A friend of mine pointed out an ongoing buzz in the Indy racing world, where the main regulators of the sport have mandated a minimum weight limit for each vehicle/driver combination. One driver, Danica Patrick, believes that the new mandate is pointed directly at her. At 5'2" and 100 pounds she's the lightest driver on the circuit by about 20 pounds.
And boy oh good'ol'boy, are the male drivers in a tiff.
Claiming that her weight gives her a significant and unfair advantage in racing (you know, demonstrated by the fact that she hasn't actually ever won a race), several male drivers have petitioned hard for this minimum weight ruling, some even refusing to race with Patrick until such a ruling was in place.
Patrick (rightly) feels that she's being penalized for being a small woman in a primarily male-dominated field, and that the weight restrictions are one more form of bullying to keep women drivers from succeeding as anything but a PR sound-byte in racing.
When I first heard about this, I had very mixed emotions. First I wondered how much difference 20 pounds (or even 100) could really make in a 3200 pound car. Since I don't follow car racing at all, I'm still not sure (although the head of the Indy Racing League states that it doesn't make any significant difference). Then I thought about how this might actually level the field, as all drivers under 200 pounds would need to add weighted ballast to the car to bring the driver/vehicle combo up to the minimum. They've been doing it in horse racing for many, many moons to make up the difference between the weight a horse is assigned to carry (their "handicap") and the weight of the jockey (who often live in a semi-permanent state of anorexic dieting to stay under weight limits).
But the more comments I read from bloggers and commenters, the more I'm convinced that this is pretty much a pacifier move for the boys who want the feminists to think they allow girls in their club, but don't actually want them to be competitive.
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