Gender not an issue in death of Kevin Ward , Jr: A response to “Well We Can At Least Be Thankful That Women Are Underrepresented in NASCAR”

While browsing through some blog posts recently, I came across this post, entitled “Well We Can At Least Be Thankful That Women Are Underrepresented in NASCAR.” To read the story, click here.

The basic gist of the article is the writer’s suggestion of the uproar that would occur if Tony Stewart, who hit and killed Kevin Ward, Jr. over the weekend, was a woman.

I have three issues with this post. The author writes, “Can you imagine the Katrina-sized shit storm that would have churned up if Tony Stewart was instead a woman, and lady-Tony lady-drove all over that young man’s face?”

She then goes on to write “Not only would there never be another lady driver in NASCAR, they’d probably pass laws banning women from everyday driving on public roads. We’d have to go back to riding in the back seat like children.”

The first of my issues with this post are the unfounded assumptions. It’s a big leap to suggest that if a woman were involved in this crash, women would then be banned from NASCAR. It’s fair to speculate that a different scenario may produce different results, but to make such declarations of what would for sure be the case is unwarranted. The writer also states. “Last night, Tony Stewart, a hot-headed NASCAR driver with emotional problems, ran over a colleague in a race in upstate NY.” I am not familiar with any so-called “emotional problems” Tony Stewart may have, but I find myself asking, what does that have to do with anything? Is the writer trying to suggest that “emotional problems” are directly related to this tragedy? If so, this is an another assumption that is simply unfair to make.

Secondly, I find the language used in the post very disrespectful to a late Kevin Ward, Jr. and his loved ones. The what if it was a woman and “lady Tony lady-drove all over that young man’s face?” quote in particular. If this is an attempt at humor, it is in very poor taste. We can’t forget that this man had a family who just suffered a great loss. Such language is unnecessary and disrespectful.

I think, however, my biggest issue of all with this piece is the fact that the writer is turning a tragic accident and making it into a feminist issue.

I am among many women who have strong beliefs regarding our rights and our capabilities. If I felt there was an issue, I’d surely speak up. Are women underrepresented in NASCAR, or are there just not that many women interested in motorsports? Would the public reaction change if a woman was involved in a fatal crash? Maybe. I don’t know. But, I see no need to take something as tragic as the death of Kevin Ward, Jr. and use it as an opportunity to talk about feminism in racing. There are other ways in which this could be done.

As a fellow blogger, I can appreciate the opinion of this writer, but I respectfully disagree. As women, we should care about issues we face in the world, and societal pressures we deal with. However, for certain things, there are a time and a place. And I don’t believe this tragic incident is an appropriate one.

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