Wrangling Women: Humor and Gender in the American West

In the 1970's, Winthrop, Washington, a small community in the Methow Valley, reinvented itself as a western-theme town. Many women living in Winthrop not only work with horses as packers, horse trainers, trail guides, wranglers and ranchers but also as teachers, veterinarians, bakers, volunteers, leather workers and business managers. These women work in an environment where gender stereotypes must be carefully preserved for the sake of a tourist-based economy. Yet they often subvert and undermine these traditional images with humor. How these wrangling women accomplish this challenging balancing act is a fascinating study of women's manipulation of language and gender in the American West. Wrangling Women is an engrossing commentary on the way women use humor in their storytelling and in their working relationships. Their humor reveals much about issues of gender in the American West.