Social Question

Blackberry's avatar

Why the separation of cars for men and women?

Asked by Blackberry (31011points) October 8th, 2010

Apparently I’m less of a man for entertaining the notion of driving a Mitsubishi Spyder convertible (not that I could get one, but if I had the choice).

Some people like to think men should buy more manly cars and the same for women, but what determines if a car is feminine or masculine? Disregarding the cars that everyone drive (Honda), what are some feminine and masculine cars and why are they labelled so?

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16 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Because neither gender can possibly like anything made for the other or anything the same – you know, differences are hard-wired and the like ~.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I’ve often wondered this myself. For example, a mini-van is considered a middle-aged mommy car and most men let’s keep in mind that these are college age guys I’ve met wouldn’t be caught dead in a minivan. The way I see it, if it runs, doesn’t give you problems and fits your purposes, who freaking cares? I drive a Honda Fit, my boyfriend drives a Dodge Stratus. Why do we drive these cars? Because they were cheap and ran when we needed them. I think if you want a Spyder and you can afford it, go for it!

YoBob's avatar

@ucme Hey, where’d you get a picture of my car!?!?!?

Actually, around these parts, if it ain’t a truck you might as well be wearing a dress.

jerv's avatar

The Eclipse used to be a manly car, but when they bulked up and ditched the AWD, they became “girly”.

Personally, I am secure enough in my masculinity to have driven a Saturn SW1 and not be embarrassed. The only cars I consider “girly” are the later model Eclipses and the VW Cabrio since everyone I’ve seen driving them is either female or so low on testosterone that they may as well be.

ucme's avatar

@YoBob….....sorry YoPenny, i’d lose the parasol. Not “manly” enough! :¬)

wundayatta's avatar

Market segmentation and efforts to sell more cars.

Scooby's avatar

I guess whoever dis’d you over your choice of car was pulling your leg…. Nice btw, I can see one on my drive in future ;-)

mrentropy's avatar

I dunno. The only car I consider “girly” is the VW (faux) Beetle. And that might have a lot to do with the flower that comes with it. And the VW Rabbit Cabriolet. And the Nissan Cube.

Otherwise, I reckon it’s all fair game.

Harold's avatar

There are certain cars that only someone who knows nothing about cars would buy, and that includes anything Korean. You see mainly women driving them.

Don’t know about US, but here in Australia there are certain cars that you avaoid in traffic, because they attract the worst drivers, male or female. These are Toyota Camrys, and Nissan Tiidas. Always assume they are going to pull out in front of you at an intersection, or wander across the traffic while the driver texts their friends.

My wife has a red Honda Prelude, which is considered a classic girl’s car, but I have no problem driving it- rather like it actually.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Because of marketing. It’s easier to sell a car if you tell a man that this car will make him a real man, and play into any gender insecurities he may have than to simply make a car that’s good enough to sell on it’s own. Female cars are usually not necessarily feminine so much as not considered good enough for the men; the rejects. Occasionally, advertisers will say that if a woman buys this car, she’ll be hot and hip, but not threatening or emasculating. Feminine cars may have lots of extras, like cup holders and nicer seat covers, to make up for a lack of quality under the hood because females are perceived as superficial and caring more about how one looks on the outside than how one is on the inside, putting vanity before substance. Because the extras are considered “luxuries”, the company can then tack on outrageous markups for them.

So how do you know if a car is masculine or feminine? You ask whoever designed the ad campaign for that car.

Fred931's avatar

I believe retro-themed cars, models more like Chevy’s SSR so-called “pickup” and HHR rather than the new Camaro and Challenger, appeal more to women because their style preference is lenient toward something more “unique” than a pickup truck, and the curvier, bubblier cars are like flowers in a field of shrapnel. However, there’s plenty of reason to say I’m badly biased for saying that, because I’ve seen soccer moms bumbling about the high school car line in Shelbys before.

I think deciding what is feminine or masculine in the automotive world is strictly up to the individual, therefore. Or, it could be from the average characteristics of the drivers of a particular vehicle that give the car its gender. Still, more opinion than fact in my belief.

jerv's avatar

@mrentropy The only person I know who owns a New Beetle is a big guy with anger issues, so I have to disagree with you on that one.

mrentropy's avatar

@jerv You can disagree. I knew an ex-marine that wanted one so badly he could taste it. But I’ve known far more women to drive them than men. Which is okay. I’m sure this is something that changes over time and in different areas. For instance, I met a woman the other day who owns a Challenger. She loves it. And she had just finished fabricating something or other so she and her husband could install a blower on some other car they had.

In other news:

There are different tastes all over the place so I expect different cars to be popular with different people.

Do I think cup holders are designed for women? Hell no. I remember when cars didn’t have cup holders. You either used the 200nm indents in the glove box or you bought one of those plastic things that hung on the side of the door.

As for car advertising, however sexist they appear to be now they have nothing on car ads from the 50s through the 70s. Do they influence how people think in terms of what gender should drive what car? Sure, a little. But it’s just like everything else. Dolls are marketed to girls and action figures are marketed towards boys. But, is that necessarily a bad thing?

I wasn’t there when Chrysler thought up the minivan. But would it be bad if someone there had said: “You know, my wife has it tough. She’s in the carpool with some other neighbors to drive kids to school every couple of days. After that she runs to the grocery store and spends a lot of time there and ends up with a lot of groceries. Then she gets home, puts that all away and does some cleaning. Then she has to go back to school and pick up the kids from soccer or baseball or football practice and sometimes she needs to take all the sports gear, for whatever reason. The car is really cramped when she has days like that and she wants something bigger. I suggested buying a van, but she says that’s too big and she’s not comfortable driving something like that. If only…. there was a type of vehicle that had plenty of room for people and a lot of room for storage but that drove more like a car.”

If the vehicle was designed for a particular group of people, (i.e. stay at home mom’s who encountered this situation), would it be a bad thing to target advertising towards them? And, really, no one is saying that those are the only people that can buy them.

I think it comes down to an individual’s idea, really. Then influenced by their friends and/or peers.

The new VW (faux) Beetle came with a flower stuck in the dashboard. But I was never really hot on the new Beetle because, unlike the original, the engine is in the front. Stupid? Sure. Judgmental? Yeah, I’m sure. I’m not a flower guy. Would I buy a Challenger if it had a plastic daisy stuck in the dashboard? Absolutely. I’d just get rid of the flower.

Was this long and rambling enough for you? Good. I’m hungry and don’t want to make dinner, so I’m a weeeee bit crabby. And, frankly, I don’t know if it makes any sense or is even related to the question anymore.

perspicacious's avatar

I haven’t joined the club that assigns gender to cars. If you like it, drive it. wait, that sounds funny

jerv's avatar

@mrentropy I am thoroughly entertained now. Thank you!

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