Last week the Professional Darts Association got rid of the ‘walk on girls’ that accompany the players onto the Oche. Today the F1 are getting rid of the ‘grid girls’ that have become an integral feature of F1 racing for as long as I can remember.
As somebody who does not really follow sports I have always thought things like ‘walk on girls’ was a little bit silly. there is something quite sad about people who need to see a half-naked women in order to pay attention to an event.
But there is something serious at stake here. This is because these changes are indicative of a serious cultural shift. Is this a nasty ‘neo-puritanism’ or the dawn of an age of maturity?
On the one hand, the idea that perfectly willing women being stopped from pursuing a job opportunity is repellent. Yet it is easy to see that market forces are at work here. These are private institutions who have acted on their own impetus. There is something quite natural about these sports trying to ditch the macho image and present a more family-friendly facade.
There has been an initial outcry against these decisions as ‘feminism gone too far’. Yet, as is often the case, the truth is more complicated. Clearly, new attitudes to how women are portrayed are influencing these decisions. But it is debatable whether we really live in an age of renewed prudishness.
Whether this really is the ‘feminazi’ at work or an attempt to rebrand these sports I will leave you to decide. I will certainly not be mourning the loss of the walk-on girls.