Is the Future Female?

There’s a lot of hype right now in the outdoor world about women in the outdoors.

And for good reason.

The tides are finally changing, and woman are stepping into bold new roles. We’re seeing more women in the outdoors, more women (and men!) advocating for women in the outdoors, and more non-profits, organizations, and companies dedicated to woman than I can keep track of.

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Photo by Utomo Hendra Saputra on Unsplash

It. Gets. Me. So. Stoked.

Because when you look back over the course of history, the sh*t women had to put up with is pretty abysmal.

Like when Arlene Blum wanted to trek Denali and was told women weren’t allowed past the kitchen at base camp.

Or when Margaret Smith Craighead, Margaret Bedell, Ann Sharples, and Mary Whittemore made the first female ascent of Owen-Spalding on the Grand Teton, and the Salt Lake Tribune wrote, “Another successful invasion in the field of sport by the weaker sex.”

WHAT.

Yeah, it was a common thing.

Even earlier this year, when Austin, TX mayor, Steve Adler, decided to host an all-female showing of Wonder Woman, a livid man sent in a letter saying, “the notion of a woman hero is a fine example of women’s eagerness to accept the appearance of achievement without actual achievement,” and “achievements by the second rate gender pale in comparison to virtually everything great in human history which was accomplished by men, not women.”

I literally cannot even. Literally. Cannot. Even.

Even looking at our political landscape: our current Vice President OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA thinks women shouldn’t be paid the same rate as men for the same amount of work.

Sigh.

I promise you, though, we have come a long way.

Because despite the amount of backlash women’s programs have received in the past year (and the past entire history of mankind), women have defended their rights, and gained momentum. The Women’s March garnered at least 3.3 million protesters across the nation.

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Photo by Roya Ann Miller on Unsplash

H O W E V E R

We may be doing ourselves a disservice by saying the future is female.

For too long, women were undervalued. Their opinions weren’t respected, they couldn’t run/swim/bike fast enough, and they didn’t ‘deserve’ the rights of men. I want to be very, very clear here, I am 100,000% for women’s rights, for equality across the board, and for every woman who believes she can. I am not, however, about promoting women in a way that demotes men.

Men are pretty awesome. I think they’ve gotten a lot of flack for their past transgressions (and by “their past” I mean all the men who made a bad name for the lot thousands of years ago). Take my husband for example. He’s a feminist. He supports my career. He washes the dishes and does the laundry. He’s kind, generous, strong, empathetic, and courageous.

The future, I hope, is symbiotic. I hope this movement empowers women to come alongside men so that both genders are recognized for their strength, courage, and all the talents they bring to the table. We’re not one better than the other, but we are better together.

So yeah, the future has a lot more female influence (THANK GOD), but I hope we can play to the strengths of both genders to create a more peaceful future.

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Photo by Matt Heaton on Unsplash


Photos courtesy of Unsplash

Midweek Round-Up #4

I recently attended the No Man’s Land Film Festival put on my Wylder Goods. It was an EPIC night filled with inspiration, activism, and badass lady crushers. This round-up features non-profits and films from the event.

HEAL Utah is an active non-profit in the Salt Lake City area that’s fighting for clean air. The most negative side effect to being a Salt Lake resident is the inversion we face every winter. Unfortunately, this once wintertime problem is slowly leaking into a year-round problem as we damage the ozone above our beautiful city and mountains. They work tirelessly especially during the legislative session to promote the passage of Clean Air and Clean Energy laws.

Shannon Galpin is a doer. In 2009 she left everything behind to start a non-profit in Afghanistan to empower women through cycling. For five years Shannon had no success, and was unable to find even one female who rode in Afghanistan. After years of learning to understand the culture and the deep-seeded taboos behind women riding bicycles, Shannon was able to establish her non-profit, Mountain2Mountain, to get women riding. Since then, Afghanistan has developed a national women’s cycling team, which has found the support and gained generous donations from Liv cycles.

Save Our Canyons began in 1972 as Salt Lake residents saw the threat of urbanization on the Wasatch Front. They have worked endlessly to protect our wilderness and canyons from development and industry. Through the organization, Lone Peak, Mt. Olympus, and Twin Peaks, have been saved as designated wilderness. As the non-profit grows, they continue to take on new tasks like protecting the watershed, and, currently, raising funds to save Bonanza Flats.

Last note of inspiration: The Edges Film spotlights a wonderful passionate woman, Yvonne Dowlen. Yvonne started ice skating as a young girl, and turned her passion into her career. Even after a car accident and a stroke, both in her 80s, she continued to skate five days a week. I was so inspired by this film, and the fact that at NINETY YEARS OLD she was still ice skating. Age is just a number, people.

Midweek Round-Up #3

Shorter work weeks may cut our CO2 emissions in half, reduce our stress, curb accidents, promote gender equality, and reduce unemployment. I’m in! Read the full thought-provoking article on the TED website.

The EPIC May 2017 edition of Outside came out with a crew of badass woman dominating it’s cover with the headline: The Future of Adventure is Female.

Spring and summer are upon us, and so are the much needed reminders to Leave No Trace. This article is a great reminder about what is acceptable trail etiquette and what’s…not so much. Check it out and decide for yourself if you’re an asset or detriment to the outdoors.

Brendan Leonard’s website, Semi-Rad, is where my inspiration for a midweek round up came from. He posts insightful, and often hilarious articles. He’s also just completed his second book, The Great Outdoors: A User’s Guide, which is currently on it’s way to me.

And an awesome quote from Hunter Drew:

“This is something I’d like you to recognize and truly wrap your mind around. Everyone makes an excuse as to why they can’t do the things they need and want to do. Only a very select few people out there are making excuses to do the things they need to do.

People have become so comfortable that they’d rather suffer a mediocre existence than put in the slightest effort required for improvement.

Instead of complaining about the problems that you have in your life, start working to solve them. Stop being so comfortable sitting around talking about how the world is holding you down. You are holding you down—GET UP! Stand up and start doing.

Stop being so goddamn comfortable all the time. Implement some intentional discomfort into your life.”

Midweek Round-Up #2

Who says you can’t have a midweek round-up on a Friday?

For the first time ever, a group of badass lady setters are coming together to create a space for women to learn the art of route-setting. From the founder: “SheSets intends to create an environment where women are taken seriously, where expectations of women are high, and where women don’t have to fight the urge to grow.” The weekend takes place in Loveland, OH, and has a variety of pay options. Check it out, http://www.shesets.com/

REI’s #forceofnature movement. This year, REI has made a commitment to grow the presence of women in their advertisements, and provide better and more technical options for women in the outdoors. You can check out their movement on any social media outlet with the hashtag mentioned above.

Isaac Lowe-Anker, son of Alex Lowe, and adoptive son of Conrad Anker, is not only an adventurer, but also a talented artist. Check out his IG @iloweanker for beautiful pen and pencil artwork.

The IFSC heard us! Two weeks ago, the International Federation of Sport Climbing announced they would start charging viewers to watch the World Cup Series for $20/month. I don’t even pay that much for Netflix. Of course, climbers everywhere took a stand and protest signs were prominent at the first IFSC World Cup of the season. Shortly after the IFSC released a statement rescinding their decision to charge. Keep climbing free!

New Year, New Tribe

The problem, ultimately, isn’t that there aren’t enough options in retail stores, it’s that there aren’t enough women getting out and charging.

As 2016 comes to an end (can you even believe it?), and we all start making our new years resolutions and thinking about the people we are now, versus the people we were a year ago, versus the people we want to become, I want to plant a seed.

I often hear and read about complaints from women in the outdoors that they want more options for gear. We are all frustrated with the lack of options for women’s technical gear, the discrepancy in options between men and women’s climbing shoes, and ultimately the variety of what we can purchase in the store to protect us all outside.

I get it.

The other day, though, I started thinking that we’ve been wanting a band-aid cure. We just want the outdoor companies to meet our needs (which is fair). We want to feel represented and to have them recognize that woman can, and do, charge just as hard as men. I’m not here to belittle that. AT ALL. We woman are powerhouses and we have come so far in the outdoor industry. Kudos to us.

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Beyond that, we’re living in an incredible time where organizations like SheJumps, And She’s Dope Too, Bold Betties, She Shreds Co, Chicks with Picks (and on and on and on) are hosting meet-ups, and planning rendezvous’, and organizing all women’s AIARE courses.

Because of this, I think the answer and the push to getting more technical gear for women is in the works. From a marketing and monetary stand point, for a long time it didn’t make sense to stock the floor with technical gear for women. Think about it, whatever REI puts on the floor is a direct representation of their customers wants/needs. So yeah, there is a growing number of us who want/need a bigger variety of technical gear, but there are also a lot of women who don’t need alpine bibs or expedition mitts.

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Here’s what I’m saying: in 2017 we need to be more vigilant in inviting our friends outside. The problem, ultimately, isn’t that there aren’t enough options in retail stores, it’s that there aren’t enough women getting out and charging. We need more women doing more awesome things in the outdoors. The easiest and best way to do this is to find your tribe of badass woman and hit the trails and crags and slopes, and encourage them (as they’ll encourage you) to challenge themselves–to climb the harder route, to ski the black diamond, to spend five days in the wilderness. Since I moved to Salt Lake City, I’ve met so many woman (most who also just moved here) that want to get outside, but don’t know where to start. It’s so easy and fun and exciting to invite someone along on your adventure. My climbing gym gives me a free pass every month, and it’s usually spent introducing someone to climbing.

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So go ahead, write it on your list of resolutions in 2017. Let this next year be a year that women continue to encourage other women to get outside, face their demons, and overcome challenges. We’ll all be the better for it.

Power of Pink

I used to hate pink. Loathed it. I wanted people to know I could play around in the dirt, that I rarely wore make-up, and could only throw my hair into a high pony. I didn’t want people confusing me as the “girly” type.

When I started doing more outside, and realized the deficit between men and women in the outdoors, I decided I wanted to stand out. I wanted people to know that I was a woman, and hell yeah I was capable of charging.

The outdoor industry has consistently been plagued with the “pink-it-and-shrink-it,” agenda, which definitely plays into all the pink-shaming. Let’s be honest, how many more items do we need in our closet that are tickle-me-pink or magenta or peach or rose or coral?

Fortunately we’ve come a long way for female clothing and gear. Only a few decades ago women were wearing men’s clothes and making it work—so there’s definitely something to be said for where we are now and the choices we have.

About a year ago I bought the women’s version of the solution which have a pink camo pattern on them. They were my first real aggressive shoe, and I bought them at a time when I was climbing exceptionally harder than I had in my climbing career.

Not long after, I purchased a pair of pink Patagonia climbing capris, and then a pink harness. I bought more clothes with bright colors, and grew more confident every time I roped up.

Because here’s the thing—every time I head out to the crag I’m outnumbered three or four to one. I see groups of men climbing together, but rarely groups of women. I’m most of the time climbing with my husband and his buddies. I tweak out with every lady that passes with an over-eager smile as if to say: be my friend, we’re in this together.

Whenever I head out, I’m conscious about what I wear because it’s a way to prove there are ladies getting out and crushing every single day. I want people to look up and see me trying hard and thinking, damn, that’s a girl leading that?

That’s right. Because who run the world?

Girls.

 

To the Badass Babes

Everyday I am inspired by the accounts I scroll through on Instagram. I’m impressed by the women overcoming their fears by heading into the mountains, or onto the rock, or into a yoga pose they’ve never tried before. I see women of all ages sending 5.13s in iconic places like the Red River Gorge and Yosemite. I see women breaking their PR’s in the Ironman, or 50 milers, or ultramarathons. I see women training in rain, and snow, and the humid heat.

I see progress pictures capturing how far so many have come, and I am blown away by the determination and dog-heartedness of all these women overcoming challenges that so many of us have faced, are facing, will continue to face.

We’re in this together.

I know what it’s like to be unhappy with my body and then see minor changes as my muscles begin to show themselves. I know what it’s like to be terrified in the wildnerness, by myself, wondering if I’m capable of taking another step into the unknowable forest. I know how it feels to stand at the top of a run in the backcountry, anxious about avalanches, pumped for the thigh-deep powder.

This is why whenever I see other women overcoming challenges and walking alongside their fears I want to cheer them on in their victories. I am so dang excited that I’m not alone in my trials, that we woman are a tribe. A strong mother-effin’ tribe.

So here’s to you, badass babes. Whatever stage of your adventurous journey you’re on, know that you’re not alone, that you have so many adventurous, wild women who have come before you, who will come after you, and who will come alongside you. There are women all over the world who have faced your trials—in fact, there is probably at least one other woman somewhere in this world right now, at the same point in her journey as you are. What a wonderful thought to rest in.

Wherever you are today, and whatever it is you’re working through—whatever trial you’ve faced, whatever victory you’ve won—whatever process you’re journeying through right now, know that you’re not alone, and that I’m cheering you on, you strong, inspiring woman.

Cheers!

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