Hegemonic Masculinity “A term first introduced by R. W. Connell, hegemonic masculinity refers to the dominant form of masculinity within the gender hierarchy. Although hegemonic masculinity subordinates other masculinities and femininities, it can be challenged by them. In most Western societies today, hegemonic masculinity is associated with whiteness, heterosexuality, marriage, authority and physical toughness.” http://www.encyclo.co.uk/local/20212

Farmers have existed for thousands of years. They are the backbone of society. Without farmers, we would all be hungry. Why is it that such a heroic occupation has gone by the wayside? Throughout Hollywood storylines of young Americans fleeing the farm for the big city run rampant. The modern image of power is the “working woman” and “business man” living in the word of the stock market and the suit. Why has our society diminished the farmer in our culture’s power hierarchy?

Aside from the farmer being devalued, the organic farmer takes an even bigger step down. Joel Salatin even goes so far to say that in order to be an organic, conscientious farmer, one has to be a “sissy farmer.” Organic has been given a feminine quality. In an occupation traditionally dominated by men there is a sense of pride and competition. A culture in which farmers strive to achieve the biggest crop yields and make the most profit, organic may seem counterintuitive for many in the agricultural business. Organic takes more than just buying, spraying, and corralling. It takes TLC. Is it because mothers are so nurturing, that to care for a plant or animal without causing harm or pain, one must be nurturing and therefore must be feminine?

The truth of the matter is that organic, sustainable farming can be very masculine and it can be very feminine, but ultimately it has nothing to do with gender roles. Farmers using new innovative, eco-friendly practices need to be smart, and men and women are both smart. They need to understand ecology, biology, botany, and most importantly, they must be business savvy in order to survive in this capitalistic word. Farmers today need to be informed and aggressive. Combined with compassion and a sense of responsibility to the global community, organic, sustainable farmers are the complete package. There is nothing sissy about that.

P.S. I love Joel!