- Written by webmin
There are some countries in the world, very rich ones, that insult women by denying them driver’s licenses, not just the right to vote or go to school. Maybe the despots that run those places understand what we learned long ago, that cars can make people equal. In recognition of Women’s History Month, here’s a museum exhibit that proves it.
“Women Take the Wheel” is a self-guided gallery display that runs through the end of March at the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, highlighting both the roles women have played throughout automotive history and the societal impact of the automobile through a women’s history perspective. As the museum notes:
When automobiles were introduced, replacing traditional horse and buggy transportation, the idea of women operating state-of-the-art automobile equipment was met with opposition by male members of society. On March 7, 1908, Cincinnati mayor Mark Breith, explained before the city council that “women are not physically fit to operate automobiles.” Victorian women were often viewed as too fragile to deal with public affairs, participate in strenuous activity, or operate complex machinery – such as automobiles.
The automobile, first a symbol of male power and control, became the perfect vehicle for feminine revolt. For women, the automobile provided opportunities for work, invention, adventure and independence. Victorian women of the early nineteenth (that should be Twentieth -ed.) century were able to openly revolt in auto racing, then considered a male only sport. One such case of revolution was Violette Morris, an early auto racer. Violette was so passionate about auto racing that she voluntarily had her breasts removed in order to more comfortably fit behind the wheel. This is only one example, out of many, when Victorian women with passion and determination fought to earn an equal position with men in the automotive realm.
The above photo, showing a group of ladies putting out of a Buick retailer’s shop in 1905, typifies the nature of the exhibit. Call 717-566-7100, or get yourself to www.aacamuseum.org to find out more.