to keep seeing women competing – to encourage them queuing up to accept more women-focused sponsors and more drives in top-level competition. The naysayers will remain, but their voices will be drowned out by the results of women who race regularly and finish well.
A Victoria’s Secret sponsorship would always make a splash in the male-dominated sphere of motorsport – and I think that’s a damn good thing. Women don’t have to bend over backwards to fit the masculine image of motorsport; We have to start carving out a bigger and bigger niche until the naysayers are forced to eat their chauvinistic words.