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SUV rant

2006-05-10 - 2:05 p.m.

This entry over at Shutterblog has been sticking in my craw for quite a while now. Before I begin, I need to say that I think Robyn is totally awesome and kicks all sorts of ass. This post is not about Robyn, but rather about the attitude prevalent not only in this posting, but seemingly all around me these days. For those of you too lazy to click on the link, Robyn writes about their family's decision to get an SUV because they need a bigger vehicle for their two growing (and miraculously awesome) boys. You all know that I am most certainly not a fan of the SUV, and Robyn claims that she isn't wildly excited about this either. But she goes on to state that part of the reason why she got an SUV was to avoid getting a minivan. Minivans are evidently redolent of the terminally unfashionable "soccer mom," and scream out "I am not cool and have surrendered any individuality to my kids."

I do not get this attitude. I do not get why the minivan is so bad, and why the SUV is so much better. Please don't try to tell me that an SUV has much more space than a minivan, because A---not necessarily, and B--do you really need all that space? Be honest. To me driving an SUV says "I place my own needs and those of my family above anything else, even to the detriment of others." Why in Goddess's name would you ever chose to drive a vehicle that gets such crappy gas mileage? A portion of every dollar you spend on gas supports terrorism, and I'm not talking about the corporate terrorism of the oil companies (although obviously it supports that too). SUVs are far more dangerous than minivans--more prone to tipping and rolling, and far more likely to cause fatalities to any car you should happen to get into an accident with. How did a vehicle that is the pinnacle of selfishness suddenly become the new hot things for mothers to drive?

And even more, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH A MINIVAN?? What the hell is wrong with being a soccer mom? Why are so many women allowing their identities to be tied to a means of transportation? I am all for girl power and for not surrendering your identity into some 1950s version of Stepford Mom when you have kids, but refusing to buy a vehicle because it's not cool enough hardly seems like a major step on the path to empowerment. Maybe it's just my deep distrust and resentment of what the popular culture is telling me to do (inhereited from my own mother), but this attitude that minivan=soccer mom=uncool therefore SUV=cool seems very much a manufactured reaction to me.

I know I could be doing a lot more to help out with the environment. I could stop eating meat. I could get a rain barrel to collect rainwater for my garden (cover your ears, R, this may be coming down the pike). I could eat only food grown within 100-200 miles of my house. I could be putting biodiesel in my car on a more regular basis. There's an awful lot I could do. But I don't understand why anyone that claims to care about the environment would get an SUV when there are other suitable vehicles instead. Unless you routinely have a need to go off-road or ford streams or routinely haul large loads, you don't need an SUV. Image is not an adequate reason for fucking over the environment, our national security and the safety of other drivers on the road. Period.

DISCLAIMER: Obviously, hybrid SUVs are exempt from my ire. Ditto any diesel SUVs if they are using biodiesel.


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