Fellow women and feminists, please set down your coffees. Don’t throw them at your laptop, phone, or co-workers who may have thought to show or send you this video! If all you saw was the title and your immediate reaction was rage — it’s okay, I did too (and threatened to throw out any Ford-related thing, including my Ford-bound husband...). Deep breaths. Press play and enjoy a small, thoughtful dose of empowerment this International Women’s Day, and Women’s History Month, cause damnit, we deserve it.
Early this morning, Ford released the ad above for the “Ford Explorer Men’s Only Edition.” Upon first glance, without pressing play, thoughts would rightfully range from “is this for real?” to rolling one’s eyes at the coming of stereotypical heteronormative go-to jokes poking at girlfriends or wives. But this ad isn’t that. No. Ford put together an Explorer “for men” missing a bunch of features and creature comforts, then points out those features are missing because women invented them.
“Introducing the Men’s Only Ford Explorer — with no windshield wipers. No heater. No turn signals? Wait, no rearview mirror? No GPS? Are you kidding?” the increasingly perplexed voiceover says. “Ah, it’s missing all the parts created by women. Wow. Whose great idea was that?”
Well, actually... women.
Ford says in the press release that the ad was created to celebrate “the significant role women have played in the auto industry,” and then included a list of influential women in the car industry and their contributions to the modern automobile. The missing rearview mirror in this fake Explorer? Well, it’s missing because it was created by Dorothy Levitt and innovated by Dorothée Pullinger. Modern-day GPS? You can thank Dr. Gladys West for that.
Explorer 2-Person Inflatable Kayak
Comfortable for anyone
Nnjoy the water but don’t want to deal with the hassle of traditional kayaks? This is portable, lightweight, and easy to store when not in use.
The ad is a small but significant nod to all the women who have contributed to the betterment of the car and the automotive industry as a whole. Today there are more women behind the scenes or at the forefront of the automotive industry than there were 10, 20, even 100 years ago. And women’s contributions to the automobile have not been small. Clearly, as the ad outlines, they have made your daily commute and road trips possible —and a hell of a lot easier.
Ironically for me, I had a conversation the day before with a fellow colleague where we discussed how many powerful, influential and innovative women we have in this industry, from engineering and marketing to those of us slumming it (kidding) in media. Sure, after today, or this month, most people may forget about this little history lesson, and it’s back to another battle for recognition and appreciation. In all honesty, it has gotten so much better for women, yet we still have yards to go.
Anyways, let’s take a minute to celebrate all of the women who have done some kick-ass stuff for cars and the industry, and let’s be sure to lift them up as examples to the little girls out there, in hopes that they’ll happily and confidently follow in our footsteps.
A Happy International Women’s Day to all, and a special shout out to all of the kick-ass women who have written, edited, wrenched, wrangled or contributed to Jalopnik in its near-20-year history.