I couldn't agree more with what Travis said earlier today about how it's time to stop calling certain cars "chick cars." It's never positive, and all it does is alienate a huge number of people who may actually love cars. Let's figure out what we actually mean when we say it, and find something better.
The biggest problem is that whatever we're seeing in cars that get called "chick cars," it's not positive. Like Travis mentioned in his article, it's like the whole "throws like a girl" thing. It's not a compliment.
As a result, anything that's even remotely 'feminine' seeming is now like kryptonite poop to car makers, and the result of that is some of our cars are becoming ridiculous cartoons of masculinity.
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Take the Camaro, for example. This is a '68 Camaro I saw on the street. Look at some of the details — the thin blade bumpers, the name badges, and so on:
Sure, a lot of these were just in style at the time, but by today's standards, that "Camaro" script would be considered one step down from wedding-invitation calligraphy and there's no way in hell a muscle car would go near it.
Look at the modern Camaro badge:
It looks like it's been punched out of drywall and granite. There's not a curve in it. I'm not saying it's bad, or I don't like it, but it's worthy to note that at one time a muscle car could contain elements that weren't all unwaveringly fist-pumping and still manage to pull it off.
The point here is that not everything feminine is bad, and driving a car with feminine traits in no way reflects poorly on a male driver. The Jaguar E-Type is considered by some to be undeniably phallic, while many others find its athletic curves to be more feminine. And not soft feminine — badass feminine, like what I imagine (frequently) Venus Williams' body might look like.
My own project car, as another example, is a Reliant Scimitar. When most people hear that I have one, the fact I'm usually told is that Princess Anne had one. Does it make me feel weird that my car is best known as being the ride of choice for a Princess? Hell no. She wanted a sportscar-like car that she could also haul her big riding saddle and spurs and horsewhip and all that horesecrap in. Is she feminine? Unquestionably. Again, she's a fucking princess. Is she a kind of a cool badass for getting a sportscar she can fill with horse equipment? Hell yes.
Also, if we look objectively at cars that are called "chick cars," it's not like those cars are particularly pampering or dainty or fragile or any number of other stereotypical, hyper-feminine negative traits. Driving a 1st-gen Miata on the 405 in heavy traffic takes way, way more balls or guts or ovaries or whatever you want to call them than driving a massive, airbag-packed Escalade or lifted F-150 or Hummer or any other vehicle associated strongly with masculinity.
Those massive vehicles coddle and protect their precious occupants far more than a 'chick car' like a VW Cabrio or a Renault Caravelle or a Karmann Ghia. There's no problem with that, but it's not rational to call a car a 'chick car' because of a perception that the drivers lack balls, as paradoxical as that sounds.
There's still a place for a term that replaces what we used "chick car" for. We need something that takes gender/femininity out of the equation. In Travis's article, I saw some comments that referenced the Murano Convertible as a 'chick car.' That's a good example to start with.
There's nothing inherently feminine about the car. It is absurd, over and awkwardly styled, it feels sort of privileged and precious, and it would be hard to drive one without being embarrassed. These seem to be the traits we're looking for, and they can be applied to either gender.
So what's a good new name for cars like this? Ninny Car? Simpermobile? There's an annoying, fussy quality about them, too. So, I'm asking for help here. If we're asking you to help us stop using a term that's flawed but fills a hole, the least we can do is try and work with everyone to figure out a replacement.
So, we're listening. What term can we use to replace "chick car" that doesn't alienate half the human population, many of whom may love cars, too? Have at it.