Women are terrible drivers. I know this because Family Guy said so. Well, that and when I Google "woman driver jokes" about a million memes pop up showing "crazy women" trying to operate these crazy vehicles called cars.
Luckily for all of us, China has decided to do something about this women-are-still-driving problem by creating "female only" parking spaces. Yes, these vagina-ready spaces are 50% wider than normal parking spaces and totally recognizable by their bright pink lines and bright pink lady cartoon. #progress
According to international news reports, one of the men responsible for the parking spaces, a local official named Pan Zhuren, said that women are being given their own spots in parts of Southeastern China because they often "park carelessly" or have trouble backing into parking spaces. Now, I can't read Chinese so I am relying on translations, but it doesn't sound like the people making decisions actually studied the alleged problem and instead are depending on anecdotal observations and stereotypes about female drivers. Great idea, guys!
Of course, this whole story sparked a debate on Reddit Tuesday in which people fell into one of two camps: This is totally sexist—or this is totally useful because women suck at driving.
As one Redditor argued, "It does make sense and there is probably evidence supporting that their female drivers generally do need bigger parking spaces." Another said, "Men are dangerous behind the wheel because they enjoy driving dangerously, women are dangerous behind the wheel because they have poor situational awareness. Voluntary vs involuntary."
Gross generalizations are bad for everyone, and I was saddened to see how many people landed on the "women are bad drivers" side, especially considering studies on the matter are mixed. Yes, there are actual studies looking at male versus female drivers. And there is no proof that women are worse drivers beyond these stupid memes.
Consider a 2011 study from Quality Planning, a research firm that works for insurance companies, which found that men are 3.4 times more likely to get a ticket for reckless driving and 3.1 times as likely to be cited for drunk driving. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, men are involved in more car accidents every year than women are (though men also drive more). A New York City traffic study found that male drivers were responsible for 80% of all auto accidents that kill or seriously injure pedestrians. Not to mention women pay less for car insurance, with the assumption being they're safer drivers.
Of course, there are also studies that suggest men are better drivers. A University of Michigan study found that female drivers were involved in 68.1% of all crashes in this country—however, just because a woman is involved doesn't mean she was at fault. That same study found that 20.5% of all crashes were female to female, but 31.9% were male-to-male. So … just sayin'.
The real point here is that claiming that all women are bad drivers is a terrible, cliche joke that should be reserved for misogynistic television shows, not real-world policy. And yet, China isn't the only country to create "female only" parking spaces. They're also available in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. According to the Washington Post, "female only" spots in Germany were originally created for safety reasons—for example, so that women didn't have to walk long distances to their cars in dark parking lots—but now they're mainly seen as sexist among both men and women.
That said, as someone who lives in Los Angeles, where traffic is the devil and there is no parking, I'd be totally down for a special pink space. Just make it regular size, though, because I can parallel park like a boss. Thanks!
Taryn Hillin is Fusion's love and sex writer, with a large focus on the science of relationships. She also loves dogs, Bourbon barrel-aged beers and popcorn — not necessarily in that order.