Big Eds Blog - Grid Girls
I read over the weekend that Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds, a Catalan political party, has attempted to implement certain dress codes for grid girls - as well as having equal numbers of 'grid boys' to girls, known as gender neutralisation.
The role of grid girls is something that I've seen batted around on the likes on Twitter over the years, it's always something I pay close attention to but I don't believe I've ever publically commented.
Firstly, I think it goes without saying that I love this sport and want to make sure it is as inclusive as possible, for men and women. It is, however, undeniably true that a racing paddock is very male-orientated - from the riders, to the mechanics, to the fans. I absolutely want to see more women on the grid, wearing leather in the form of a one-piece race suit, not a skin tight dress.
Although, I must say one of the opinions that I very rarely see exposed on social media or on news websites are from the grid girls themselves. As you all know MCE Insurance bring 'The Selfie Squad' along to every round of the MCE British Superbike Championship, they're our Grid Girls and I love them dearly. I've had the privilege of speaking to them at length over the last few years and they're wonderful, intelligent and most importantly absolutely love what they do. They're not there for work experience, they're not starting on the bottom rung of the ladder, they're there because they want to be - and I'll be completely honest they make far more money than me in the process!
Jordi Manils, the party spokesperson, told radio station Cadena Ser Catalunya that the role of grid girls is 'not fitting of the 21st century' and not 'modern and egalitarian' - I would love to know the opinion of the grid girls on whether they regard themselves as a 'simple object', I don't think they do.
The majority of grid girls that I know have full time jobs elsewhere, their work at the weekends is just to earn some extra cash for whatever reason. A number are still in education paying for their tuition, saving money for their next adventure, or even just looking for a bit of pocket money on the side. I guess it all comes down to freewill, if you want to ride motorbikes then crack on. The same goes for if you want to be a rocket scientist, a doctor or a motorcycle mechanic. Want to be a grid girl? - as long as you're doing what makes you happy and you're being treated fairly in the process then the world deserves to be yours for the taking.
Personally, I don't think the absence of grid girls will result in a sudden influx of girls getting interested in the sport - however I completely agree that we need to find a way to show the world that this sport is inclusive of everyone and a fantastic thing to be part of.
16.05.2017 - Big Ed