International Women’s Day– yesterday– was a cool day on the internet. NYT published obits of women they had failed to memorialize in the past. Male friends honored their women friends on insta. Everyone wore purple. It was hip to listen to women! Cool. But I didn’t publish this post yesterday, and here’s why: women’s voices matter every. single. day. Put that in your pipe and smoke it! So without further ado, here are some thoughts on women and adventure in the media:
A few years ago, I read a copy of Outside Magazine on a plane. I like Outside— because I like adventure, and I like fitness, and it’s more interesting than Shape or whatever (which let’s face it, you’ve read one, you’ve read them all). But boy, did I get mad that day. The cover touted a story about some awesome women athletes (didn’t manage to get one in the cover shot, though!)— and I flipped to the article. I was dismayed to find it was actually more like a photo spread, with full-page photos of women in tiny clothing, and the text was mostly about like, what they ate for breakfast. Sad trombone, Outside. So, I looked back to ask myself if my magazine-reading habits were silently minimizing women, and guess what?
- 2016 was 0 for 11 on women gracing the cover (yet they somehow managed to get noted outdoorsman Tim Ferriss in there?). Oh, and the Tim Ferriss issue contained the story that started it all— “these seven women will crush you”. Like that should be somehow surprising or notable that women might “crush” you? Anyway.
- 2015 was 1/12— and she’s wearing a bathing suit (but at least she’s an athlete!). It doesn’t get better as you keep going back (you can look at their archives.)
I think, to their credit, Outside has recognized this and is trying to rectify it. I’m waiting to see whether they can walk the walk. So far, 2018 has had Amelia Boone on a cover. 2017 had Mikaela Shiffren as cover athlete, plus a special women’s-themed issue (XX factor-branded, co-sponsored by REI, where they put their men on hiatus for the month. I have mixed feelings about this*). I’m not counting the anonyous bikini-clad ass on the April issue.
But, there’s a silver lining! My fed-up female athlete ass went on a mission to find some better content for adventerous females, and lo and behold, Misadventures was there for me. You guys. Have you seen this? They have it at Barnes and Noble, and REI. But get a subscription!
tucson represent! from a glorious Misadventures story on BICAS.
They have incredible articles and no sexy pictures. They write about conservation! And urban cycling! And surfing, and skating, and kayaking, and camping! The photos are gorgeous— and they’re of natural elements, and women athletes— including, frequently, women of color. They review gear for women— and not just by adding a pink one to the list. They review books by women. But what mostly makes me happy is the fierce, fresh female voice that runs through it. My experience of the first issue of Misadventures was kind of like when I watched Wonder Woman— IT ME!! I’ve been doing it all wrong letting men run the show! My tribe has arrived!
*Is this kind of like the thing fashion magazines do where they do a “size themed issue” or have a column about plus sized clothing, but don’t do anything to alter the rest of their content about dieting and featuring models with unrealistic bodies? Maybe. I guess we’ll have to see. I’ll be happier about it if, instead of putting their male writers, editorial staff, and photogs on furlough for a month, they start hiring more women into high-level jobs, and using more women freelancers, every month.