Stance: The Six Letter Dirty Word?

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Defined, stance is “the manner and position in which a person or animal stands”, loosely translated to automobiles stance used to be explicitly refer to how a vehicles body was positioned relative to it’s wheels and the ground.

It was a word used, without much thought, across the entire automotive landscape; be it classic carhot rod, muscle car, 4×4 or what have you.

That all encompassing use –of the previously harmless word– is the mainstay of this website, and contributes to the content depth beyond the definition touted by most of the here today, buy my stuff so I can cash out tomorrow, ‘stance’ Instagram accounts, blogs and fanpages.

That definition is of course that aggressive fitment (aka the ‘perfect’ combination of camber, tire stretch and low offset wheels) IS stance. Point blank, period.

While I’m not going to argue that the word “stance” doesn’t aptly describe the aggressive fitment sub set of automotive tuning, I will say that as aggressive fitment grew in popularity things began to take a turn for the worst when it came to the reputation of the monosyllabliac six letter word in question.

The word stance  is now so disliked in some circles that the mere mention of it, in any context, sends people into an incredible frenzy of hatred.

In fact I can guarantee you that as you read this there is, at the very least, one individual currently berating someone they don’t know, about their choice of wheels, tire size, and suspension configuration. They are probably doing so with such hatred laden words that one might think their own car got modified over night by some sort of fitment ninja from the dojo of ‘stance’.

Having run a site with stance in the name for some time now I’ve noted the evolution (or perhaps devolution) of the word, and met the hatred and assumptions now tied to it first hand. Many have seemingly forgotten what the word meant prior to 2009, and mentally write me off as a foolish hipster only obsessed with corded tires, mangled fenders, and road gratered-undercarraiges, before the word ‘everything’ has left my lips.

But even if the be all, end all, characterization of ‘stance’ was aggressive fitment, the thing I struggle with most is the root cause of all the hatred.

Sure in most cases function often takes a back seat to form in the aggressive fitment community, but it is far from the only form first style of auto mobile modification to ever exist. Kustoms and Lowriders are two very significant segments of the enthusiast world that don’t seem to get nearly the same amount of disrespect. In fact among nearly all circles they are respected to some degree.

Is ‘stance’ hated because it’s popular? If so that is a bit of a silly reason, and the unfounded hatred will no doubt draw more people toward it creating a bit of a vicious cycle.

Perhaps it is because people have begun to push the boundaries in directions that are arguably visually unappealing? No that can’t be it either because people have been doing things like that for centuries, and no matter the scenario what looks good to one person simply won’t look good to everyone else.

Perhaps it’s the community? Sure some members may come off as abrasive, egotistical, and a bit know- it-all but historically when has a community comprised predominately of males aged 18-24 not been portrayed as such?

I’m sure hot rodders of the day were classified as ‘misguided youth’ who fancied destroying perfectly good automotibles, and there’s no doubt in my mind that people who took part in the street machine look of the 70’s were told that they were tossing away their cars handling characteristics in order to achieve a desired aesthetic goal.

So then what exactly is the problem contributing to the ever growing passionate hatred?

I’ve tried to approach this issue from every angle and no matter what I can’t seem to find a rational, valid, reason for the growing contempt.

Perhaps I simply think too much, or perhaps I just need to grow comfortable with the fact that ‘stance’ has now become the six letter dirty word of the automotive world.

What do you think?

3 COMMENTS

  1. I think you have a well written article that was fun to read. I’m not really in the car “scene” anymore ( I still have the car, but not the same people), so this is from an outsiders point of view.

    When you start getting a little older (yes I’m lumping anyone older than 30 into a giant pile), you may start to notice that the words you use compared to the words teens/ 20 yr olds use might be the same words, but have different meanings.

    Stance for me will always mean a low car with a nice wheel and tire combo that you can tell the owner took the time to make em fit right. Stanced, while you might think is only the past-tense of stance, to me means a car with wheels and tires that barely fit one another on cars that are overly lowered and may have slightly raggedy fenders.

    I honestly don’t know why there’s any negative connotation in either of those words, but I would bet it has to do with a majority of show coverage websites at one point or another poking fun (see what I did there) of something new which they just didn’t like at the time.

    I remember when “import tuning” used to mean crazy body kits and big wheels and everyone started hating on it…10ish yr’s later and it’s almost back again. Eh, my advice is keep using the word however you want, it’ll come back around again eventually.

  2. Hey Jon, hope you don’t mind that I broke your comment up a bit so I could read it.

    First off I am glad you liked the article, when I was writing it I was wondering if anyone would make their way through.

    I’m actually 29 so perhaps I am going through what you are saying right now. I actually chose to ignore stanced in this article for a reason as I think it’s a whole separate topic.

    I agree with the goes around comes around sentiment for sure. I’m going to stick with the word and not jump ship and just wait for others to fall away.

    Low car with a nice wheel and tire combo is pretty much nail on the head for me (though my automotive ADD will allow me to stray to lifted trucks on rare occasion!)

    Oh and I see what you did there 🙂

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