‘A good step backward’

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If you missed it last week, Carolyn Magner, our resident Reality Check blogger and style maven for the current era of Overdrive models, probed the history of taste and political correctness as it pertains to the old practice of coupling models with hot trucks in the magazine — not to mention wider U.S. culture. Two decades and more following Overdrive’s 1961 launch, she wrote:

Photographing an attractive girl in front of a truck was considered sexist and degrading toward women. The old covers represented a different era, one not in step with the political correctness of the day. We routinely froze out even fleet ads where hot girls in miniskirts beckoned potential drivers with sexy looks, implying, ‘Work for Company X and you may get lucky with a girl like me!’ Right.

But something else has happened over the subsequent time period, she continued on:

Both readers and writers got tired of constantly trying to avoid controversy… The freewheeling, take-no-prisoners attitude of the Internet was like a breath of fresh air. As Overdrive worked hard to improve the image of trucking, a funny thing happened outside industry efforts…. Trucking started to become cool again. I credit the renaissance with the smash hit popularity of reality shows…. It also helped that as the economy tanked and the suits in their cushy cubicles lost their jobs, a steady gig looked pretty darn good. Around the same time…other industries started the retro practice of posing gorgeous women in front of cars, motorcycles, electronics, airplanes and anything else they wanted to sell. What’s old is always new again.

The piece struck a chord with readers. More than one commenter chimed in here and on our Facebook page with kudos for bringing the ladies back. “Phaedrus,” commenting at the site, pretty well summed up the prevailing sentiment with this: “How refreshing that as a society we are comfortable enough to again celebrate the wonderful uniqueness of each gender. I applaud Overdrive‘s risky step backward into reality. And the move to incorporate real truckers is just superb. I’m looking forward to future issues.”

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You heard that right. Magner also revealed earlier this week some work already well under way to feature bona fide CDL-holding and -using women among the models. Below check out an outtake from a shoot at the Great American Trucking Show with Teresa Danielson, a driver who’s based in the Sandy Bay First Nation in Manitoba, below. Find more about her in this Reality Check post.