To some, Subarus are just another car.
Just another means of getting from point A to point B.
But to my boyfriend, and to members of his community, Subarus are their heart, their baby, their life even. That is what intrigued me to investigate the dynamics of this discourse community.
You meet someone and you learn about their passion. His was cars and motorcycles. I could’ve figured that from the way he portrayed his masculinity. Tall, built, good with his hands and tools, always attempted to fix things himself before bringing it to someone else. He was so passionate about the things he owned, he bought books and watched every video. He taught himself in order to be the one who could work on his prized possessions. He fully devoted himself to this lifestyle – and members of this car culture do the same.
You have to admire that devotion. You also have to question well… why? Why and how. Why do these machines mean so much to you and how do they become so embedded in who you are that you use them to show your identity?
I originally just wanted to slowly understand how the Subaru car culture functioned. I wanted to be apart of it. That is why I listened to every single thing he said about modifying his car, about the cars he admired. That is why I voluntarily went to car meets, to Ratchet Friday’s (an event held at a race track in Jersey) and city take overs.
But as I was exposed more and more to the culture, I began to notice certain ways the community dealt with members within it. I noticed the gender issues before he would even acknowledge that I was right. I noticed the way people shied away from showing off their car when a heavy modified Subaru pulled up at one of the car meets. I saw how much brand loyalty, specific car model loyalty (even within the same brand), class and gender issues directed the way people conversed with one another within the community.
Studying these conflicts of the Subaru car culture is important to me because it allows me to fully understand more a culture I am willing to be apart of. I believe educating myself on something before I participate fully in it will allow me to be better equipped to converse with members myself.
Studying these conflicts of the Subaru car culture is important to women because this is a male-dominated culture. So much so that female Subaru owners have to create their own separate page for themselves. (And their pictures of female owners/drivers are much different from mainstream Subaru pages). With more knowledge, they are better equipped to challenge the values held so long within this car culture.
Studying these conflicts of the Subaru car culture is important to members of the car culture because hopefully, it will rise up a sort of self awareness. Like how my boyfriend realized, hey, Aleeza does have a point when she says the culture is kinda sexist!