2018 shall go down as a special year for the women of Saudi Arabia where the driving ban was finally lifted, with over 120,000 women applying for licenses for the very first time. In Kuwait, however, not only have women been driving since shortly after the arrival of the first automobile on Kuwaiti soil back in 1912, they have also been trail- blazing a new path and breaking the archetypal stereotype by invoking the power of muscle cars .
Muscle cars are traditionally defined as “any of a group of American-Made, 2-Door sports cars with powerful engines designed for high-performance driving.” The Lady Stangers of Kuwait are the equivalent of a super-heroine group in the Gulf. They are a diversely eclectic group of individuals from different countries and walks of life that harbor a strong passion for everything this world has to offer. More importantly, they have taken it upon their shoulders to redefine societal perceptions regarding how women should drive in public, specifically to remove any such limitation that may exist in people’s minds about the type of car that women are “allowed to drive”.
We sat down with the lovely ladies for a candid discussion about their talents, hobbies and dreams. Maali (Red Mustang) is a multi-disciplined talent defining brains, beauty and brawn. She’s currently the only female Aviation Engineer at Kuwait Airways, as well as a martial arts instructor with experience in Kajukenbo, Shotokan karate, Russian Sambo and MMA. Her message to the world is to empower women to speak up for what they love, as well as show the guys a girl can do what they can do, and still be a girly girl who’s proud of her femininity. Dunia (Red Mustang) is a girl with a big heart who can do it all. She’s an animal rescuer, and has been involved in the rescue and re-homing of hundreds of animals in the past few years. But don’t let that fool you, she’s also a martial artist! Timmi (Blue Mustang); is a Makeup Artist and blogger. A self-professed girly girl – though most of the people who know her agree this is true – and lover of all things beautiful, feminine. Zoii (California Special) is a busy woman, balancing college, family as well as having a full blown athletic life too! Tima (White Mustang) is a thrill-seeking biker and Mustang lover. During the week she’s suit and tie, but on the weekends her true personality comes out- speed freak!
When did your fascination with muscle cars start?
Maali: When I started studying aviation engineering. It’s more about the love and appreciation of physics and how it’s been implemented on to the Ford Mustang.
Dunia: When I was young, my father would always get me model cars as gifts. Whereas other girls were content with Barbie and Bratz, I was happier picking new cars, especially sports cars. My dad also used to let me pretend-drive on his lap. That was truly the beginning of my fascination with cars over Barbies.
Timmi: In my high school years I used to sketch muscle cars in my books. Since then, I’ve always believed that one day I would have one just for me.
Zoii: Since childhood I was different than other girls, as I would play with cars more than dolls.
Tima: It started from a very early age. I adored sports cars and speed in general but felt that it was not allowed for women to drive such vehicles. It was not until I grew up that I realized that such limitations exist only in our minds, which made me determined to own my own sports car.
Have you faced any obstacles in getting the car you desired?
Maali: Being a Kuwaiti girl in a culture-driven society like ours can be difficult when you go against the norm. My family were skeptical at first but soon grew to understand just how big a part of my life cars are.
Dunia: No, my parents were OK with it from day one. My relatives were against it, but it was my decision and I did not care as long as my parents agreed.
Timmi: It is a blessing to not face any obstacles getting the car of my dreams.
Zoii: The main obstacle was the question of would the community accept a girl driving such cars when we were raised believing that only men could do such things.
Tima: Yes. I faced it on the road when guys see women driving muscle cars, it is terrible what they do.
What is your most memorable moment behind the wheel?
Maali: My most memorable moment behind the wheel of both my Mustangs was the first drive. You couldn’t wipe the smile of elation of my face!
Dunia: The day I bought my car. When I drove it out of the dealership I had a surreal moment where I started crying and thinking really, finally? Is it mine?
Zoii: The first time I drove my first Mustang and the times people pass by and smile or wave like I am a hero, a new amazing thing is being implied to the community.
Timmi: The first time I got to ride my beautiful Mustang is unforgettable.
What is your ultimate driving dream?
Maali: To become a professional drift car driver one day.
Dunia: To have the opportunity to race officially in the Formula One, or having an official race where two to three cars do stunts and donuts in the street with helmets on inside the cars, then we get out, remove our helmets, showing the world that we are women and that it is OK for women to drive cars like this in this way. I firmly believe it is extremely important to educate people in general that girls who own sports cars are allowed to and should not be looked at differently or have any assumptions made about them. We are young, educated ladies who often also hold high positions and should not be looked at in a different way. We live by our own rules, these are
our dreams and decisions and people should be supportive of that.
Zoii: To achieve some driving skills like drifting.
Timmi: To be continue being a part of the Lady Stangers community.
The Lady Stangers are also currently embroiled in a serious task of putting together a Mustang… from scratch!