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Confessions of a Gate Getter: We put the Culture in AgriCULTURE

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

by M. P. Cremer

Like many females in their mid-twenties, one of my guilty pleasures is occasionally following pop culture news and trends. It’s not something I’m super proud of, and truly, as far as “news” goes, it’s about as meaningful as a $3 bill, but it is entertaining at times. 

One can’t argue whatever new, ridiculous and offensive stunt Kanye West has pulled isn’t entertaining. It may be baffling, it may make you shake your head, but it’s captivating, nonetheless. 

Speaking of captivation, I find it surprising when a moment in pop culture makes me think a little deeper, and there’s been a recent topic which has made me fall down a rabbit hole. 

I submit to you – Hollywood’s country Western, rhinestone cowboy, “yee-haw” culture.

A few years ago the stars and coattail-riders in Hollywood latched on to the “cowboy vibe,” and they haven’t let go yet. Is this trend here to stay? Or is it but another passing fancy?

Only time will tell, but let’s look at the root of this Western pop culture frenzy.

I believe it started in 2018 with the premier of Paramount’s hit drama series “Yellowstone.” The show is a popular television series, and it’s ranchy characters paved the way for other Western movies, TV shows and short-form videos to hit the mainstream. 

The next domino to fall in line was caused by the collaboration between hip-hop and pop recording artists with Nashville’s elite. 

We can sit and debate all day long about whether the music leaving central/middle Tennessee is actual “country” music or not, but despite our opinions, it still remains the country music capital of the world. 

Thus, a cross over between country, pop and hip-hop occurred. 

Speaking of Nashville, it’s more or less bachelorette party central right now. Thousands of brides to be and their gal pals flock to the city year-round in search of a “cowboy.” Some of these women come from a rural background, some don’t, but what they all have in common is they love wearing pink cowboy hats and line dancing – I say, more power to them.

The cherry on the sundae is the fashion industry. 

In 2023, multiple big-name, high-end brands promoted Western fashion. Among these brands was the crown jewel, Ralph Lauren, whose models donned rodeo-style gold buckles, sherpa collared jackets, cowboy hats, silk scarves and cowboy boots. 

These runway looks trickled all the way down to department stores and fast-fashion boutiques, creating a Western-style shockwave in city dweller closets across the U.S.

All of these pieces falling into place led to an abundance of celebrities embracing our Western culture, which influenced every day, working-class people who have most likely never seen a cow in person to want to be a cowboy. 

It’s almost like anyone and everyone could claim the late, great Toby Keith’s hit song “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” as their anthem. 

So now I ask, my dear agriculturist reader, how does this make you feel? Is this cultural appropriation or cultural appreciation?

Cultural appropriation is the adoption of certain language, behavior, clothing or tradition belonging to a minority culture or social group by a dominant culture or group in a way which is exploitative, disrespectful or stereotypical. 

An imbalance of power between the appropriator and the appropriated is a critical condition of the concept, according to Britannica.

Whereas cultural appreciation is purely mimicking someone’s culture to pay homage for a lifestyle they adore while learning in an attempt to better understand the culture.

As far as social media comedians who bank on cheap laughs from poking fun at rednecks and – as much as I hate to admit it – recording artists like Beyonce, I have to question their motives. 

I believe they are riding the cowboy culture wave for as long as they can and filling their pockets along the way. I don’t think they have much malicious intent behind their actions, I think they just want to make a quick buck. 

I wouldn’t sell my soul to the devil for this kind of fame. Let me be clear, I am specifically referring to the devil from Charlie Daniels’ hit song “The Devil went Down to Georgia,” but that’s just me.

On the contrary, I would argue in the case of Ralph Lauren, “Yellowstone” Creator Taylor Sheridan and one of my favorite tattooed Rapper Post Malone, they are purely appreciating a culture and hoping to share their love for our culture with the rest of the world. 

Post Malone’s face tattoos may not be what we’re used to on the country scene, but this man has said on multiple occasions Hank Williams is his hero and he can cover an outlaw country tune like you wouldn’t believe.

All in all, I don’t take much offense to Hollywood’s heartthrobs and it girls immersing themselves in the muddy, country-creek water. I say, let them wear their cheap 10-gallon hats and listen to our radio stations. 

Maybe even invite them out to your place for a steak – they’ll probably want to take a photo with your cows, your horses or your tractor, but who cares? 

It’s like the old saying goes, “Imitation is the best form of flattery.” 

Why not revel in this recent agri-culture-al appreciation boom?

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