I was reading my June issue of Hot Rod over the weekend, and the more pages I turned, the more I got this creeping feeling that something was amiss. Lots of good stuff in there, like always. But the content wasn’t the problem. Page after page… oh, that’s it! Not a single page missing or shredded!
You see, one evening last fall, my kids were hanging out in the garage with me while I worked on the car. My son is 11 and my daughter is 8. From under the car, I started hearing… ‘Riiiipppp. Rip. –silence- Riiiippp…’ And just as I was about to ask who was ripping what, Sophie said, “Why are men such pigs???” And then she made the cutest little piggy snort noise… Men really aren’t that cute when they’re being pigs, I’m afraid.
I rolled out from under the car to see her going through my Hot Rod magazine, page by page, tearing out the pictures she found to be disrespectful to women. There were many. I even took a picture of her doing it. At the time it was just a funny little tidbit of our evening, but it really made me think. Maybe it was time for me to give up car magazines? They’re never going to change. Scantily clad supermodels sell magazines. True story. But if my purchase of said magazines in any way diminishes my little lady’s respect for me? Yeah, they’ll get recycled asap. She already has enough people trying to teach her that her value is primarily in her pretty face… Daddy won’t be a party to that. Not in this house.
We talked about it a lot, as we do most things. The problem is, it’s not just Hot Rod magazine… it’s everywhere. On billboards, in the grocery store checkout. Everywhere. But I still don’t have to bring it into my home. That’s a line I get to draw while the rest of the world gets to choose what we see when we leave the house.
To cut to the chase, and avoid the entire ugly argument I see every time this discussion arises in the automotive community, I just wanted to say that we reached a compromise. Sophie gets to go through them and tear out anything she finds offensive. I get to keep the subscription. I think it’s important to show her that I respect her feelings on the matter, yet I also realize there’s only so much I can do about filtering the world she lives in. In summary, Hot Rod still comes to our mailbox. I just have to, occasionally, guess how the article on the previous page ended. Fair enough!
Yet the June issue is oddly devoid of nearly-naked chicks. Was this an oversight? Maybe they’re still there, but I’m just so old now that I didn’t see them? Nope, I had Sophie scour the entire thing from cover to cover. Only 4 models, and all 4 from advertisements in the back. Only mildly offensive, in fact. Point being- this issue of Hot Rod was nearly 99.9% all about Hot Rods. We scoured May and July as well, with similar results.
So what’s up with that? Is this what I can expect in the future? Or were these 3 consecutive issues simply an oddity? If this is the future of Hot Rod magazine, I applaud it and you. I know a lot of car guys disagree with me, but that’s my take on it. I like it this way. If this 3-month stretch was just an anomaly, I’d humbly ask that you go back through them yourself, back to back, as Sophie and I did, and see if you can understand her perspective- A car magazine that’s full of cars has a lot more credibility. I know that I never thought I’d see 3 in a row with so little girly content. Remember way up in the third paragraph when I said, “They’re never going to change.” I hope I’m wrong about that. This is a change I’d like to see, and I’m a paying customer.
Sidenote- Sophie asked me to write this letter telling you how much she likes this change. She was as pleasantly surprised as I was. She’s the future of the human race, as well as a future consumer…