So I missed National Women’s Day. It was apparently March 8, and I guess March is Women’s History Month. I don’t care. I’m not one for these “let’s create a day or month to celebrate this one large block of the population because they have been held down” type of people. I really believe all human achievement should be celebrated equally regardless of sex, race, etc. And (here comes an unpopular opinion) “Woke Culture” is really starting to annoy the crap out of me. I think a large part of that comes from growing up with an agricultural background. Never once growing up did I feel like or was made to feel like I was less than a man, that less was expected of me, that there was any job beyond my reach, or that I had to struggle more to achieve great things in life. I’m an equestrian. I control a twelve hundred pound animal with my thighs and four fingers. The equestrian sports are one of the few Olympic sports where from the very beginning of history, men and women competed on equal terms against each other with out having to change genders to do it.
When you grow up in a rural area, on a farm, around farming people, men and women are equal. Livestock doesn’t care who is feeding it as long as someone is doing the job. Caring for livestock isn’t as simple as making sure they have food, water, and see a vet occasionally like a dog or cat. You don’t just go to the local pet store and get your livestock feed. I guess some hobby farmers do, but for the majority of us there is a lengthy, very labor intensive, as in requires serious manual labor better than a gym workout, process of actually making your animal feed, storing it, and then actually feeding it.
My dad didn’t make all of the hay our animals would consume, because we didn’t own enough suitable land for growing/making hay, but I still spent some time pitching/stacking squares on a hay trailer. Now that I have my own farm, I realize I didn’t do nearly enough. Even when we purchased hay from another farm, I was still there to help load and unload. At roughly seventy five to one hundred pound bales of hay, that’s a lot of double handling. On our current farm we usually pick up around eighty square bales at a time, because our barn has limited storage space. That means either I throw bales or stack them (usually stack) on the trailer at the farm we pick up from, and my husband does the opposite job that I pick. Still each of us are handling on the low end around six thousand pounds of hay. When we get home, usually I throw and he stacks, because he’s taller and it’s easier for him to go high in the barn. Still we’re each lifting six thousand pounds again, a total of twelve thousand pounds or just around six tons just to bring the animal feed home. Then you get to lift it all again to feed it!
Like most farm kids, I was behind the wheel of a truck before I was even tall enough to adequately reach the pedals driving a hay wagon through the hay field. Large equipment, tractors, balers, bull dozers, semi trucks, dump trucks were all part of the farming life. I crawled under vehicles and equipment with my dad to do maintenance, and although I had no idea what we were doing, I did know when I handed him the wrong tool or the flashlight wasn’t pointed in the correct spot. My dad taught me useful “man skills” like how to change the oil, tires, brakes, and rotors on my vehicle. Of course why do it yourself when my time is now worth more than the money it costs to pay a mechanic to do these things, but the point is I know how and can. What I didn’t have an opportunity to experience on our farm, I saw/rode/drove on the farms of relatives and friends. I grew up riding ATV’s and getting muddy.
The women I grew up around did it all. There wasn’t a single job on the farm they hadn’t done or couldn’t do. Let’s be honest, not every job is so glamorous you would prefer to do it yourself just for the bragging rights that women can do anything. I can think of tons of jobs, I was capable of doing, that if a man, or even an alien from another planet were to offer assistance, I would gladly bow out. Since we primarily had horses and only raised a few market steers, most of my agricultural experience revolved around horses and beef cattle. Once again, if the man wasn’t around, was traveling, or was sick, someone had to make sure the livestock was fed and cared for. When my husband travels, I’m taking care of fourteen equine, ten sheep, forty some chickens, three dogs, two cats, a toddler by myself, and still working my day job like a boss. That’s lifting fifty pound feed bags and throwing multiple seventy five pound plus squares everyday. Funny thing is I usually do the heavy feeding when my husband is here because I enjoy the horses a lot more than I do the chickens.
There’s a meme going around social media that says “I can’t contour my make-up, but I can back a truck and trailer all by myself.” That sums up the women I grew up around, although most of them could contour make-up AND back the trailer. My aunt was always my secret hero. Since my aunt and uncle raised performance cattle and ran a herd considerably larger than the two or three steers my dad kept, the workload on their farm was exponentially more than anything on ours. Depending on what shift my uncle was working, feeding and caring for the cattle was left up to to my aunt at least an equal amount of the time no matter what the weather. Sometimes when they were showing cattle clear across the country, she’d load equipment and cattle in the gooseneck and make the drive with my cousin (then primary school age) by herself, and my uncle would follow after he got off work. I heard more than one story about her changing a trailer tire along the highway in the snow by herself on the way from WV to Colorado with a trailer full of cattle.
Fast forward I graduate fourth in my high school class with a course load primarily focused on math and science. Total cliché, I was never good at math, I absolutely hate it, but still I made it through Calc. 4 in college with A’s and B’s. I actually enjoyed science when the higher math didn’t take the enjoyment out of it. Then because I guess my university was considered “liberal arts” (oh how I’ve come to despise that term and everything it stands for), I was forced to take a “cluster C” class. Basically the university was saying “Your educational focus is too heavy on things that will actually make you a productive member of society. We need you to sit in this class so we can brainwash you into thinking like a liberal.” I got stuck in a “Women’s Studies” class and I had to work harder not to fail it than I did Molecular Biology. I’m sort of joking, once I figured out that I had to tell the professor the opposite of everything I had experienced in my life, and lie about my core beliefs I walked out with an “A” but it took me a few weeks to figure out that compromising my integrity was the only way to get the grade for the piece of paper companies want in order for me to gain access to the corporate world. That part isn’t a joke.
Seriously, from the moment I stepped in the Women’s Studies class, the professor, who was a “woke” male by the way started spouting off to the mostly female attendees, that we were inferior and white males had held us down our whole lives. There were two guys in that class and they looked like they wanted to put a bullet through their head as bad as I did three days a week for an hour. Literally this guy said that my teachers discouraged me from math and science career paths, which contradicted everything I had experienced in life to this point. In fact, I was one of only five students in my mostly male master’s program that had all the prerequisite math and science prior to entering the program and didn’t have to take remedial classes to stay in the engineering school.
The women’s studies professor said I would make substantially less in my life than my male counterparts and be funneled into a traditionally female focused career (exactly the opposite of what I experienced during my corporate ladder climb). I was actually the first in my master’s of science graduating class to earn my CSP certification, and was working at the corporate level of some pretty heavy industry earlier than my male counterparts. When half of my male classmates went into insurance, I went to work at a steel mill! If I stated that the professor was dead wrong about my life experience or what my future held, he tried to make a mockery of me in front of the class. This definitely watered and fertilized a seed of hatred I’ve held for higher education ever since. The professor was attempting to shame me into a sense of victimhood, and I’m no one’s victim (except maybe fashion, I make seriously questionable choices where that’s concerned). Education is a glorious thing, but the indoctrination taking place at these institutions is repugnant. Ok stepping off the soap box.
That blip on the radar aside, I seriously give a shoutout to the agriculture ladies out there that didn’t have to be told they were as capable as a man! Even though I have a mild disgust for having to name a day or month “National (insert special interest group)” anything, I do enjoy the occasional story of a woman that did something really off the wall for the time period she lived. I like people that challenge the status quo, while still taking responsibility for their life situation. I’d be lying if I don’t enjoy a little one-upmanship with members of the opposite sex. It’s also kind of fun to pull my big diesel truck up beside some little hipster guy crawling into a Prius and give him that “In Texas? Seriously?” look as I walk away with the spurs still on my cowboy boots. I try not to harbor resentment for women that weren’t fortunate enough to have my life agriculture experience, and fall for the lies the media feeds them. It’s not their fault they didn’t have good role models growing up.
I’m blessed to be related to, have learned from, and know some incredible women that are doing awesome things everyday! I do my best to set a good example for Offspring and raise him right, so that he doesn’t see women as delicate flowers, but at the same time is respectful and chivalrous. So girls keep getting on with it, and to the guys in my life thanks for putting up with me and for all of the help getting me where I am today! I truly believe male or female you can do it all (except men won’t be giving birth anytime soon and women won’t be impregnating men among other biological impossibilities). The journey is just so much better when you share it with others be they man or woman!