Lucy Coffey, the oldest veteran who served in the U.S. military has died at her home in Texas. According to USA Today, Coffey served throughout the Pacific in World War II, and she is an Indiana native. Being one of 400,000 American women to serve, she was one of the brave people to enlist after Pearl Harbor was bombed. She excelled so fiercely in her work, earning two bronze stars, rising to the rank of Sergeant, and also earning a Philippine Liberation Ribbon during the Battle of Luzon. Coffey was discharged in 1945, after which she began to still be involved with the military. Her official retirement came in 1971.
The one thing that caught my eye as soon as I clicked on this story was the heading which said, “Oldest American Woman Veteran Dies at 108”. Now, some people might say that heading is perfectly fine. They might ask, “what’s wrong with that heading?” Maybe it’s just me, but did the journalist really needed to add “woman” veteran? Later in the story her name was revealed, so readers would eventually know she was a woman. But why did the journalist feel the need to put that in the header? Would he or she have said “man” veteran, had it been a man?
Too often I see stories with headings like that. Whether it says, “woman” athlete, “woman” doctor, or “woman” veteran, it’s all the same in terms of being sexist. It’s like saying to the world, “Hey guess what! Not only has a veteran died at age 108, but get this, she’s a WOMAN!! Crazy, right?” In my opinion, it’s like the journalist was saying, “Forget that one of our brave veterans has died after serving such a meaningful life in this world, but it’s actually a chick.” I hope in the future headlines like that are called out, because it in no way celebrates the achievements of Americans, but rather prolongs the sexist mindset in many.