I stumbled across a parking lot full of exotic cars at the Hotel Del Coronado this morning: Ferraris, Aston Martins, Lambhorghinis, Bugatti Veyrons, and more. Some of these cars bear a price tag of a cool $1.5 MM. Upon closer inspection, the event wasn't just about gawking at peoples' cars but it turned out to be a charity event, the Cruise 4 Kids.
"Cruise 4 Kids" Sports & Exotic Car Rally in San Diego invites high-end luxury car owners to participate in a 27 mile "cruise." This rally starts at the Hotel Del Coronado and ends at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. At the Del Mar Fairgrounds, C4K drivers will display their vehicles in a car show style for the public to enjoy. All in all, there were about 120 cars.
Cruise 4 Kids (C4K) is an annual event that requires the coordination by police officers and highway patrol, and is captured via video by a helicopter along the journey from Coronado to Del Mar. The cause was founded by Nino Venturella, a private banker from Wells Fargo. Nino joined the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Dieguito (BGCSDTO) Springboard in 2008 and is currently Chairman of Business Development and Marketing. As an active volunteer to BGCSDTO, he saw the opportunity to grow the club's fundraising revenue by creating C4K. Nino was able to combine his passion for cars and his connections through Wells Fargo to develop and produce C4K. His vision was to create an event that brought new excitement to San Diego’s car enthusiast community and to successfully accomplish the first sports & exotic car rally that closed the Coronado Bridge and I-5 freeway in its first year (this is the second year of the rally).
All in all, a colorful event for a wonderful cause....but I was somewhat troubled as well.
As many people would have noticed this morning, exotic and racing cars are often surrounded by attractive women in scantily-clad clothes. This charity event for kids was not different. There were 'rally' girls involved that were taking photos with drivers, in and around the cars, and draping themselves on the hoods of cars. I started to wonder, why is it that 'where there are exotic cars that cost 100s of thousands of dollars, there are attractive women?' So I asked:
Are we not framing women to look like they are objects of desire, just like the exotic car? Are we fueling the stereotype of expensive car = get hot girl? Perhaps I was reading too much into it. But then I saw this:
Although not explicit, our kids watch these events and interpret what they see. In the movie Miss Representation middle and high school children were asked how the media influences their definition of beauty and how they view themselves. Many testimonials were themed on how young girls feel like they need to be skinny, need to have clear skin, and need to have a fair complexion, so that they are not made fun of at school by boys AND girls. The movie tackles tough issues like unequal wages for women in the workplace and why there are fewer role models in media and political positions for young women to look up to.
Although this morning's event was for a wonderful cause, could they have done WITHOUT the rally girls?
What do YOU think?
Akshay facilitates workshops on leadership, communication, and teamwork for adults and children with Ziksana Consulting. Read his Behavior Blotterfor more on his work and his observations. If you have any ideas for stories, please contact Akshay at firstname.lastname@example.org
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