For the first time, a female racecar driver has a chance at winning the Indianapolis 500. I’m not sure what to make of the article. Naturally, it focuses on the fact that she’s the first woman to ever be in this position (previous women in the race were never considered serious competitors). But it seems to go out of its way to remind the reader that she’s a little girl — focusing on her small size, her pink fingernails, calling her a “lady” in the headline, etc. For her part, she doesn’t seem all that interested in discussing her role as the girlie in the race:
“I’ve been racing for 13 years and all the time it was against males, so being the only woman in the 500 is really nothing new to me,” Patrick said. “Besides, I do not think of myself as a woman driver. I am just another Indy car driver out there. We are all the same when we are sitting behind the wheel.”
She’s right, but at the same time, she isn’t just another Indy car driver out there, as much as I wish that were the case. I’m always a bit conflicted with stories like this as to how much I think we should focus on her gender, or if we should mention it at all. Of course it’s noteworthy, which is why there’s an article on it. But is writing about it just re-instating ideas gender difference? Or is it applauding her accomplishments? I’m still trying to figure this one out.