To introduce a video interview with Dennison Lubricants driver Emily Weymouth, named Overdrive’s Most Beautiful and featured on last month’s cover, Overdrive editorial director Max Heine wrote this:
It’s probably a safe bet that there’s not too many slender women drivers that every day drag around the heavy hoses used in distributing lubricants, getting plenty greasy in the process – and love the work.
Some readers seized on the “slender” reference to criticize Heine, the contest and Overdrive. Other complaints centered on Weymouth’s tattoos, her routes being local instead of long-haul, and other points.
Desiree Wood of the Real Women in Trucking group, commenting here at Overdrive Online.com, said the contest is a “very weak and inappropriate way to recognize the contribution women truckers make to an industry that rarely gives them any notice except as a token diversity photo opportunity.”
Mike Gomez wrote: “Honestly, you can’t consider an individual who is home daily to be a truck driver. Those ladies and gentlemen who live in the truck, sleep in the truck, eat in the truck own the road.”
Ira Doss: “Ship her out west, and let’s see if she can live through a heavy load off of Donner in January. Or a nearly empty trailer across Wyoming in a 70-plus mph wind. She’s never done it once, let alone every week like so many real female drivers.”
Others came to the defense of Weymouth, Heine and Overdrive:
C.W. Moore: “Not sure what all the comments about [Weymouth’s] clothes are all about. It looks like she wears a t-shirt and blue jeans at work. That’s how I dress at work. You guys are too critical; we should be supporting each other out here, not trying to beat each other down.”
“Big Mike”: “Some people happen to like tattoos. If everyone looked alike, the world would look like a big herd of cattle. She may be working local, but she’s still driving a truck.”
Following meeting Weymouth at the Great American Trucking Show last month, Liz Martin penned this chronicle of her journey through her first trucking show working with Zip Xpress of Holland, Mich. In more ways than one, Martin’s encounter with Weymouth overturned Martin’s own admitted internal stereotypes of what a truck driver was or could be, she noted in a letter to Overdrive, adding, “In an industry that has a relatively unfriendly reputation, we have a lot of work to do to get it back to the place it used to be. I wrote this article in response to trucker stereotypes, as an attempt to combat the images this industry has to overcome. We are starting to feel the sting of the negative stereotypes and the lack of drivers that want to come in to this industry, and I think it’s time we start working together to change things.” You can access Martin’s full account, “Do I look like a truck driver?”, via this link.