My Heroes Have Always Been Cowgirls

The August edition of Texas Monthly features a striking cover shot with a headline that reads Our Heroes Have Always Been Cowgirls, which I couldn’t agree with more. There are few points in this article that I found to be pretty valid and interesting.

I found so much irony in this headline as I had just been in an intense discussion about the importance of women on the western frontier. The gentleman I was having this conversation with is what I would stereotype to be your typical Texan and he just could not wrap his mind around what I had to say. I was quick to inform him I was not from Texas and I was raised by a mother who has probably built more fence that he has.

Don’t get me wrong I am not trying to elude in any way I better, stronger or as talented than anyone from any where with that statement, but since moving south I have been told countless times “That’s a mans job…”. Yes, sometimes some jobs are better to be left to a man, but I don’t see why I can’t give any job or task a try.

If I never heard that phrase again it wouldn’t be soon enough. 

Our Heroes Have Always Been Cowgirls

Texas Monthly August 2011

On that note, the feature story by Barney Nelson highlights many of the tests and trails of women while living the dream of heading west. This story focuses on the women of the past and present who have done the jobs to ensure success of their families and the businesses that sent them westward.

Cowgirl’ is an attitude, really. A pioneer spirit, a special American brand of courage. The girl faces life head-on, lives by her own lights, and makes no excuses—Dale Evans

Nelson is also dedicated to reshaping the image of the cowgirl into one that is not tied to the “…buckle bunny, concho whore, boots and breakfast, or trolling with turquoise” titles. The image that she desires to portray through this story is one of dedication, determination and the ability to just do ones jobs without the need for praise.

A very intriguing portion of this article is the mention of people who live the western or rural lifestyles that have chosen to maintain a type of silence. Cowgirls, written by Teresa Jordan in 1982, looked at women throughout the west who rodeoed and worked the ranches. She discovered that many of these women chose this sort of invisibility to the national icon of the cowboy. At the same time she concluded that many of the men and women of this lifestyle were content with being almost invisible.

So this invisibility that has been chosen by those who are feeding, clothing and producing countless other products that betters the population of the world, because of the negative light the most major media outlets portrays agriculture? Or is it due to the romanticized story of the cowboy or the rich farmer?

Whatever the case, this is an issue in agriculture. It has been almost thirty years since this book was published, more people within agriculture are willing to tell their story and why things are done in a certain manner. Yet at that same time the guard of agriculturist has gone even higher against talking to the media for fear of a miss understanding with the public. I have ordered my copy of Cowgirls!

I encourage you to pick up this months issue while you still have time!

To all the ladies that have impacted my life, forever and always, my heroes have always been cowgirls!


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