The Monster Energy girls made their debut in NASCAR Victory Lane Sunday at Daytona International Speedway, and some folks aren’t exactly happy about it.
Winner Joey Logano had barely finished spraying his celebratory champagne after winning the season-opening Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona before the internet exploded with reviews – both positive and negative – of the Monster girls’ all-black, form-fitting attire.
“I can't believe the sanctioning body stooped that low,” said one indignant Facebook poster. “This is family friendly? Boobs and leather? I know a lot of people who would not take their families if sights like this become the norm.
“NASCAR has (always) had beautiful women,” she continued. “But this is just downright SLUTTY!!!! As slutty as it gets.”
“Are we going for (the) porn star look?” asked another fan. “Leather bustier, Really?”
|Daytona's Monster Energy girls|
Yesterday’s Monster Energy girl outfits were admittedly more revealing than those of their “Miss Sprint Cup” predecessors, who wore stylized fire suits during Nextel/Sprint’s decade-plus run as NASCAR’s top entitlement sponsor. Monster Energy is a hipper, edgier brand, tailored to appeal to a younger audience. As such, it was expected that their Victory Lane representation might be a bit more… provocative.
The Monster Energy girls wore full-length black leggings Sunday at Daytona, with high-top boots and open-shoulder leather tops. No bare midriffs, no short-shorts, no thong bikinis.
As one Tweeter remarked, “I’ve seen more cleavage at Wal-Mart.”
Sunday’s Victory Lane attire was – in this writer’s personal opinion -- far from “slutty.” In fact, it was less provocative than many of the outfits parading outside my hotel balcony today on The World’s Most Famous Beach. But my opinion doesn’t matter all that much, since what is acceptable to one observer is “slutty” to another.
“The problem is that the ladies worked so hard to be reps for NASCAR and are being relegated to eye candy again,” said one fan via Twitter.
|Linda Vaughn set a high bar.|
That point of view is valid, but it is also somewhat lacking in historical perspective.
Since the earliest days of the sport, trophy queens have been part of the NASCAR experience. Since being named "Miss Queen of Speed” at Atlanta International Raceway" in 1961, Linda Vaughn has graced Victory Lanes at motorsports events around the globe. Now a youthful 73 years of age, the universally acknowledged “Queen of the Trophy Queens” remains a familiar sight in the NASCAR garage. From the outset, Vaughn was more than just a pretty face. She was (and still is) an intelligent, knowledgeable authority on motorsports who knows more about the machinery being raced than many of the men racing them.
Today’s Monster Energy Girls – like Linda Vaughn before them – are more than just pretty faces. And they do not deserve the “slutty” tag so flippantly bestowed upon them by some observers.
|Lady Gaga: demeaning?|
I recall no outrage two weeks ago when Lady Gaga showed up for work at halftime of the Super Bowl in an outfit far skimpier than those worn by the Minster Energy girls at Daytona Sunday. No one seemed offended by her choice of apparel, and many jumped to her defense (rightfully) when a small band of internet trolls criticized her for sporting six-pack abs that were not well enough defined for their taste.
Virtually every professional sport has cheerleaders on the sideline, complete with outfits skimpy enough to make the Monster Energy girls look downright overdressed.
Was Lady Gaga being “exploited” at Super Bowl L1? Was the presence of scantily clad cheerleaders demeaning to women and young girls? And if not, how can that possibly be the case for the Monster Energy girls?
There are a million different opinions on this topic; none of them any more (or less) valid than the others.
And that, my friends, is the problem.
From bikini to burka, there are lots of options out there. And with such a wide variance of opinion in terms of what people find acceptable, who gets to decide what is “too much” when it comes to Victory Lane attire?
In the end, Monster Energy does, along with the young ladies who don their chosen attire on Sunday afternoons. And that, unfortunately, leads to a certain degree of indignance among the fan base.
I am the proud father of two adult daughters. And as such, I have always encouraged them to be whatever they wanted to be in life. Doctor, lawyer, teacher, firefighter… or Monster Energy girl. The choice should be theirs, and theirs alone.
If we truly believe in the empowerment of women, we cannot have it any other way.
Make your own decisions, live and let live. It’s what we do in 2017.