Danica Patrick has been a lightning rod for both praise and criticism throughout her objectively successful, decade-long career as a racing driver. Putting to the side for a moment that it is still very rare for a woman to get a drive in a top-tier series, something that Patrick first managed back in the 2005 IRL season, her successes are still impressive. Patrick is the only woman to ever win an IndyCar race, hold the best finish ever by a woman at the Indy 500 (third) as well as being the only woman to lead the storied race in Indianapolis.

It's all of that background that has Slate writer (and racing aficionado) Laura Helmuth up in arms. Helmuth's basic claim is that Patrick's questionable sponsorship deals, and resultant lowest-common-denominator commercials, have not only undermined her credibility as a role model for woman and girls, but have even served to set back woman's rights and the place of woman in the sport of racing.

The argument is nuanced and interesting, and we encourage you to click through and read it in full on Slate. When you're done, come back and tell us what you think about the Patrick/Go Daddy relationship in our poll below.

Is Danica Patrick's off-track performance holding back women's rights?
Yes, definitely 4514 (18.9%)
Somewhat 2848 (11.9%)
No, definitely not 14766 (61.9%)
I'm not sure 1711 (7.2%)

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Don't even see why we are having this conversation cause there is nothing that's going to set back womens rights.....we already have them and they are not going to be taken back, End of story!
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think Danica should take the writer for a couple of laps around Daytona. Bet she never writes anything dumb again, The majority of the writing public have never seen the inside of one of these cars let alone any driving experience
      • 2 Years Ago
      I can't hate. If I was a chick and could get stuff for showing my stuff, I would too.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Male drivers are sponsored by Lowe's, Napa Auto, DeWalt, and Home Depot. They appear in commercials swinging hammers and acting like Mr. Fix-it. Helmuth doesn't think its degrading for a man to fix her sink or mow her lawn or keep her car running. We got men hawking housewares, so clearly Helmuth doesn't think its degrading for a man to spend his paycheck buying her a sofa he doesn't want. We got drivers selling Viagra. Make of that what you will. You wanna know why know one cares? B/c men take pride in what they do, even when its stupid. Men think everything they do is the best ever. If Danica takes pride in what she does, and she thinks its awesome, and she doesn't listen to tiresome hen-pecking from old nags, she's a hell of a lot closer to gender-equality than Helmuth thinks she is.
      • 2 Years Ago
      No, Danica's stupid GoDaddy commercials aren't "holding women back" or "harming women's rights." They're demeaning Danica Patrick, and possibly undermining women in racing, but that's all. I have no problem with Danica exploiting her attractiveness, but the GoDaddy commercials consistently lack wit, charm or the hint of adult agency: they make Danica look foolish even as they exploit her looks and gender. THAT's the failure here. "Women," universal, however, will be fine.
      • 2 Years Ago
      ...She is making a living...a good one at that !
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't get it. How the hell is Danica any different than male drivers signing up for sponsorships, and appearing in product placement ads? Didn't Michael Schumacher appear in an ad for Bacardi? These drivers can choose who to endorse or not, and the same probably applies to Danica as well. What I really hate the most is any endorsement for GoDaddy, but that's for another discussion.
        • 2 Years Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Success in any sport is often followed by endorsement deals. She's an attractive women what would you have her endorse. Has soccer been set back by Beckham running around in his underwear ? If there willing to pay you six figures to be sexy go for it.
      • 2 Years Ago
      All the butt-floss beer commercials, semi-nude movie trailers, etc., and this author bashes Danica and Go-Daddy? This is just more jealousy over a woman who is raking in fame, notoriety, and, yes, money. Lots of it. The fact that she has succeeded in a once "all male sport" should make women proud. Laura Helmuth should "remove her stick", leave Danica (and all women) alone, and get a life.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Yeah, and.....she's making more money than you are and probably a lot better looking than your wife!
      • 2 Years Ago
      Danica is a SMART, beautiful woman with real sex appeal and she knows how to use it - something that went out of favor with the most recent "women's movement! Just like it is not manly to act in a masculine and chivalrous manner towards women is also no longer acceptable and envogue! Danica keep using everything God gave you and tell the your female critics they can all go to h**l!
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am not a Danica Patrick fan. I think she is an arrogant obnoxious driver who tends to blame others when she doesn't finish well. But having said that, just what is she doing that isn't being done by many famous athletics? To try and claim that these types of ads set back the "women's movement" is sophomoric at best. She is taking advantage of her popularity, just like Amanda Beard, Hope Solo, and many other female (and male) athletics have done.
      Donna Lovejoy Brown
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think Danica should be more selective when doing Go Daddy commercials! The last one during the Superbowl was beyond DISGUSTING!
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