Beast Mode

Women's Health South Africa|August 2020

Beast Mode
Motoring journalist juliet mcguire talks having to legitimise her career choice as a woman, plus four high-performance cars to release your inner beast
Juliet Mcguire
Isn’t it crazy that in 2020, what I do for a living is still considered unusual for a woman? I often have to remind myself that although we have come so far, we still have a way to go. One such reaction that still shocks me is when I’m asked if I can drive, “like really drive,” when I reveal I’m a motoring journalist. I like to reply, “I drive like a beast!”

What this means, I have no idea, but it seems to appease the more-often-than-not male interrogator. There’s a part of me that can sit behind the wheel of a sports car and, in truth, feel like an absolute beast. If the law allows me (if I am on a track or a closed road), I tend to push myself to my limit and the feeling of freedom, power and confidence is exhilarating. I highly recommend it. In a safe environment, of course.

But back to whether or not I can “really drive.” It begs another question: what does it mean to be a good driver? Many men – please forgive the generalisation, but in my experience it’s usually only been men who’ve felt this way – believe that driving fast makes someone a good driver. I don’t think I have to explain how ridiculous this is (I can see you rolling your eyes along with me). I believe a good driver is one who is confident and completely aware of their surroundings. There is no skill required in driving a car fast. All you need to do is put your foot down and hold on to the steering wheel for dear life. The skill comes in when something unexpected happens because an alert driver will more than likely have pre-empted the unexpected.

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August 2020