The other day I was searching for a radio station as I was driving and finally found a country station coming in clear. I heard the song “Girl in a Country Song” by Maddie and Tae. A catchy tune that playfully drew attention to how misconstrued and disrespected women in country music have been represented lately. I had heard it a couple times and have seen the funny music video but I finally started thinking about what they were saying and started to relate to it on a personal level. If you haven’t heard the song I will post the video below.
With this in mind I listened closely to other popular songs that talked about girls. Bottom line, I am proud to NOT be a girl in a country song. I can guarantee the real women engaged in agriculture don’t identify as being “tan-legged Juliets.” Why? because they wear work jeans even in the hottest of weather to walk through fields, feed livestock and ride horses. Which results in some pasty legs that could blind you. I know I am not the only one that wouldn’t be caught dead strutting around in a bikini top, cutoffs and boots. They don’t always have immaculate manicures, in fact most of the time there is dirt under their nails because they aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. Their hair isn’t perfect because no one has time for that when you are getting up before dawn for chores. As comfortable as “painted-on cutoff jeans” sounds, I know I would rather be in my not-so-sexy, worn, work jeans. Can I see a show of hands for ladies that have taken their bra off at the end of the day and had hay fall out? It happens! Life in agriculture is messy and hard. It leaves you with callouses, bruises and tired muscles. However, the knowledge that you accomplished something in your day makes it easy to fall asleep at night. But you never hear about that in any of the songs do you? In addition to the surface level difference between societal perception and reality, there is a deeper component about women in agriculture being missed. It’s their character, dedication, ethic, drive, and lifestyle.
All of these songs make it sound like they have nothing better to do but chase around guys in trucks hoping to slide into their passenger seat or shake it on a tailgate but the truth is women in agriculture are too darn busy. They are getting up at 4:30 in the morning to start the day and not done until the sun is setting. They are putting themselves through college so they can help their family farms be successful. They are driving combines during harvest all through the night. They are spending hours over paperwork, calculating to make sure they can make ends meet. They are scheduling their day around a calf being nursed back to health. They are putting their own homegrown food on the table for their families between running their kids to 4-H meetings and school.
They are farmers, welders, ranchers, agriculturists, teachers, barrel racers, field scouts students, scientists, viticulturists, supervisors, moms, daughters, sisters.
They are tough. Determined. Relentless. Compassionate. Practical. Humble. Most importantly they are very real.
These are the women who deserve to have songs written about them for growing our food, researching methods of sustainable agriculture, teaching our kids, and carrying on the legacy of powerful women. Perhaps, its a stretch to think someone could put all of this into lyrical art and make it so they have their moment on 92.9 FM but what women agriculturists do deserve is recognition.
I am proud to NOT be a girl in a country song. I am proud to be among the numerous women carrying on the values of agriculture and the country lifestyle.
Here is a look at some real-life women in agriculture.