A woman and her truck: Pickups, the woman driver, and cowgirl feminism | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 38, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1466-0407
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9118


Of all the vehicles produced for the American driver, perhaps none is more strongly associated with masculinity than the full-size pickup truck. Although women are recognized as the fastest growing segment of the US pickup market, the reaction to women’s intrusion into what has long been considered male territory has been met with a fair amount of resistance. Female truck drivers often have their femininity questioned, and are subject to unwarranted criticism and negative stereotyping from male peers. However, rather than change the culture, female truck owners have developed a strategy to gain acceptance and legitimacy within it. Identification with the cowgirl – the strong, courageous and fiercely independent woman who helped build the American West – grants women the authority to enter the masculine world of pickup trucks on their own terms. As noted by the 25 pickup-owning women interviewed for this project – and considered through the lens of cowgirl feminism, a concept coined by Laura Jane Moore in her historical examination of the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame – the assumption of the cowgirl persona not only provides women access into a historically masculine culture, but pronounces them as capable, hardworking, adventurous and empowered women drivers.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): American West; automobiles; cowgirl; feminism; masculinity; trucks
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