The women of Ice Road Truckers—or, would the producers rather you call them “girls?”
Lisa Kelly broke into the “boys only” club of the History Channel show Ice Road Truckers, and she did a pretty good job of it. She is definitely still learning, and doesn’t project herself as the tough, don’t-mess-with-me-or-else type of trucker some might like her to be, but she does come across as really striving to do her job because she wants to do it, not just as a plant for History Channel ratings. She’s not a big, hefty, masculine female, but a small, blonde, perky gal—well, at least, she was last season. This season, she is a small, darker version of herself, apparently trying to get rid of the “blondie” image, as she herself referred to it in the opening show of the 2011 season. In fact, with her dark hair—which, at alternating times, appears dark brown, burgundy or maybe even a dark auburn—heavy black eyeliner and black fingernail polish, it seems she may even be making an attempt to appear a bit on the “goth” side. Does it work? Well, it does do away with the “perky gal” image of last season, even if it doesn’t seem to flatter her that much. So, maybe it does work, for what she seems to be hoping to accomplish: Be accepted as a “real” trucker, not just one of the “girl” truckers on the Dalton.
Having a female trucker on IRT brought a new twist to the show last season, if only to see what she was not going to be able to do next—and, to be honest, there wasn’t much she couldn’t do, she just made such a silly fuss about whatever new situation she found herself in, it was hard not to laugh. And, had she been a young male driver, one would probably have been giving him a thumbs-up for trying to learn and working hard, instead of thinking, “What is she doing out there, anyway?”
This season, Kelly doesn’t have Jack Jesse, her biggest cheerleader from last season, to help her through the rough spots, and is being given more challenging assignments—like the oversized car carrier she hauled in last night’s episode—in recognition of her hard work and progress. And, although she isn’t as confident in her abilities as maybe she should be—the assignment last night seemed to terrify her, as she recalled a similar failure last season—maybe that shows a smarter side of her, not a weaker one, because, after all, she didn’t back down from the challenge, she faced her fears, and took the assignment all the way, on her own, no backup. A little bit of fear, after all, is good—for an example of potentially hazardous self-confidence, one needs only look to another trucker on the Dalton, Dave Redmon, who seems to consider himself an expert at everything truck-related, even though he has never been on the Dalton.
With Kelly making progress in her quest to be accepted as a “real” trucker, it seems that the History Channel felt compelled to bring in another female trucker, Maya Sieber. Before the season started, the History Channel IRT website painted her as a tough, tattooed, New York City driver, and one may have expected her to come onto the scene with lots of bluster and attitude—maybe more like Redmon has, in fact. But, in fact, she is now being styled as the new “it girl” of the show, all giggles and “oh no’s!” as she learns more and more about the Dalton. Last night, it was unclear as to whether producers of the show would like her to drive the Dalton or star in a new IRT calendar, as she stripped down to a bikini and took a dip in an area hot springs—seriously? Have we ever seen other drivers—male drivers—taking it down to a Speedo and jumping into the hot springs? With the IRT cameras rolling around them, getting angles worthy of the latest godaddy.com commercial? Seriously?
Kelly has worked—worked—hard to become an accepted member of the IRT cast. She is a real trucker, carrying real loads over the Dalton, not a new “character” in a bikini taking a giggly dip into a steamy hot springs—is Sieber even going to drive a truck this season?
There is nothing wrong with bringing another female driver onto the IRT scene, but this is not the way to do it. It doesn’t further the show, and it makes a mockery of all that Kelly has actually accomplished, as if women on the show should be “girl truckers,” to be seen or get out of the way—is this the show the History Channel really wants to present to viewers? And, are viewers going to respect a show that was once about the real work of real truckers becoming a peep show?
Read more about the new season of Ice Road Truckers on Huliq.com:
Ice Road Truckers: Were rookies Dave and Maya victims of reality TV?
'Ice Road Truckers': Oh, no! Maya takes the driver's seat
Ice Road Truckers introduces new cast, splits time between Alaska and Canada
Image: Wikimedia Commons