We’re all familiar with stereotypes but I thought it might a bit of fun to explore the various stereotypes in farming from country to country and to see how you all respond – do you feel you fit into the stereotype or is it a million miles away from how you would like to be respresented?
What do you think of when you consider Australian farmers? What might they be like? What comes to my mind are sheep farmers (some cattle but mostly sheep), huge acreage, using horses, quads and small planes to round them up as needed. The farmer himself is lean and muscular, a talented horseman and while the hat with the bobbing corks to keep flies away is an exaggeration, I do see him wearing a hat. Much of my visualisation probably has much to do with Crocodile Dundee and Australian soaps which suggests how pervasive film and TV representations can be.
Source: The Guardian
Has anyone seen the Australian farmer as female by the way?
This blog post by Fiona Lake tackles the ad agencies that portray Australian farmers as straw-chewing hicksvilleans.
When I picture an American farmer, I imagine a Texan rancher and yes, this is probably influenced from programmes like Dallas or westerns that I watched many years ago. Colossal expanses of land, travelled by horse carrying a rider wearing a stetson wide-brimmed hat, checked shirt, leather chaps over denim jeans, big belt buckle, cowboy boots and maybe a handkerchief scarf around his neck.
And of course, another portrayal is that of the pioneer stern farmer in the famous ‘American Gothic’ painting by Grant Wood from the 1930s
How accurate are these? I looked at some of the interview posts on Farmnwife to see that this stereotype actually fits very few American farmers!
British farmers tend to be typecast as the stiff upper lip, gentrified, tweed wearing, estate owning English country gent and I’m sure even those estate owning, previously wealthy, farmers are finding it hard to keep going at the moment. A rustic squire who spends most of his time shooting with his guests rather than milking his cows.
Another stereotype (and again from television) is that of the simple impoverished farmer, quite similar to Irish ones, with his old clothes and peaked cap, who speaks in deference to the previously mentioned estate owner. All of my memories from television are from what I watched many years ago – in this case ‘All Creatures Great And Small’.
The most famous farming Irish film has to be The Field – a strong opinionated and determined farmer who would let nothing stand in his way, a son who was dominated and had few social skills and a wife who despised them both. Yet, the Irish attachment to land could be described as being this strong – I’m sure murder and mayhem has been caused because of it.
There are two Irish stereotypes that come to mind, one is of the older farmer who wears a sports coat and a peaked cap. He may have a knitted pullover under the sportcoat and braces will be supporting his trousers. The trousers will be a little baggy and will puff out above his wellies. He doesn’t do that much hard work but will lean on his shepherd’s crook or walking stick and give orders to his sons. Anyone remembering Miley and Dinny from Glenroe?
The younger farmer wears jeans with a belt and tends to be a bit scruffy with an elongated walk – just like Miley but yet I do know some farmers like this!
And what about Biddy – do female farmers look and act like Biddy?
How accurate or inaccurate are the film and TV representations of farmers? ?This is the image that farmers internationally may have of farmers in other countries and are certainly what city dwellers may believe.
If you are a farmer, do you think you fit into the stereotype or is it a million miles away from how you look and act?