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Women and Jeeps: A Brief History

No, Actually. It Didn’t Start with Barbie.

As was the societal standard in her day, Barbie wore pink, kept herself well-groomed, and never got her hands dirty outside of cooking and cleaning. Then one day, she saw the light and got a Jeep! I’ve always felt sorry for Barbie but probably never more so than when she bought that pink Jeep.

Despite her soul yearning to fly down dirt trails and splash through streams in a topless Jeep, the poor girl was pushed into an overbearing society-induced pink haze of what "feminine" was supposed to look like.

Give the girl credit, though; she did manage to find herself behind the wheel of what has become an international symbol of carefree delight. But she was forced into compromise when she bought the only color available to her - pink. I doubt Barbie ever drove her Jeep anywhere other than shopping (the original "Mall Crawler)." For sure, she never took it out early on Sunday mornings to compete with Ken and the rest of the boys on a hill climb.

Where It All Began

The bond between women and Jeeps began in the factories at the outset of WWII when the Army acknowledged the need for a durable and versatile all-terrain vehicle. While America's men were fighting overseas, women on the home front answered the call. They flooded the factories to assemble and test drive the Jeeps before sending them to the battlefield. They knew they were doing their part. 

Women building military Jeeps at the Willys Overland Factory in Toledo, Ohio (c.1942)

Women served in the war on all fronts, many of them driving Jeeps as part of their service. Date night meant a Jeep, sometimes as a destination. When the war ended, the young ladies back home were thrilled when their dad, brother, uncle, or husband brought home an Army Jeep. It was joyriding at its best. Further, the great-granddaughters of those women were the first to rock their own Jeep Power Wheels. So what if they were pink?

Considering the way Jeep made its initial mark in our world, it’s no surprise that Jeep is synonymous with adventure. Jeeps do what all other vehicles do; get you where you need to go. The difference is that a Jeep will take you places most other vehicles can’t.

Where the Dirt Road Ends

Women never forget their first love, and for the lucky ones, that was a Jeep Wrangler. Women purchase about 65% of all new cars sold in America. In their effort to capture that demographic, automakers began to manufacture gender-specific cars. One, even producing their model in pink.

Few women bought those cars, however, because as it turns out, women prefer to purchase cars for many of the same reasons men do. And sitting behind the wheel of a Jeep inspires confidence while possessing one's own agency - something that for many women is elusive. It also doesn't hurt that with a Jeep, there's always a huge fun-factor.

As adults with the responsibilities of careers and families, women may sometimes have to leave the back roads on the back burner, but never their Jeeps. They simply opt for newer models such as the Jeep Patriot, Grand Cherokee, Compass, and Renegade that emulate "responsible adulting" in features highlighting fuel efficiency, safety, and dependability, 

Hit a bump in the road while driving a modern Jeep model, and you won’t get jolted from your seat like the days of yore (not even in a Wrangler). It may be a time for luxury, comfort, and modern electronics, but one thing will never change. A Jeep woman is still a Jeep woman and she’ll always have fun behind the wheel of a Jeep.

Website: HerJeepLife.com     

Facebook: www.facebook.com/herjeeplife/     

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