Since when did cars become gender-specific?

OK, I’ll admit it. If I see a guy driving a bright yellow Toyota MR-S, I might judge him a little. Or if I see an older man in a fire-engine red Corvette. Or if I see a young woman with short hair, tapered jeans, and a Harley Davidson shirt in a gigantic Chevy truck. Yes, I judge. But the long and short of it all is that we all do. But when did it become socially unacceptable for a man to drive a Miata?

Granted, I’m writing this from the perspective of someone that races cars, appreciates what’s under the hood as well as the lines and curves, and has seen gender-bending drivers throughout my travels. But I suppose that the same ideas hold through no matter who or where you are.

That being said, when I think of “girl cars that men shouldn’t drive,” a very specific list comes to mind. And on that list are Miatas, MR-S’s, Jettas, Eclipses, and generally anything that is “cute.” Cabriolets, Solstices, Skys (I don’t care how fast they are)…anything two seater and a convertible (aside from the S2000 and vintage cars) is generally a no-no. Come on guys, you won’t want us ladies to think you’re a pansy. I know it’s not fair, since convertibles can be fun, but when you see a young “tough guy” pulling away in his Celica convertible, you just have to wonder. What kind of guy thought that a Celica convertible was manly? I’ll give it to you, there are some very nice cars that fall under GIRL, but generally, these aren’t them.

And sometimes the car is fine (or more acceptable than the aforementioned list, but still kind of lame), such as a Chevy Cobalt, but then the color is terrible, which can matter just as much. Blacks, graphite, silver, white, green, some reds…those are acceptable. On the poor-choice list is yellow, orange, baby blue, and purple, among others. My personal opinion, as far as yellow goes, is that if you are going to own a canary yellow car, it had better be fast enough to earn that color. Lamborghinis and Ferarris fall into this category.

It isn’t just guys though. Girls cross the gender lines too (admittedly though, with far less consequence). If I ever saw my mom driving up in a Chevy 2500 truck, I might run for cover. That would be the equivalent of my dad driving up in a tank. Girls on sportbikes are acceptable, while girls on Harleys or Choppers get the reputation of being tough. Rolling up in a giant tinted SUV on dubs and chromes might get funny looks too.

In defense of the gentlemen that prefer a two seater and wind in their hair, I do appreciate the man that can drive any of those cars well. I race with several guys that drive Miatas, and they’re phenomenal drivers that usually have a lot of fun. I know single women that own massive tow vehicles because they have horses, or a race car, or a boat. And I have known guys to turbo those cars, which turn into monster machines. There are always exceptions to the rule…..HOWEVER, I won’t lie: if a guy were to pull up next to me in a stock Eclipse Spyder and try to hit on me, I might laugh.

Despite all this judging, I still maintain that the idea that a car is mostly about enjoyment. I don’t believe in cars strictly for transportation, and I firmly adhere to the idea that it’s not the destination, but how you got there that matters. That being said, I tip my hat to the gentlemen and ladies that choose to defy society’s norms. With that, I wonder: What do people think of me and MY car?


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