I read an article this morning that motivated me to login to my blog site, which hasn’t been touched since COVID-19 took over the world. With no access to the Santa Anita Race Track, and no other place to go to shoot horses, I’ve resorted to shooting blue jays and butterflies in my backyard. I’m not a writer, though I used to pretend-play one years ago. Google my name; you might find me. Photography has my heart, and I will always belong there, but this path of mine has made me realize things over the years. If I want to write, I should, so here you go.
This morning, I read Past the Wire’s article entitled ‘Fast Horses and Fast Judgements.’ You can read it by clicking here (link opens new tab). In short, the author speaks of how quick people are to judge in light of an allegation of doping. The author is, of course entitled to his own opinion, but what caught my eye had nothing to do with racing.
The specific line was this, and I quote, ‘Cursing and insulting people based on just about anything stands along with language and pornographic images no child or lady should be exposed to. At least not in my opinion.’
Again, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I’m glad the author decided to note it was his, however his opinion on women and porn is a sexist one. This is how I feel women are portrayed in the world of racing.
I’m always quick to point out that I am not a ‘lady,’ in the traditional sense. I’m a tattooed, short haired, foul-mouthed person with my own, strong opinions. Again, Google me, find a novel called Fractious, and see for yourself. I’m an Atheist, nature-loving person who loves the sound of a rushing river, hiking, seeing the world from the back of a horse, and planning my next tattoo. I don’t wear dresses unless I have to. I will not nor will I ever wear a giant hat on Kentucky Derby day or participate in a fashion contest. However, that is what women are expected to do when visiting a horse race – dress up, look pretty, accept the whistles and catcalls and smile.
Growing up, there was one female jockey to look up; Julie Krone. Still, as an adult, I look up to her. I however knew there was no opportunity for a young girl to be a jockey, and while it remained a dream in the back of my mind, I saw no reason to pursue it. I had never heard of a female trainer either, and I only knew of one female owner; Penny Chenery. Still, I feel like women are on the backburner when it comes to racing, especially if the men in this business consider us these ‘ladies.’
Through the years, a few female trainers have emerged with some awesome horses (Carla Gaines and Bolo, to name one), but still women seem to be considered the ‘ladies of the track.’ Comments as simple as ‘cursing and porn are not for ladies’ affirm that.
Point is, you are entitled to your own opinion (and I’ll continue to read Past the Wire, because I enjoy the articles), but know your horse racing audience isn’t limited to men who believe women should be skirted, ankle showing, long legged ladies, or whatever your definition of a ‘lady’ is. Females love racing too, and we can be fierce, we can curse, and damnit, we can watch porn if we want to.