Have you heard? Danica Patrick is the first female NASCAR driver with a snowball's chance in you-know-where to actually win the Daytona 500. What a fabulous day for womankind! Not.
Listen, y'all, I respect Danica Patrick's skills as a driver. No matter what the haters say, NASCAR is much more than driving in circles or making left turns all day. It takes true talent to maneuver a car at extreme speeds around other vehicles without killing yourself or others. But when my NASCAR-obsessed father-in-law told me he was going to give my daughter a birthday present emblazoned with Danica's number 10, I politely declined (props to my mother-in-law for taking my side).
My problem with Danica isn't her talent. It's the way she comports herself. Her Go Daddy commercials with their boob flashing and the sexual innuendo give me a bad case of the "I want to barfs." She's more or less raised a giant middle finger to the women willing to throw her some major girl power support for breaking the glass ceiling and going where no uterus has gone before. Society loves to sexually exploit women, and she's bought in.
I know that she has every right to make her money where she can. And I'm well aware that the companies that sponsor a NASCAR driver can be putting up hundreds of thousands of dollars that go into improving a car and giving that driver the big chance to take the lead in a big-time race like Daytona. Danica has every right to do what she's done.
And I have every right to decide she's not a good role model for my little girl, and refuse to root for her this weekend at Daytona. I'd rather throw my support behind a guy like Tony Stewart who -- besides his winning record -- happens to spend a lot of the money he makes on the track on charitable efforts (USA Today once named him the Most Caring Athlete). That's the kind of thing I can actually put in front of my kid and say "here's someone worth looking up to."
A win for Danica Patrick at Daytona would be nice ... for Danica. But it wouldn't be a win for womankind.
Are you a Danica fan? Why?
Image via Watermarked Photography/Flickr