The Halter and the Crop

Growing up on a farm, the fact I was a girl did not ever seem to define my work with animals. In the barn, my parents assigned tasks between my younger brother and me based on our age and physical capabilities rather than our gender. Mine was by no means a gender neutral upbringing--I was often forced to wear my grandmother’s hand-made dresses. I was given the doll for Christmas when my brother got the toy tractor--but these differences didn’t translate once we were in the barn. Working with animals was a democratizing force, and the cows didn’t care who was a boy or girl. My brother and I got crapped on, kicked at, and nudged by them the same way. We were both just “kids” on the dairy farm.

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