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Illusion of power
Women and SUVs

May 14, 2007

My neighbor lady, Linda, is a petite woman barely 5 feet tall. A few inches shorter and she would be considered 'clinically vertically challenged'. She drives a big-ass SUV; a Chevy Suburban.

To get into the car, she leaves the right foot on the ground and places the left on the threshold and with great effort, catapults herself behind the wheel. Once inside the car, the seat is adjusted with her chest just a few inches from the steering wheel. Since the car does operate, I suppose her feet do reach the pedals too.

What really compels short people, especially short women, to drive these humongous machines? Is it merely compensation for their diminutive statures, or is there more to it?

God knows you don't ever need 4-wheel-drive traction on the freeways and streets of Southern California. I bet Linda has never even engaged the front wheels of her Suburban into action, and probably doesn't know how to do so either. On top of that, she is single lady with no children and can't possibly need the 7 extra seats her Chevy offers. I am not even getting into how difficult it is to parallel-park this monstrosity.

So what gives here? You have the option of driving a subcompact, fuel-efficient, easy-to park-and-operate Japanese car and you opt for this gas-guzzling, ugly, living room-on- wheels.

If the readers don't mind, I shall now attempt to relate this curious phenomenon to the Sexual Revolution. I know, I know, it may sound quite far-fetched. But allow me to elaborate.

Let's face it. Women, in our overly patriarchal societies, have been continually repressed by men for millennia. It was only in the 20th century that they (some of them) gained the rights to vote and participate in politics and societal affairs. The women's movement eventually culminated in the Sexual Revolution of the mid-20th century, when women declared their independence and insisted on having rights equal to those enjoyed by men since the beginning of history. More power to them.

The trouble is, though, you cannot right thousands of years of wrong in only a few decades. The repressed-woman's bottled up anger alone will probably need a couple of hundred years just to vent itself out. Implementation of superficial, remedial (read affirmative) actions without addressing the underlying issues won't be solving the problem.

Unfortunately women were at a disadvantage to begin with. Let's not take lightly the Freudian concept of 'penis envy'. Lacking so prominent an appendage gives rise to severe psychological shortcomings in women, Compound this with the pain of having for centuries been relegated to the home and the kitchen, and you'll have the mental condition of the post-Sexual Revolution woman.

Women are into SUVs because it affords them an illusion of power. The bigger your vehicle is and the higher you are off the ground, the more dominant you feel. You become invincible. Men can't push you around anymore.

If Ford and GM offered Sherman Tanks at their dealers' showrooms, I bet women would be flocking to get them. Behind the wheels of tanks on the streets, women will not only appear bigger and stronger than men, they can also run over their cars and make pancakes out of them if men ever dared get in their way. The long gun barrel extending from the turret of the tank will also do wonders in compensating for their penis envy.

I suppose my neighbor lady is alright after all.

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Shahriar Zahedi




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