Gender a Non-Issue for This One Woman in Arkansas

Illustration for article titled Gender a Non-Issue for This One Woman in Arkansas

Freight company CEO and President Judy McReynolds has been a lot of things: A teenage gymnast, an engineering student, a tax accountant, and a wife and mother. But she's never been someone who made gender an issue. That's nice!

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"I told myself early on that I wasn't going to make gender an issue in my career or allow other people to do so," she tells the NY Times. "I also had those early-childhood experiences that made me feel secure. Occasionally I'd hear a comment, but I refused to make it a problem." McReynolds recalls a time when she was pregnant, and her boss assumed she wouldn't want to travel for business. "I attended, and it worked out well," she says.

What is the Times trying to tell us by titling McReynolds's piece in relation to her comments about gender? For the most part, the article's nothing more than a straight-up biography of a successful businesswoman, with various success points noted along the way. The paper had a bunch of options to choose from: for example, a gender-neutral title referencing McReynolds's persistence or resilience, or something about freight. But no, they decided to be weird instead.

It should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway: Sometimes people make gender an issue for you. Sometimes they do it in intolerable ways, through sexual harassment, discrimination, and assault. It's not a personal weakness if you can't just suck it up and go with the flow.

Good for you if you can avoid having gender become an issue in your life, because you're lucky or live in some gender-equitable, enlightened utopia such as Norman, Oklahoma or the state of Arkansas. Most of us can't, and it's not by choice.

The Gender Non-Issue [NY Times]

Image TheeErin/via Flickr.

DISCUSSION

SubvertAParadigm
SubvertAParadigm

I would love to come here and read more gender positive pieces. Nastiness and snark have really taken hold within the jezebel writing comunity lately, and it makes for a dissappointing read most days. Women are out there doing amazing things and have fought bigger battles than "poor nyt writing." Let's get back to seeking out those stories and experiences instead of lambasting one woman in one town who feels her gender hasn't affected her negatively.

/rant

ETA: Also, I'm in no way saying that sexism isn't institutionalized or systemic so spare the flame wars. I'm just saying celebrating strong, intelligent women in society is a heck of a lot more progressive than writing articles about that one woman in Arkansas that pissed you off this morning over coffee and a paper.