When Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers did “Weekend Update” on Saturday Night Live, one of their comedy bits was “Really?” — in which they took something ridiculous from the news and questioned it in an over-the-top fashion, ending each comment with “Really?”

What reminded us of that this week was news from China that some parking lots have designated special wider spaces for women because female drivers are viewed as being less skilled behind the wheel and therefore less able to maneuver a vehicle into a standard parking space.


The spaces are marked with pink lines and in some cases have the icon we often see on women’s restrooms — the generic figure in a skirt painted on them, also in pink.


The stereotype of women being inferior to men behind the wheel has been around for nearly as long as the automobile. Who hasn’t heard a joke about “women drivers”? The British newspaper The Telegraph pointed out a few of the jokes in an article in December 2011:

My wife drives the car like lightning.

You mean she goes very fast?

No, she hits trees.

My wife says she is a careful driver she always slows down when going through a red light.

We bumped into some old friends yesterday . . . my wife was driving.

But here’s the rub. It was in an article that reported on a study indicating that such jokes are a self-fulfilling prophecy. When women were given positive feedback about their driving skills, they performed better behind the wheel.

And Reader’s Digest reports that men are more likely than women to engage in riskier behaviors when they are driving: speeding, failing to wear seatbelts, tailgating and driving while intoxicated.

So we say let’s do away with stereotypes. There’s nothing wrong with having bigger parking spaces for novice or less skilled drivers whether they’re male or female.


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