NOELLE FAULKNER

is a writer, strategist, futurist and creative generalist working in culture, automotive, trends and consumer intelligence.

︎
I tell stories, solve problems and help others unearth and shape meaningful narratives. 
︎
My practice sits at the intersection of things that move us physically + things that move us emotionally.

︎
Here, you’ll find a selection of my (publicly) published work and projects, and an overview of what I do.  

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WHO AM I?

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NOELLE FAULKNER

newsis a writer, strategist, futurist and creative generalist working in culture, automotive, trends and consumer intelligence.
︎

My practice sits at the intersection of things that move us physically, things that move us emotionally and things that are moving towards the future.
︎

I tell stories, solve problems and help others unearth and shape meaningful narratives. 
︎

Here, you’ll find a selection of my (publicly) published work and projects, and an overview of what I do.    
︎

ABOUT ME 

FIND ME︎︎︎
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Current working timezone: UTC +1hrs (British Summer Time)





Thrill equity, sanctuary and the female urge to just fucking drive




evo Australia, December 2021 (PDF)

The female driving experience has long been equated with running errands, but it means so much more than that.

“Driving while female” was the charge handed to Manal al-Sharif, the woman who spearheaded the campaign to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia, which was realised in 2018. After uploading a video of her driving to YouTube, al-Sharif was arrested and imprisoned. Her book Daring to Drive, retells the movement in poetic detail within the context of being a woman in one of the most oppressive countries in the world. It is a moving example of the female driving experience and even for those of use who have had the privilege of independence not afforded to the women of Saudi Arabia, every single woman with a driver’s licence can relate to the autonomy driving allows us.

I recently started looking deeper for published examples of this experience and there are few. Joan Didion, Corvette Stingray owner and the poet laureate of the female car enthusiast equates driving on the freeway to secular worship and transcendence: “Actual participation requires total surrender, a concentration so intense as to seem a kind of narcosis, a rapture-of-the-freeway. The mind goes clean. The rhythm takes over.” Still, these writings are half a century old, from a time where the thrill of driving was a form of subversion for women. Back then, driving just meant you could do more chores. Pick up the groceries, ferry the children, run more errands. Yet even today, despite our 85% influence in the buying process, the marketing has barely changed: “Pack more into your day!” “Do more with a bigger car!” Kill me. To men, a car liberated them from the shackles of home life. It promised them sex, youth and status. To women, cars enforced our passive place in society. Where women weren’t using the car to perform domestic duties, we were passengers, vulnerable to whoever was in control of the wheel.

The thrill of driving is something that surpasses age, gender and culture; even as a spectator, that action unlocks something primal in all of us. However, I must admit, I find it hard to relate to the experience cars offer men. And I have probably read more of this subject than anything else! Our industry is built on it, my career exists because of it, evo wouldn’t be here without it. But I do not see myself in that story.
Driving is a secular experience, but what the car also offers women, is sanctuary. It’s a place where our bodies are free of judgement, where we can exist and not have to worry about our personal safety, and environment we control. In my car, I can play the new Adele album 20 times over and sing and cry and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. The thrill of driving, reader, is not just about going fast around the twisties. Sometimes it’s about driving to a carpark with a nice view, just to sit in my car and disassociate for 20 minutes.

The real female driving experience is rarely told in automotive, or even women’s media for that matter. There are many reasons for this, but in society’s eyes we still don’t have thrill equity. I find it comical when I’m told that women don’t know anything about a car’s performance, feel or detail, because we notice everything because its the one place we can be fully engaged. We’re just not as well-versed in articulating it.
I asked some friends what driving meant to them and a common thread emerged around their desire to breakout from the pressures of being a woman. “Driving is the only time I feel I have total calm and total control,” said one. “All of the stereotypes associated to women vs men made it my personal mission to be a good driver and my freedom would be associated to this sense of ‘control’ over the patriarchy,” said another. More responses: “As a young woman, driving gave me a sense of independence and accomplishment that few other things did.” “On track, there’s a sense of euphoria I get from being in control of something beyond myself. Whether it’s a reflection of my own mortality, desires or ambition…it can be chaotic, yet peaceful.” “When I’m solely focused on shifting gears and nothing else. It’s a rare time where the single job at hand takes over and nothing else registers,” mused another. Out of a sample of nine women, almost every one mentioned freedom, independence, accomplishment and privacy. Not a single one mentioned they liked how their car meant they could run more errands.

I often think about how Al-Sharif equates her car key to her car as a key to change, a key to destiny. In one of the videos that got her arrested she is behind the wheel and her friend asks why she is smiling. Her reply, “Because I am driving.”