Today in Daytona Beach, Florida, NASCAR held its annual Media Day. This is the kickoff to the 10 days of special events culminating with the Daytona 500 on February 26th. 40+ drivers held court with the media today to say the usual preseason sentiments.
“We’re going to build on last year and have a really great year!” “The team has really come together in the offseason. We’re ready to go racing!” “Our team is confident we will be in the Chase.”
“I don’t think reporters should describe female athletes as sexy.”
Those last words were spoken by Danica Patrick during her interviews at Media Day. Here is the rest according to Jeff Gluck of SB Nation.com
The NASCAR driver – and star of racy Go Daddy commercials – wondered aloud on Thursday why the sports media can’t come up with a better way to describe attractive women than “sexy,” which she believes has a “negative connotation” to it.
“You don’t say those things or frame it like that for a guy,” she told a large group of reporters during NASCAR’s annual Media Day. “But it seems like with female athletes, if they’re pretty, (reporters) only know how to describe them in a sexual way.
“And I don’t care, but I just wonder why we can’t talk about it in a different way. Why can’t there be other words for it? Why does there have to be somewhat negatively twisted?”
When a reporter asked Patrick what words she would suggest instead, the driver shrugged.
“You guys are the ones with words,” she said. “You guys are the wordsmiths. Just something without the word ‘sex’ in it.” (Gluck for SBNation.)
I’ve got a word for you, Danica. How about hypocrite?
These words were spoken by a woman who has carved out a career with her 6 inch stilettos and barely there bikinis. She is sponsored by GoDaddy.com and the star of many racy commercials for their site. (For those under a rock for the past few years, you can see all these GoDaddy commercials at Danica’s official website).
When you do a Google image search for “Danica Patrick”, there are only 5 pictures in the first 30 results that show Danica in her firesuit. There are 11 in the first 50. Honestly, if you’d looked at just those two Google image pages, you’d probably think she was a model instead of an aspiring NASCAR champion.
But, she doesn’t want to be called sexy. How can the media see her as anything else?
Let’s take a look at all of her on track accomplishments. Her best points finish in recent years was 5th overall for the IndyCar points championship in 2009. She won a race (fuel mileage) in 2008. She’s won three poles in her six year IndyCar career.
Most drivers that posted stats like that after 6 years would be parking cars at the track on race weekend. But, Danica Patrick has rides with two top teams in both the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup series.
Why? Because the guys love her and little girls want to be her. She will sell souvenirs and race tickets. There is no doubt that the IndyCar series will miss her for that.
Danica, it is too late for you to decide to get up on your high horse and call out the media for a double standard. You made your choice to market yourself by your physical attributes not your on track ability. Do you think that if you looked like me or any other average girl from northern farm country Illinois that you would have the opportunities and the career path that you do?
Not for a red hot second. Your on-track “talent” doesn’t quite speak as loud as your Louboutins.
Call me a hater if you must, but this is the EXACT reason why I cannot support Danica in her efforts. I don’t buy into the hype and announcers discussing her talent and accomplishments in racing that got her where she is today. (Read: Looks hot. We’ll keep her.)
In case you were wondering, I do believe Danica has a point, but she isn’t the one that can make it.
If these words were spoken by someone like IndyCar racing’s Sarah Fisher, I would be shouting my support for her from the rooftops. She is the role model, as both a driver and now part owner of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. I could be wrong, but I’m not sure she’s ever done a photo spread sprawled on the hood of a sports car.
In fact, when I did a Google image search for Sarah Fisher, a picture of Danica lying in the sand on a beach came up in the results.
I wish that Danica would have made better choices in her marketing strategy. She could have been the champion that women in sports need to make the exact point she tried today. Danica was right; there is a total double standard when it comes to how women athletes are portrayed.
Danica chose to ride that double standard to stardom. Takes all the power out of the argument, now doesn’t it?