Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Vehicle Sex

I’m listening to a song where a woman is being related to as Africa reminding me that countries, at least in English, are referred to as women. If men were referred to as countries, would we be trying to dominate them? Let me rephrase – would men be trying to conquer them? Why did countries become female? Or if they always were – when did we learn not to respect them? And determined that they had to be dominated and controlled? Nations are not women, nor ships, nor cars for that matter. Vehicles are not she – not in my case, my vehicle is a he, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Maybe calling a ship “she” back in the day was in respect as a mother carries us in her womb – to safety. So has the meaning become corrupted? If cars were truly female, how should they behave? Do they always start up when you need them to or do you have to give them special things to get them going? Are flowers and candy the car oil to get it to go? And if cars are female, shouldn’t just women be working on them? Isn’t going to a male mechanic like going to a male gynecologist? If it’s female parts, only females own the direction manuals. If that’s not the case, then cars must be male. Should we then be feeding them pizza and beer?

Maybe how we see cars is how we see our life partners. There are the men who polish and buff their cars – some even have cars with giant “bras”. Are the women in their lives as high-maintenance as their cars? Perhaps that’s what they like – someone to dote over. I don’t own a high-maintenance car. I don’t want a lot of fuss. I don’t baby it. I give it the maintenance it needs. It’s efficient and practical. It has rust and dents but it works and gets me where I need to go. I don’t need it all the time but when I want it to run, I want it to run. It’s the longest lasting relationship I’ve had. We’ve been going on 20 years.

As for countries - I wonder, if countries have the personification of “she” like vehicles, then are countries, at least in the English language mind, vehicles themselves? Is the constitution the driving manual and the citizens the driver? And what kind of drivers are we? Does the sex of our vehicle matter? If our country is still a she, maybe she’s the mother who birthed us after our founding fathers had their way with her. And if she is, what stage of life is she in. Is J.F.K.’s speech 40 years ago, “it’s not what your country can do for you but what can you do for your country” an indicator of our country’s age? She sounds like she passed middle age back then – that time frame where the kids should be acting like adults and not running to mommy for everything. Is our country post-menopause? (Pun intended) Are we taking care of our mother in her later years after all she’s done for us? Is she wondering why we don’t call more often? Considering voter participation in the past, maybe we aren't calling enough. Has the Senate and the House become the county’s nursing home? If so, maybe we should be looking in on them more often instead of just reading the progress reports.

If we truly considered our countries, ships, and vehicles female, why isn’t she putting up more of a fuss? Guess it depends on the kind of female. However, in this gender neutral world, can’t we choose whatever sex we want? I think Lady Liberty would agree.

1 comment:

moving said...

This I love! I have felt the pains of jealousy over my boyfriend's car which gets a four hour wash and wax and i get a peck on the check. He also is one to spend hours online looking at cars...as much as some other men spend looking at porn. I have accepted that i can't change this about him and have grown to be "okay" with it as long as the car is named after me.