Am having interesting internal and external conversations about what is expected of women in our society. I was just explaining to someone that I was raised in the middle of the woods on a remote Alaskan island, amusing myself by traveling through the forest on my hands and knees pretending to be a wolf or a wild horse (alternately of course). I wasn’t raised with parents who were into coiffed hair and social climbing, my mother never ever subscribed to women’s magazines, and I wasn’t allowed to watch much TV. When I was permitted to choose a show to watch, I would pick something action-packed and exciting, like the Dukes of Hazzard or Magnum P.I or that show about the stunt man. I was really into Voyagers and any story that involved sword fighting. I don’t think I ever saw a girly show when I was a kid.
Fast forward lots and lots of years and I still don’t read those stupid chick magazines. I like to wear dresses now, but I still have been known to run around in the woods all day and even crawl about on my hands and knees for fun. I have never been a people pleaser and my “do they like me?” meter is perpetually pegged at “I don’t give a fuck.” Unless, of course, “they” are people that I care about, but that’s kind of different.
A while back I needed to sell my car, but I was busy and didn’t want to be bothered with doing it myself, so I consigned it at the local Audi dealer. This wasn’t my regular dealer, from whom I’ve bought five cars over the years, so maybe I erroneously assumed that I’d be treated fairly as I always was before. I struck a deal; they’d sell the car, give me X dollars, and keep the rest if they sold it for more than that. Fine by me. However, I underestimated the fact that my regular dealer knows me well and knows my tolerances, and this new dealer had no clue. So when they called me to ask “a favor,” maybe they did really expect that like a nice people pleasing girl I’d say “sure.”
Their “favor” amounted to “we sold your car, but can you please take less than our original deal? We aren’t making much money on this. Pleeeeeaaassseeeee?” I’m not exaggerating about the begging. They groveled. I’d seen them advertise my car for five thousand dollars over what they would pay me when they sold it, so I knew they’d shot for the stars, failed, and then had to unload it pretty cheaply. Was that my problem? No. If they had sold it for the five thousand dollars over our original deal, would they have called me up and said “Guess what? We did great! We’re giving you extra money.” Hell no they wouldn’t! This is business, we don’t do “favors.” They wouldn’t do me the favor of handing over extra cash and neither would I.
I always wonder if they would have even tried this stunt had I been a dude. I really just can’t picture it. If this has happened to any dudes reading this, I really want to know. I know the guys at the dealership were pretty well shocked when I simply said, “No. A deal is a deal.” and left it at that.
But looking around and reading lots of blogs I conclude that it is reasonable for people to expect women to “do favors” and “be nice.” I have read a bunch of blogs from women that seem to be based on the following topics: fear, body image, self-deprecation, and relationships. And these are the OUTDOOR blogs! The messages are, like clockwork: “I’m klutzy.” “I’m always afraid.” “I’m not that good.” “My body isn’t perfect but I have to love it the way it is.” “I was slow and messed up but I happened to do well in the race anyway.”
Don’t even get me started on the relationship-obsessed blogs.
I’m so tired of hearing this stuff from you, ladies. Is there one single outdoors blog written by a dude going on and on about how he’s scared, klutzy, slow, insecure, and inept? Is there? I don’t actually know but I really doubt it. Stop it, women. Stop being so self deprecating. I know that as women you’ve been barraged your whole lives with messages about how you should be humble, cute, silly, in need of help, incapable, “lovably” neurotic, and designed to please. Ugh. Spare me. There is nothing lovable about neuroses, being incapable is just annoying, and if you are good at something just say you’re good at it. If you fall down, just get over it; stop making a federal case out of it. Everyone falls down sometimes; it doesn’t mean you’re klutzy and it sure as hell doesn’t mean you should make some sort of badge of honor out of being uncoordinated.
What is to blame for this? Has everyone just read too much Twilight or watched too much Disney? Seriously. I don’t know. I just know I’m tired of the typical “female” topics and I want to hear from some badass women. Far be it from me to complain without offering a solution, though, so I’m going to regularly link you to blogs and articles written by women who do not aspire to be any of the things listed in the paragraph above. I’ll link to women who are bold, confident, capable, and skilled. Do YOU want to be thought of as a bold, confident, skilled woman? Then start acting like it! Stop writing about how afraid and inept you are, and start tooting your own horn a bit about all the stuff you do well.
Here’s one to start you out: Kellie Okonek, a normal woman who just happens to go on lots of rad adventures and has developed some serious skill sets. She skied Aconcagua solo and can always be counted on to come up with some excellent trip, given a few extra days and a map. I encourage you all to be like Kellie and do the stuff you find fun and write about the parts of it that make you happy and excited. Don’t aspire to be a Disney princess. Aspire to be a Kellie.