Jill Sanford | 06.14.2017

Act like a lady. Take smaller bites. Comb your hair. Paint your nails. Play by the rules. Say you’re sorry. Don’t bite your brother…

(Okay, maybe that last one only applies to a few of us.)

Growing up, women are subtly taught how to act like the “fairer sex.” It may come as a surprise to some, but—news flash—women get dirty and sweaty and stinky, too. Our hands get calloused, our faces wrinkled, our minds and bodies tough. Unfortunately, it’s 2017 and all genders, not just women, still feel pressure to act a certain way because of subtle societal expectations.

And… (Disclaimer for the faint of heart who’d rather not read about how raunchy outdoor women really are: This might be a good place to stop) we’re just as gross and crude when we get together in the backcountry as any of the guys.

Many of us feel like we should filter ourselves in mixed groups. If the men in our lives are crass, we should laugh and roll our eyes. Many outdoor women are used to being the token female in a group of fellow adventurers and often find themselves in the role of the peacekeeper or the observer. Even in the outdoors, it’s common for those subtle messages we were brought up with to pop back into our minds.  

Be nurturing. Lower your voice. Be modest. Set a good example. Fit in.

We filter ourselves.

We’ve had men ask us why we go on all female trips and adventures outdoors. They jokingly accuse us of reverse sexism, and although they might say it with a smile, we know that they just don’t get it. Disagree with everything you have read so far all you want, but just know that we are speaking from experience with this kind of self-censorship.

And we know we're right because there is something that happens in an all-female dynamic. The filters fall away. And it’s amazing how, when we are given permission to swear, be loud, raunchy, and unapologetic, that boldness translates into the sport or activity at hand. Failure becomes fine, and success seems more achievable.

So women in the wild, let those inhibitions go.

(Another disclaimer, this is where it really gets raunchy.)

Swap those stories about periods and pregnancies and sex and poop. Laugh with each other 'til tears run down your face and you have to pop a squat in the middle of the woods so you don’t pee your pants.

Don’t know where to start? Here’s a few tips, tricks, and go-to subjects compiled from strong, bold, and seriously gross women on all female adventures:

  • Periods: When it comes to riding the crimson tide in the backcountry, view it as a moment to feel victorious over your body rather than conquered by it. From stashing away tampons in a Ziploc baggie with a couple of uncoated Ibuprofen to deal with the smell or rocking the menstrual cup, there’s tons of period hacks out there that ingenious women have discovered. The point of talking about it: You aren’t alone in dealing with this in the woods, and it shouldn’t hold you back.
  • Pregnancies: The female body is absolutely amazing. Mamas-to-be have all sorts of secret things happening with their body that no one ever talks about. Why? Because society thinks they are gross. Those of us who haven't been pregnant, and maybe even those of us who have, are blown away by each new story about placenta, discharge, and babies. We're proud of what these bodies can do and think it's way more impressive and tough than anything men boast about on the reg. 
  • Poop: Yeah, women poop. Surprise! When it’s your turn in the backcountry, grab that trowel and go dig yourself a hole with pride. 
  • Sex: We’ll just put it like this. The stories we hear from other women in the backcountry are way more detailed and raunchy than anything we’ve heard a dude come up with. (Yes, that’s a challenge.) So swap your juiciest hookup stories without reservation! 
  • Farts: Let 'em rip, loud and proud. On that note, go ahead and boast about all of your audible bodily functions. Belching, queefing, popping joints... who can do it the loudest? 

While there are some ladies out there who are already unfiltered no matter the company (you know who you are!), almost anyone can learn something from opening up and being yourself. There's no shame in speaking the truth - and if those surrounding you can't handle it, it might be time to reevaluate your choice in crew. 

Ultimately, when you let yourself get real, raw and comfortable with your adventure buddies and stop worrying about being 'polite,' you open yourself up to more - more progress, more fun, more laughs, more adventure, more connections, more camaraderie, more happiness, more everything!



Honestly, I find this only partially true. It's definitely true that I tend to be pigeon-holed and perceived as less-capable when I'm in a male-dominant group. I've also known women with really poor hygiene and amorphous personal boundaries with respect to classically private matters, but I wouldn't equate my average experience to that of the stereotyped male average experience of crude/raunchy/gross "boys being boys" hullabaloo they have to deal with. I mean, women don't have to ellicit that behavior in order to prove their realness. There's a certain practicality to discussing those subjects, but you also need to take into account some basical level of camp hygiene, cultural etiquette, and the impact your lack of inhibitions might have on camp morale and the ability to handle adversity. Belching or farting like a boy seems like an odd measuring stick to hold ourselves up to in order to be worth being around fellow outdoor women.
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