What is it about?

A creative nonfiction / academic piece about the role women played in the American west versus what we see in film, television, and pop culture; additionally, the piece details the author's struggle to reclaim his love for the Western genre amid its many hypocrisies. Westerns are beloved for their adventure and escapism, for heroes saving the day and riding off into the sunset. They explore landscapes and expansion and conquest, and a unique and important epoch in American history, a time of great change for the then-young nation. But we must consider who isn't present in these stories, the women who contributed profoundly in the West—among scores of other marginalized peoples—who have been cut out of these narratives completely. It's a symptom of a larger disorder: the pulp novels and Western pictures that helped redefine the West skewed its history and painted over people of color, women, whole fragments of truth entirely, all to promote some sagging inferiority White men seemed to harbor on a microscopic level. And so women especially, in this genre, became props and trophies. They were fought over and won. And even today, scanning the breadth of Western films and novels, they still haven't had their proper due.

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This page is a summary of: The Women West of Here: Reckoning Their Place in the Western, Pop Culture, and History, Great Plains Quarterly, January 2022, Project Muse,
DOI: 10.1353/gpq.2022.0005.
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