Posted by: codiefrank11 | March 23, 2014

Female Husbands — Shear Madness of “switching roles”

Over Spring Break, a new show aired on National Geographic called “Shear Madness”. This show centers around the life and career of Natalie Redding and her sheep shearing business. She doesn’t fit into the stereotypical “feminine” model of leadership and is very authoritative, direct, and stern in her business. The show immediately caught my attention with how different the set up was, in regards to her leadership style, her family dynamics. Her husband is very much the “stay-at-home-Mom” and she falls into the bossy, bitch stereotype we learned about earlier this semester.

It was interesting to see how authentic her and her family were though. She is very business-minded and focused on the safety and health of her animals to shear them. Seeing how her family was very in-tuned with the business and how their mother and wife work as a leader, she doesn’t fit into the opting-out concept we have learned about. However, she does not have the best relationship with her oldest son.

Do you think this leadership and parenting style is beneficial for women to do, on the basis of not opting and out and remaining authentic no matter what? What are the pros and cons to this?


  1. This is the first time I have heard of the show and I love the different view it presents. I believe that if her working as the “bread-winner” fulfill her idea of success. She is lucky enough to have a husband that can be the stay at home dad and she seems to have plenty of money. For her situation, she has the ability to make work her priority. I do not know if it is “beneficial” for women to parent like her but if that is the path they want and can handle, then it should be accepted by society.
    To add on to Codie’s comments, I also thought it was interesting that even in a job that is so hands-on, she is still filled in nice clothes and long beautiful hair. I wonder if this is the show trying to perceive her as a “desirable” beautiful woman, or if it is just how she is comfortable working. Personally it does not seem very convenient.

  2. I’ve never heard of this show before but it sounds very interesting. I clicked on your link and scrolled down and clicked on “Get To Know Natalie Redding” in hopes of finding out more about her. As I read, I learned about how truly driven she seems to be. Apparently, she traveled to Asia after graduating high school and worked as a model in Hong Kong. Modeling is a very stereotypically feminine career, so it is surprising to see her do a 180-degree change in jobs when she found her true calling in working with animals and she became a sheep shearer, a much more masculine career.
    I also thought that it was interesting that she had the opportunity to have a feminine role at a job and then had a more masculine career. Because she was a model first, it makes me wonder if having a typical feminine career just simply wasn’t satisfying enough for her, and maybe that is why she decided to take a new approach and do something less feminine?
    Lastly, she almost seems like another one of those leaders who “have it all” by her terms of success. This is because she was able to be the owner of her own business, while still being able to have a family and a husband. Although, according to Codie, she does not have the strongest relationships with one of her sons, she seems to be very skilled in balancing her home life as well as her work life.
    I think that her particular style of parenting and leadership is beneficial because she is still able to be successful, but I do not think that her styles would necessarily be as effective for all other women. It seems to me that she and her family value authenticity and that they appear to be doing a good job remaining authentic while having a successful business!

  3. I am very traditional in regards to believing that the mother needs to find a great balance between home and work. However, in regards to her leadership style being different, if her husband’s style is more of the communal I see no problem with the mother not being in the home. The focus that the mother must provide the caring and nurturing spirit is highly sexist (I know I’m contradicting myself). Both men and women can take on agentic and communal roles in a non-typical manner. Focusing and recognizing we all lead differently is the importance in these stories.

  4. I saw a commercial for this show and I thought to myself how refreshing it was to see a woman starting her own business and having a family at the same time. I loved seeing a woman out of her stereotypical role because, once the stereotype was removed, it seemed natural to have a woman in that kind of role. I think that women can be in these roles and I think it is possible especially when they have support, either from their partner or from their friends and family) including their children. Finding balance doesn’t mean we have to figure it out on our own and we can’t be balanced without the support of others around us. I agree with Jessica because we in order to “have it all” in our own capacities, we must be able to define success for ourselves, rather than have it be defined for us.

  5. I agree with Camille, that as long as there is a balance between the father and mother, with one being more communal and involved in the children’s lives than the other, then it should be ok. Having both parents or living in a home with a single parent who takes on her role of being tough, having a lack of emotion and disconnect, would take a huge toll on the child in my opinion. If they child feels like there is no one that they can talk to or relate to about emotional issues, then they will be forced to “grow up” on their own, and I think this can cause people to become very reserved and untrusting. Because Natalie has her husband playing that role, I do believe it balances out. Her son probably feels more disconnected from he because his family is forced to be put in the media, and really shed light on the areas of their lives that they might not like to talk about. A con to her parenting style could be that the child doesn’t feel like they have enough outlets, and could feel weird when other kids talk about their mom in a more emotional sense. But I really admire Natalie for embracing her true authentic self, and really just not caring what others think.

  6. This show really proves how women and mothers are working to challenge the stereotypical norms of work/life balance. I think that Natalie is setting an excellent example in that even though she is the woman in the family, she is the primary breadwinner of the family and lets her husband do some of the characteristically feminine tasks. I think that due to her passion and drive towards her work allows her to be successful and a great role model. Her job is far from the stereotypical norm, and I think that it is her authentic self shining through, rather than just hiding behind the “mom” mask. I truly respect Natalie for providing for her family through such an interesting career choice, regardless of a questionable relationship with her son. This relationship could be on the rocks for a variety of reasons, not necessarily pertaining to her job. Overall, I think she is doing a great job and this show is providing examples to girls and women everywhere that being authentic can truly get you far in life.

  7. HI, I am Natalie Redding of Shear Madness and I want to “thank you for being so kind and open (in the original text and the comments). The roles that have come to be in my relationship with Sean have evolved over time. I have ADHD and misophonia and they are both debiliating. I have a very difficult time staying sane going in public with the demands of sounds, sites and smells. It’s like a kid who get’s overly tired and then is super wound up and is crawling out of their skin. Sean is very low key and nothing really bothers him. These are the emotional reasons for our shift in co-parenting. He does anything outside of the farm, cooks and takes care of the children (for the most part).
    The physical aspects of running the farm and handling all the animals goes to me because it’s my strong suit. The day to day physicality it takes to shear, heave bales of hay and grain all help to release the horrible excess energy and angst I carry with me everyday. Further, I am capable 51 year old woman and having a farm was my idea. How horrible would it be to want a farm, acquire all these animals and then make my husband do all the work?
    When I first was approached to have a show, many of the producers believed America was not ready to see a woman doing mans work. What they didn’t realize is most small ruminant farmers ARE women. This is a statistical fact from the USDA. So, what I felt they were telling me was, “America isn’t ready to really see what women across America do in farming.” That was a hard pill to swallow.
    Please watch my show on Nat Geo Wild. I seem to be a lightening rod for controversy and it’s been a tough road. I really do everything that’s on the show, it’s all real and completely unscripted. I want to believe the world is ready for the truth of just how capable women are.

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