Chauvinism declared a congenital defect
Here's a lovely sports-page news article from the testosterone- and camouflage-enhanced twits writing for the Mississippi Sun Herald. I just love it when they explain my feelings and behaviors for me! [via Twisty at I Blame the Patriarchy]:
Call of the wild: Women hear it, too
Dirty and wild: the new outdoor woman
Tens of thousands of ladies are fishing and hunting out there. They don't start with a lot of skill, but they learn quickly.
The main problem for many new women hunters is finding someone to show them what to do. They may know how to shoot a rifle or shotgun, but that doesn't mean they know where to place their tree stand or how to call a turkey.
Give them a chance. If you meet a woman in camo, be friendly and ask if she needs help. Dragging a 180-pound buck out of the woods is hard, doing it when the buck weighs almost twice as much as the hunter is almost impossible.
So share your knowledge and strength; there's plenty of room in the woods and on the water for us all.
Yikes! Twisty views the article as "sublimely patronizing" and adds to the authors summation "and consider not raping her." Yeah, you can offer your help, but only because you'd offer it to your male co-conspirators too, Jim Bowie. I don't know, I cringe from the possibility of sounding harsh because I know how it's heard, but if I can actually smell the chauvinism... then it's really bad. Is it possible to view the other people in the woods or water as equals? Independent of gender? Because we are you know. Take an unbiased look around. These are just a few who blog. I've learned some really great outdoorsy stuff from men. But, I've learned equally cool outdoorsy stuff from women. In both cases, I learned from them because they were knowledgeable and able to teach, not because they were male. Some men are incredibly adept at hunting, fishing, trapping, cooking; and others should stay home where they're safe from heavy or pointy things, strange shadows and loud noises. Men can be counted on to shoot each other in the woods every fall. The same principle applies to women however. We are not automatically skilled or unskilled at anything by virtue of our gender.
I say this as an 'outdoors woman' who has applied her 'knowledge and strength' to save 'outdoors men' from certain ignorance, inconvenience and/or demise a time or two. So have some of my women friends. Two close female backpacker friends of mine rescued a male hiker with an ankle injury while traversing Isle Royale a couple years back. They found him, fed him, splinted his ankle and hopped him to a ranger station. B and I have helped out 'outdoors men' a few times too. A couple of winters ago, B and I were wading and fishing a gorgeous stretch of the Pere Marquette River on New Year's Day. It was a beautiful cold and snowy day, the trees and banks were blanketed with several inches of new snow, and we had the river to ourselves - almost. During our wonderful, peaceful outing, we were occasionally passed by the one boat that was out fishing the same stretch that day. B and I, and the 2 men in the driftboat, chatted and exchanged pleasantries several times while we all leap-frogged each other downstream during the glorious afternoon. They were genuinely friendly 'outdoors men.' We were all enjoying the peaceful river.
When the purpley-gray dusk rolled in, the men beached their boat down at the ramp and we waded out and hiked toward the car - the only car in the parking area. We quickly noticed a change in the tone of the male voices we'd scarcely been aware of. One man had hiked up from the ramp to fetch his truck and trailer only to discover that it wasn't there. They had apparently hired someone to deliver their truck and trailer from their put-in spot to this take-out location, and something had gone awry. So here we were, 2 women, 2 friendly but essentially unknown men, one smallish car packed full of fishing/vacationing gear and a driftboat. It was at least 2 miles back to town, so there was no way we were just leaving them there to fend for themselves in the cold and darkness. They had no phone and didn't think they would find an easy solution late on New Year's Day - the flyshops and businesses were all closed and they didn't even know if they'd find anyone at home to help. Our packed-to-the-gills car was capable of transporting only 2 people, so I quickly calculated that B would have to drive one of the men to town to call/fetch/resolve something and I'd have to stay here in the dark with the other guy until they returned. They seemed like good guys, but why should I trust my intuition? A brutal attack on a woman had happened several years before on this very river. That was an altogether different situation I think, but how do you ever know in advance? You don't but I figured I'd have to trust my instincts and take calculated risks like this occasionally to help others out. B's cell phone was dead and mine could receive no signal. B proposed driving one man to town with her while I and the other stranded fisherman waited at the boat ramp. "I'll take one of these guys to town to find some help - if you're OK staying." "Um, ... yeah, I guess I'm OK with that. Just let me grab my warmest jacket." Man #1 noticed my slight hesitation and assured me that I shouldn't be scared. Before I could muster a response, he followed with, "Don't worry, he'll take care of you," pointing his thumb toward his buddy. Uh, .....OK. ....Right. I quickly figured out that he assumed my safety concern must be about a third, as yet unidentified mugger/murderer/rapist/gunman waiting in the woods to pounce at the first opportunity. Wow. Talk about a clash of cultures. I think he'd never in a million years figure out that someone might be concerned about him. And why is he so confident that a smallish, unarmed fisherman would protect anyone against this unknown assailant?
B drove into town with man #1 while I stood around in the darkness with the man #2. From a respectable distance, we chatted about all things fishing, then about all things lower Michigan, and then about all things fishing again. B was gone for at least 45 minutes with man #1. When B finally returned, she reported that they'd finally found a friend or a neighbor at home and the friend was now on his way to join these 2 guys at the boat ramp. With everyone satisfied that transportation was on the way, we bid the men farewell and happy new year and started our long drive home. B and I had a lot to talk and laugh about during our drive. While I don't think this is the type of outdoor assistance the Mississippi writer was imagining, a bad situation is a bad situation and help is help. It's really the same thing. Ours had been a slightly inconvenient and humorous situation that ended well, but mainly we were amazed and a little shocked at how some men apparently see themselves and at how differently we all perceived our little situation.
Moral of the story: Gender schmender. Start by assuming others are your equals and go from there. Dude, it might be an 'outdoors' woman that comes to your aid some day.
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