A few incidents on my adventure to restore my little bug have left me very angry and disappointed with the automotive world. I know it is rare to see women in the automotive world, especially in the world of classic cars. I know it is a male dominated world, and I know that not too long ago it would have been unheard of to see a woman working on a car, but it’s the 21st century! Woman can and do know about cars and work on cars, and the blind sexism I have faced have pissed me off the the max.
Two specific incidents set me off and left me highly disappointed in the world.
The first was when I went to O’Rielly Auto Parts to get oil and a new seals for my little bug, it was over due for its first oil change. My boyfriend went with me. The men working the shop were nice, but once they heard what we were working on they became very talkative and curious, like any good car man would. However, they were directing the questions and comments at the wrong person. They kept looking at my boyfriend and asking him the questions. He kept saying it’s not my car, it’s her car and directing them back at me. They would look at me briefly and then continue to ask him questions. What can a girl not know things about cars? Despite the fact he would ask me for answers, they never once directed questions to me.
My second problem arouse just a few weeks ago at the Pomona Swap Meet. I don’t recall what the name of the vendor was, but it was one of the bigger more major vendors. When I first walked up, again I was with my boyfriend, they immediately walked up and asked HIM if they could help him. We had not looked at what they had yet, so I told them I was not ready. After viewing what they had I wanted to purchase some new fuses, my tail lights, and ask about a window regulator. I waited over 20 minutes and they never once came up to me. They helped people around me, but even while trying to get their attention they would avoid eye contact with me. Needless to say, I left empty handed.
Sexism around cars is nothing new to me. I have experienced it my whole life, but I guessed I figured it might have changed a little when I’m the one with money in hand looking to do business. Despite the struggles I know I am going to face on this adventure, it just makes me even more determined to do a kick ass restoration and prove everyone wrong.