I wanted to love the Ram Truck Farmer commercial, I really did, but the first viewing disturbed me, and the second infuriated me. It’s not what was in the commercial. It’s what was blatantly excluded.
The commercial, which sentimentally extolled the virtues of farmers, offered pictures almost exclusively of men. And in case that didn’t drive home the point that ONLY MEN ARE FARMERS, the Paul Harvey poem explicitly communicated it throughout, ending with the sentiment that the farmer smiles, “when his son says he wants to spend his life ‘doing what dad does.’”
My grandmother’s ghost sighed.
She and my grandfather owned a farm. Everyday, she rose out of bed before anyone else in the family and went to bed last. She toiled to help run the farm, feed the family, and raise six children (oh, and play the piano in church every Sunday, lead the choir, and care for aging parents). Grandma was a farmer.
Amazing as she was, she was not unique. For as long as humans have farmed, women have worked the soil alongside and just as diligently as men. And not all women farm beside a man. Consider Virginia Mort, a Nebraska farmer who drove her first tractor when she was 10 years old. Mort has never married, and has run a farm since she was 19. Oh, and she drives a '97 Dodge Ram truck. "I take good care of it so it will last a long time," she says.
So why ignore them, Chrysler? Your target audience may be men (though, since since 65% of new cars are purchasest by women, that may not be a choice move), but when creating a media product that reaps the benefits from an icon as profound as the American Farmer, why slice the icon in half and discard what doesn’t fit into your marketing scheme?
Why dishonor grandma, mom, sister, aunt, and millions of women who, over the centuries, have worked tirelessly to feed the world?
On the sixth day God created man and woman, and most likely didn’t forget about it two days later.
For more information about Kansas farm women, check out CommonGround Kansas.