Wild and Wonderful Women: Counternarratives to tired Appalachian stereotypes

Martinsburg, WV

Appalachia has been plagued by negative stereotypes that paint the region as being poor, uneducated, lazy and lacking diversity. Exacerbated by cultural phenomena such as “Hillbilly Elegy,” and MTV’s “Buckwild,” the people of Appalachia have been misrepresented and stereotyped in popular culture. However, there are women in Appalachia who consistently defy these cultural stereotypes and are improving their communities through music, art, education, writing and nonprofit work.

Through this website, you can learn more about an author, R&B singer, scholar and founder of a nonprofit. Four women from very different parts of West Virginia, with one thing in common — they’re Appalachians improving their communities.

All of these women are pushing back against negative Appalachian stereotypes in their own ways. Whether it is passively pushing back against the notion that Appalachian women are lazy by putting hard work into a nonprofit, or loudly disrupting ideas about what a Black Appalachian woman can do, these four women are impacting positive change in their communities.

While this website showcases four amazing Appalachian women, we know there are many more!

If you have an Appalachian woman in your life who is doing exceptional work in the community, nominate her here for a chance to be featured as a wild and wonderful woman.