Is "ladies day" condescending?

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This topic contains 27 replies, has 18 voices, and was last updated by Gingertipster Gingertipster 5 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #1401795
    Bachelors Hall
    Bachelors Hall
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    I was initially provoked by the appearance of “fashion twat” on ITVs Cheltenham Festival coverage and my ire was supplemented by Rachael Blackmore’s interview.

    During the interview, Alice shoehorned gender into the conversation with Ireland’s second winningmost jockey this season to which Rachael responded (paraphrase) “the female thing is done”. Rachael clearly yearns, and in most instances I hope, earns respect and recognition as a jockey without the prefix. Which leads me to wonder if legitimate female racing fans feel similar sentiments.

    In my eyes, Ladies Day evokes a demeaning premise that women can only really experience a day at the races if it involves daft hats, long glasses and fashion shows. Otherwise they’ll feel utterly lost, bored and out of place.

    I don’t think any other sport uses such a trope to appeal to the female sports fan. Rather they tend to promote their product to women by presenting an environment where women watch the show alongside men as equals along with making liberal use of female talent on screen, on stage and within the industry.

    Horse racing has the latter in spades with highly capable jockeys, trainers, breeders, journalists, clerks and stable staff. As such, it’s baffling that racing still chooses to appeal to the lowest and most banal stereotypes.

    #1401815
    Gladiateur
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    And yet it appears to work. I read somewhere (can’t remember where) that women make up 39% of racecourse crowds, far in excess of other sports.

    I find the whole “Ladies’ Day” thing patronising and pointless (and I’d hesitate to describe the tanked-up, screeching, high-heeled harpies you see at many racecourses as “ladies”) but if it gets bums on seats, racecourses won’t care.

    #1401843

    greenasgrass
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    Yes, it’s condescending. But these people- and their male equivalents (you know the ones I mean – suit trousers that are too tight and too short- the better to reveal shoes worn with no socks; some form of fashionable facial hair and a ridiculous flat cap on top) serve a useful purpose. They hand over their money at the turnstiles the same as thr rest of us and spend a lot at the bars, helping to make racing viable and convince ITV that showing racing is viable.

    Handily, there is almost zero crossover with racing fans. I went to both days of Down Royal’s NH festival in November. There was a healthy sized crowd in the bars and buildings but I was able to get right up to the paddock rail with my little daughter to see the likes of Delta Work, Road to Respect, Balko des Flos and Samcro parading and take photos. I could put her on my shoulders and easily make my way through the scant number of people to the walkway down to the course where we could’ve reached out and touched the horses, and from there to the grandstand or to the rail by the last fence. Then back to the winners’ enclosure to see the horses- and all the famous trainers and jockeys- close up again. Loads of space everywhere I really wanted to go because a large chunk of the big crowd are not interested in such things.

    #1401845

    greenasgrass
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    It’s interesting what a narrow demographic the betting ads are targeted at. Young and exclusively male. From the pretentious “my instinct tells me this horse has a chance” one with the Cillian Murphy- alike in it to the humorous “or at least a width” one, you rarely see a woman in a betting ad and if so it’ll be the likes of the Whip Crack Away “lads lads lads” scarlet heeled one or suchlike. I think the big betting companies are afraid to advertise to women in case it contaminates the image of betting they want to sell to men.

    #1401900
    Cav
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    I dont think theres any intention on the part of racing, or the racecourses who hold them, to condescend to, or demean women by holding Ladies Days.

    Women themselves should be the ultimate arbiters on whether they find these events agreeable, and judged by turnout and participation most do. People like to get dressed up on occasion! To the best of my knowledge theres no dress code at Cheltenham anyway, so attendees dress how they like (within reason).

    Granted I do see how the standards imposed on women who attend the five days of Royal Ascot, could be a nightmare in the planning and logistics department.

    Completely agree on the gender references. “Female” jockey, “the girl beats the boys” etc…

    Tiresome.

    #1401956

    chestnut
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    Completely agree on the gender references. “Female” jockey, “the girl beats the boys” etc…

    Tiresome.

    Got to agree and always perpetuated by Francesca Cumani

    #1401976
    phil walker
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    In the days I went racing as a fan/punter I found Ladies Day at Aintree the most annoying and frustrating. For me it sent the signal to all the ….women (I was going to use another term there) of Liverpool to go racing even though they knew nothing about the sport, wear barely any clothes, get drunk, make a lot of noise and generally be a total nuisance.

    I doubt my views will gain much support, but to answer the question the term Ladies Day is condescending.

    #1402035

    clivexx
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    Its just a marketing tool. Harmless and no one minds. its nice enough term. Not as if they were calling a day for the disabled …”raspberrys day”

    Its the easiest sport to get a lady (or whatever) along to. If you want her there of course

    #1402041

    greenasgrass
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    Oli Bell wins the cringe prize today. To paraphrase “Lizzie Kelly, you have a vagina and so does Bryony Frost!! Amazing!!!!”

    Though it was McCoy who trotted out the usual line when women jockeys happen to win more than one race in a day: “the girls are dominating racing”
    Err…they’re not. They may eventually, if riding and training becomes a less and less attractive career option for men, and owners have no choice but to place the majority of grade 1 prospects downwards with female trainers and put female jockeys on them, till over 50% of Cheltenham winners are trained and ridden by women.

    I hope it gets to a stage where enough different female jockeys have won enough big races for the “It’s a girl!!” angle to be a boring non-story. Then they can ignore it, or at least just shove the mic at the unfortunate who is the prettiest one and treat the rest normally.

    #1402049
    patriot1
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    Two subjects.

    Like them or loathe them, ladies days are incredibly popular so racecourses would be crazy to do away with them. I believe Perth’s is on course to be a sell out again. Of course we want every racegoer to be passionate about what they are watching but as long as they contribute to a good atmosphere I don’t mind.

    As for the lady jockey thing, this is 2019 so there should be no distinction between the sexes. However as long as there are trainers and owners who will not put female jocks on board we have to keep pushing their interests forward. How Lizzie Kelly doesn’t get more outside rides is beyond me.

    Greenasgrass, I’m not sure what you mean by saying that females need racing to become a less attractive career for men in order to succeed. They just need more opportunities and they should come for positive reasons not negative ones.

    #1402065

    clivexx
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    It’s a commercial sport at the end of the day so that’s it precisely

    Rather that than 100 moaning old gits from weatherspoons

    #1402071

    LD73
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    Not really for men to say whether it is or not – at the end of the day racecourses need to get people (of all demographics) through the gate and if that is by having a meeting labelled ‘Ladies Day’ or by doing a themed race days then so be it.

    It might be that women are initially attracted to a day at the races for being an opportunity to have a girls get together but even if it is just a small percentage that then enjoy the racing experience of the day so much, it encourages them to come back again and again then it is surely a worthwhile venture.

    I know from experience that my mum (in her early 60s) has very little to zero interest in racing (bar a punt on the Grand National) but she really enjoys a day out at the races (we usually go to Sandown but have also done a Windsor evening meeting too) and a big part of that is going to the paddock to watch the horses walking round – she has a very highly scientific way of picking the horse she will bet on, which is whatever one looks her straight in the eye as it walks around the paddock (I kid you not).

    Needless to say the results are very much more miss than hit :-) but she never turns down the chance to go whenever possible.

    #1402083

    greenasgrass
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    Greenasgrass, I’m not sure what you mean by saying that females need racing to become a less attractive career for men in order to succeed. They just need more opportunities and they should come for positive reasons not negative ones.

    Women can definitely be successful in racing on their own merits as we have seen. And if the world was fair and logical then there would soon come a time when they comprised 50% of stable staff, 50% of trainers, 50% of jockeys including jockeys with rides on Grade 1 favourites. But human nature being what it is, human behaviour is neither fair nor logical.

    #1402101

    thewexfordman
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    What was most irritating today was people repeating this phrase over and over “shes not a woman jockey she’s just a jockey” what an annoying phrase.

    Secondly, Lydia hislop I think (I stand to be corrected if not) after the handicap chase asked Lizzie Kelly to comment on Bryony Frost. Disgraceful. Was Harry Skelton asked to comment on Mark Walsh on Tuesday during his winning interview?

    I am fed up of these media idiots trying to go over the top, I love Bryony Frost and she’s clearly a wonderful jockey but the ITV fawning is becoming a bit nauseating and I wouldn’t be half surprised if Bryony herself was becoming quite fed up of it. Asking Lizzie Kelly to talk about Bryony Frost in her winning interview was very unfair on Lizzie

    #1402126
    Tonge
    Tonge
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    It was Oli Bell interviewing Lizzie Kelly Thewexfordman. Made me cringe. As you say, disgraceful.

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