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'Cheese Makers Are Always Women': gendered representations of farm life in the agricultural press

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Drawing upon the 'Farmlife' pages of Farmers' Weekly, the most significant farming publication in the UK, this article assesses the ways in which gender identities in farming are represented in text and images. Lead articles from 1976 and 1996 issues of 'Farmlife' are taken as the research focus to determine how representations have altered in line with restructuring of the agricultural industry. Reference is made to Connell's notions of hegemonic masculinity and emphasised femininity to inform the analysis about the ways in which these gender identities are (re)produced through the British farming media. A simple typology is derived from the articles, which assists in revealing a remarkable degree of consistency in the portrayal of gender identities over time. Case studies reveal that hegemonic masculinity and emphasised femininity are perpetuated through the farming media, but in increasingly subtle and fragmented ways. The limitations of Connell's conceptualisation are revealed, particularly in its ability to accommodate multiple constructions of femininity. Suggestions are made for research that investigates the consumers of these media products.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2001

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