This piece of folklore falls under a general stereotype and is potentially offensive to some people. When I was talking with my informant, he informed me that he drove a Subaru Outback. He paused for a second, seemingly waiting for my response. When I said nothing, he told me that many people say that
“Only Lesbians Drive Subarus”
When I asked my informant more about this, he began to tell me that he gets comments like that on a regular basis. People are always, jokingly, asking if he is a lesbian because he drives that car. My informant is from Washington and says that “even though there are a lot of outdoorsy women that drive Subarus, I still don’t fully understand how they got such a bad wrap”.
Subarus are a much more common car in the Pacific Northwest, but he says the he’s heard the stereotype everywhere. “It’s just a good all-purpose car. It can get me to the mountains, off-roading, and everywhere else adventurous that I want to go” he says. He said that it’s probably not a good thing for marketing the car, considering lesbians likely only make up a small percent of America’s total population. “Maybe they should do some new marketing or make a new name for it” to grow it’s market a little bit.
When I asked why he had the car in the first place, he said, “my dad said it was the only car I could get. I’m not mad about it, I still think it’s pretty cool”.
I think that the car may have gotten this stereotype because of advertisements, or because many pacific northwest women are more outdoor types, which is typically connected to a ‘lesbian personality’ in popular culture for some reason. I don’t think that there are more lesbians driving Subarus than any other brand of car out there, just that it tends to be more rugged women that drive them. It seems as though the stereotype has caught on, however, as I have heard people say that even living here in Los Angeles.