Others in the class have posted about the infamous Super Bowl commercial God Made a Farmer. Farmer’s have recently become more iconic than ever in a nostalgic, return to the land way, but there is another side to the story.
Young farmers are turning up all over the country in traditional farming communities and urban environments alike. In this article highlighting the farming youth, 40 Farmers Under 40, 19 of the 40 farmers featured were female. The article highlights this trend, “They’re urban, they hold advanced degrees and they’re often female.” A New York Times article covering the phenomenon of young, highly educated people going back to the land after earning their prestigious degrees mentioned several young, male farmers, but focused mainly on one young female.
Our New Food Activism class is overwhelmingly female, when we had farmers as guest speakers a few weeks ago, they were all female so it is clear that women are involved in this field in very valuable ways. If this is so clearly the case, why are some people so slow to catch on?
I got this email from Free People a few weeks ago- I took a screen shot of the image:According to their marketing, the farmer’s daughter is still the alluring woman in this industry- not the female farmer. This girl with her sultry eyes, lacy dress, and arm full of bangles is not giving off the vibe of helpful farmhand, but rather temptress. This idea is pretty widespread. Rodney Atkins sings his story of a relationship with the farmer’s daughter. “Just when I thought it couldn’t get no hotter, I caught a glimpse of the farmer’s daughter,” he sings and reminisces about how she got him through that grueling work because she was so pretty. And apparently Free People isn’t the only one to imagine a farmer’s daughter as dressed up and more glamorous than a farmer as Atkins remembers “draggin my butt to work with the smell of her perfume on my shirt”.
Personally, I thought this song was pretty funny, and probably only did a double take when I got Free People’s email because of this class. Understandably, the lingering smell of perfume is much more appealing to everyone than the lingering smell of body odor, and an upscale clothing ad romanticizing female farmers would be just as ridiculous as the farmer’s daughter, but still I’d like to see more representations of female farmer’s in popular media and advertisements. There are women doing great things to change the agricultural industry, let’s recognize the female position on a farm as something other than the temptress, farmer’s daughter.