September 10, 2007

Drag Racing: Clueless Cross-Dressing GM Car Designers In Full-On Denali

calvin_chevy.jpgI owe the producers of CBS News an apology. I thought that only lazy, cynical reporters pre-chewing content-free pablum for a aging audience of out-of-touch Boomers made annoyingly obtuse references to the twenty-five-year-old Michael Keaton movie, Mr. Mom. I was wrong. the designers of GM's full-sized SUV's do, too.

Here's GM vehicle line director named Mary Sipes, the only woman in the GM village, explaining how family-friendly the new rigs are at a recent press junket at the company's Milford Proving Grounds:

"A few times a year we go off-site and try to have a learning exercise that is a lot of fun," said Sipes. "We took our group to the proving grounds and broke them into teams. One guy on each team had to be Mr. Mom. We dressed him in a garbage bag to simulate a tight skirt. We gave him rubber gloves with press on nails, a purse, a baby and a baby stroller and some chores like loading groceries."

The men were then required to go through what women do routinely every day. They had to put the baby in a car seat and buckle them in, fold up the stroller, pull up the liftgate and stow the stroller, put grocery bags in the back.

The result of the skirt-donning exercise: a console bin big enough to hold the "purses" all the broads are carrying these days. Also an appreciation for the maneuvering required to get out of an SUV that goes far beyond the hours and hours spent researching paparazzi photos of Britney Spears' c-section scar. Also, they all really enjoyed peeing sitting down.

GM Engineer Mark Cieslak:

"I took for granted that my wife had all these things to do like put our child in a child seat," he adds. "It isn't that easy in pumps and a skirt."

Cieslak's big moment came when he got home that night and told his wife and daughter what he'd been up to.

"They were really impressed that we did something like that and that finally we were designing a vehicle that accommodates everybody. It was so rewarding to see how it resonated with my daughter and my wife."

Don't tell the fellas at work, but Mark is considering actually putting his own kid in the car seat sometime. Just around the house.

Yeah, hooker skirts: Today's GM trucks are designed by men in skirts [contracostatimes via feministing via jezebel via jalopnik]


Who ARE these people? I was watching that show "Mad Men" last night (a brilliant show, by the way), marvelling at how much the world had changed since 1960. But now I'm beginning to wonder.

Reminds me of a line in that show, from one secretary talking to another about an IBM Selectric typewriter: "Don't be intimidated by all this technology. The men who designed it made it simple enough for a woman to use."

Another thing mark doesn't want this co-workers to know: He still wears the skirt.

Seriously, does mark need a GM exercise to show him how much the child caretaker does every day? No wonder minivans suck.


[it's true, though, these "purses" came out of nowhere & caught everyone off guard. -ed.]

If the new Fords are designed by men in skirts, the Honda Element must have been designed by saints.

[GM, but yeah -ed.]

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