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’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.
(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:
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!
Women in the Wild is a movement that recognizes the amazing women athletes and enthusiasts who enrich the outdoor community with their passions, inspirations, and accomplishments every day. With support from OluKai, KEEN, and Mountain Hardwear and many more organizations, Outdoor Project is proud to grow this campaign in 2018 and to be a platform for the incredible stories and photography of women throughout our community. From in-depth interviews to female-focused content from the community to phenomenal gear and travel giveaway packages, each and every article is a celebration of the fortitude, strength, and camaraderie that comes with being part of Women in the Wild.