Recently, I clicked on a link titled, “The Top 10 Hiking Boots for 2016.” You see, I’m in the market for new hiking boots. My trail runners, which I used extensively last summer and are a few years old, now have holes in the toes and busted air pockets. It’s time for a new pair of hiking and backpacking shoes.
So when I clicked on said link, ready to spend my money on the best pair of hiking boots to be quickly broken in and stomped to shreds on myriad trails in the Pacific Northwest, I was sorely disappointed. See, the list was for men’s boots. I felt somewhat lucky the writer with the masculine name included links to the women’s version of each shoe. A link was nice, but who’s to say the women’s version of the shoe stacks up the same as the men’s version of the shoe? I was back to square one.
It should be no surprise when I experienced the same roller coaster of emotion within the next few days while reading a list for the best something-or-other, but this time, without links to the women’s version of the products.
So I left a comment: “I guess women don’t go outside? Cool.”
This isn’t a new issue. In 2014, Misadventures compiled an in-house report highlighting the under-representation of women in outdoor media. The majority of staffers are male. The majority of bylined writers are male. The majority of photographs and illustrations are of males.
I guess women don’t go outside? Cool.
I love reading about Conrad Anker, Jon Krakauer, and John Muir as much as the next person. Edward Abbey is one of my very favorite writers ever. But where are the people who look like me? Where are the women’s voices? Where are the images of kick-ass ladies leading a gnarly climb or catching a huge swell or hell, even through-hiking a major trail? And I’m even a white, college-educated, middle-class woman. I can’t even begin to talk about the under-representation of women of color or LGBTQ women.
Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough. So here’s the deal. A couple times a month, it’s my goal to send a roundup of links to articles, long-form reads, videos, documentaries, and gear reports that are either about a woman, written by a woman, or for a woman. Because they’re out there and they’re good, I just need to find them. I’m convinced I’m not an audience of one, so whatever I find, I’ll share it with you. Fair?
Likewise, if you find an article, photo essay, or video about or by a woman, I wanna see it. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check the archive here.
See you on the mountain!