It’s A Boy! So Stop Calling My Car A She!

Published January 4, 2012 by jrm17
It seems that every few months my check engine light comes on and I have to head to AutoZone (okay, it’s like always a gas cap thing but it’s really annoying).  Last night, it  happened once again.  While the guy was using his machine to see why it was on, he continued to refer to my Jeep as a girl.  It was she this and she that.  There’s just one problem–my car’s a boy.  I may have told him that and that his name is Grady.  And he may have replied that was the reason behind my moody light since girl’s are more dependable (good save, dude).  It got me thinking: Why do cars always have to be girls?

Okay, I get it.  Boys are the ones to normally name their cars and I guess it makes sense for his car to be a girl since it can be used as a girlfriend replacement (Or if you’re Dean Winchester, your car literally is your girlfriend).  I looked it up and Yahoo Answers! gave me a few different reasons.  A few were rather chauvinistic like because both females and cars cost you a lot of money or because they are both always giving you problems.  Others were more legitimate.  One guy explained that it’s because in Latin and Spanish, the words are feminine.  Another explained that in historical content, it was traditional for men to be in control of the car (or ship) and that it’s simply from their point of view.

But that shouldn’t always be the stereotype.  Both of my cars have been boys.  My PT Cruiser was named Nick after my dear Nick Markakis.  He even had some of Kakes’ temperment.  His locks would take like 5 minutes before they automatically went down while I was driving.  The PT was definitely as slow as Nicky.  Grady was named after Grady Sizemore, the center fielder for the Cleveland Indians (The dude can do like nothing wrong when he’s actually healthy).  Why is he a boy?  Because I am a girl…and he just doesn’t have that girl feel to him.  Granted, I have to take care of him like a boyfriend.  He gets moody and doesn’t want to accelerate so I have to do some sweet talking.  A lot of “Come on, baby.  Don’t do this to me.  You know I’ll love you if you go faster.”  Or he hears my problems like, “Grad, we are really screwed this time.”  Yeah, I’m one of those weird people who talks to her car when I’m alone.

I’m not the only one who names their car after boys that I know.  In high school, my best friend’s Camry was named Charlie.  He definitely was not a girl.  He was just this old, reliable wagon–kind of like an old dog.  But then again, her older brother’s girlfriend named Charlie.  We thought it was best to get rid of the girl and keep the name. And my family has had this old truck that has been around among owners named Old Blue.  He was just this old, beat up pick up.  There was not a single thing feminine about him.  He was a man’s truck and, therefore, he got a manly (I guess so) name.

Okay, so I guess we are a rare breed–those of us who determine that our cars our male.  Even my mama had a girl car.  But she kind of didn’t name her.  Back in the day, my daddy was on a semi-pro football team and he was called the Young Buck.  Ergo, my mama was the Buck-ette.  The Falcons all decided that her car was, therefore, the Buck-ette Mobile (Later, it was shorted to Buck-ette).  I’m not sure the car ever really had a dominate gender prior to getting the name but in the end, it was a girl.

Almost every car my daddy has had has been a girl.  He had Lil.  And then there was Flo.  Flo was a 1968 Firebird that we had until a few years ago.  She got her name because on the way home from picking her up from where ever my daddy bought her, she overflowed multiple times going back up the road.  My dad was telling me that other ones have never really had names but he would always refer to them as female when he was talking about or to them.  His current car–an H3–is kind of having an identity crisis.  My mom decided when we got it that it should be called The Hummingbird (in honor of our Aunt Odie), which seems like it would make the Hummer female.  Her cousin started referring to it as The Beast (I think this one fits better).  I think in the end (We’ve only had him a few months) he will be determined to be a boy.  There’s just something completely unfeminine about a Hummer.

However, in this conversation, my dear daddy seemed to have forgotten that he has owned a boy car.  When I was little we had this gray F-150.  I loved this truck.  So much so that I put a glow-in-the-dark Casper sticker on him.  Despite the fact he had peeling paint (partially the reason he got his name), that sticker stayed on there until the day we sold him.  His name was, of course, Casper.  Trust me, between the red vinyl seat and the peeling paint that left the white showing through, he was totally a boy.

No one else I can think of has ever been so decisive about their cars or else I’ve never had the conversation with them. I  found one article that said the most popular name for a car is Bessy.  This seems like an appropriate car name (Also, an appropriate name for a cow).  Others were the Love Machine and Muscles.  USA Todaysaid that only 2 in 10 people have nicknamed their car but 62% of people think you can tell something about a person’s personality based on their car (Okay, you can totally tell with Grady since he is covered in stickers). Either way, maybe I just lost my heart and become attached to easily but my car’s part of my family.  Plenty of people get attached to their cars.  It surprises me that more people don’t give their cars names…and that more females don’t refer to their cars as males.

Of course, me being me, I’ve got to take this to a sociological level.  Let me break down why saying all cars are girls is stupid for you.  Sex is biological.  Gender has no scientific reasoning behind it really.  Based on your anatomy, you are determined to be male or female.  Gender is pretty much how you are socialized.  We socialize those who have male anatomy into acting how our culture expects boys to behave at an early age and those with female anatomy gets socialized into being a little girl.  However, if we really wanted to, we could socialize those with male anatomy into a girl gender role and the opposite.  Therefore, the whole cars are girls thing is stupid.  Cars don’t have sex specific anatomy and cannot always be determined in a certain way.  Now, all cars have gender.  And that’s based on the opinion of the owner and those who are around the car and how the car is treated.  Cars can be boys.  They can be girls.  Some cars–like my mom’s Avenger–are genderless.  Just like people.

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4 comments on “It’s A Boy! So Stop Calling My Car A She!

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