Hiking: Totes Not Feminine

April 4, 2011 by

I am an avid backpacker / hiker / camper and have been going on 5 years.  I am also female.

Anyway, over the years I’ve come to be pretty tolerant of the stereotypes, from both genders.  Once in a while, though, it gets to me.

Like my boyfriend’s parents, most recently.  Now, my bf has never been on a backcounty hiking trip.  I was uber-excited when he seemed into going with me in May and we’ve spent tons of time together planning, looking at gear and doing research.

He must’ve brought it up to his parents and expressed their reaction to it.  He was not happy, nor was I.

Apparently they find it “weird” that I go with a group of guys, to which my bf explained (accurately) that none of my female friends nor my male friends’ gf’s / wives are into it…  that I DO have female friends.  I’m guessing they think we have campfire orgies in the woods or something… or that I’m just plain promiscuous.

They also asked if “I would be okay” and hinted to my bf that he would have to carry everything.  To make things even more befuddling, his mother used to be a girl guide leader and go camping a lot in her 30’s.

Now, my bf and I haven’t gone together yet, so he hasn’t seem what I’m capable of, but I’ve been going for 5 years and am fairly athletic.  I can carry up to 35 pounds on my 118 pound frame and hike up to 13 km a day (more if some of my male trail buddies were in better shape).

Now, I hate to play into stereotypes, but I don’t look like the “typical” outdoorswoman.  I’m not super-muscular, I’m petite and I am not outdoorsy 24-7.  I wear some makeup in the city, I enjoy some of the traditional feminine activities, etc, etc.  I like to think it makes me unique and multi-faceted.  I don’t like to think it makes me look like a strong breeze would blow me over.

I seem to get a lot of disbelief in terms of my abilities in a variety of situations (especially anything involving strength), but geez – his parents have met me at least a dozen times.  I was pretty offended.

But, that’s what I get for enjoying an “unfeminine” activity while looking “feminine”.  I’m sure I’d get crap regardless of what I looked like, though, because that’s the imposibility of being a woman.

Also, I am a forest slut for going with a group of men.  My bf better beware.  😛

Toronto, ON


A Message From Your Mod

April 2, 2011 by

Hello all!

I just wanted to remind you that when sending in your stories, we need you to give us a location. You can be as specific as the city or town, or as general as the country, but we need something so readers can have some context for your story!

Thanks for sending in your stories, and please keep it up!



Sexism Makes You Bad at Math

April 2, 2011 by

My husband got offered a new job, one he had very little experience for–but his Boss was willing to train him up. He could probably have done 20% of the job.

After a few weeks it wasn’t working out so my husband suggested to him that perhaps I was a better candidate as I knew probably 80% of the job and would pick up the rest fairly quickly.  He said he’d think about it but could only take me on at minimum wage, less than a quarter of what he was paying my husband. Guess expecting equal pay for more knowledge was too much!


Rachel [no location]

Epic Pwnage of Street Harasser

March 28, 2011 by

I had an interesting encounter the other day. I was wearing shorts – as you do on a warm day – and walking down the main street to the university, in the middle of the day.
A couple of men stopped me and one of them said, “How much do you charge, love?”

Female students here get this kind of crap a lot, so I decided to mess with him. “For a prat like you, a million pounds, but if you’ve got a sister, I’ll do her free.”
This incensed him and he started yelling, “You can’t say that about my sister!”
“Well,” I said as calmly as I could, “I am someone’s sister too.”
“Oh. Of course, yeah… I do like your shorts though. Sorry I was a dickhead before, like.”
“Thanks. Just remember women are people too and we don’t like being called sluts.”
“Aye, makes sense… Sorry, love. You have a nice day.”
“You too, mate, nice to meet you.”

I was quite heartened by how he seemed to change his mind and be really quite friendly after I’d challenged him, but I shouldn’t have to answer to strangers for the crime of wearing shorts. Then again, it’s MFIF.

Someone’s Sister, UK

Creative Victim-Blaming

March 28, 2011 by

In the early 1980s, my mother lived in a flat with three other women. She was a night-shift working nurse, and on a certain sunny day while her flatmates were at work, she left the windows and doors open in order to get a little air through the flat. She had got in the bath when from behind the door she heard a noise. She turned around to see a man masturbating. As a staunch feminist, my mum was horrified and, fully nude, she chased the man down the street. Having reported the awful incident to the police, they shrugged it off, with the excuse that she was a nurse, who are known for their promiscuity. They never caught the creep.

Ugh, guess it’s #HFSF and #MFIF

Kitty, undisclosed location

Short Haircut: You Can Guess Where This is Going, Right?

March 28, 2011 by

I have recently gotten a very short haircut. Although the nontraditional trim has given me much confidence, and has met much accolade from my close friends, I get many comments intended to be derogatory while in public.

However, many are surprised at how offended I’m not in being called a lesbian and a homosexual. It’s a way of life, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Why do you think that would I be offended by your mistake?

Whoops, guess it’s #MFIF with a preference for a low- maintenance cut and attracting negativity. Let’s make some petty shots at queer women and women who don’t want to be the traditional barbie dolls.

CJ. Michigan

The absurdity of paternity leave

January 15, 2011 by

I am pregnant. For all sorts of reasons we have decided that – all being well – I will take 4-5 months maternity leave, and my partner will take 3 months unpaid leave to follow on from that. This will provide our future child with 7-8 months of full time parental care before we start to partially outsource things.

When we told my partner’s mum about this plan she asked me: “only 4 months? Our daughter took 9 months off work to care for her baby” then turned to my boyfriend to say: “what is your employer going to think if you take 3 months off work?”

Well, what does she think my employer is going to think if I take 9 months off?

DOH – stupid me – of course it is my responsibility – and mine alone – to sacrifice my work for my child – #MFIF!

Trying-to-be-pregnant-together, London, UK

PS my partner was awesome! He told his mum that 4 months plus 3 months equals 7 months – which is almost 9. Brave man!

BP’s diversity strategy

January 15, 2011 by

I work for BP’s trading organization. We just had a round table discussion about how to get more women into higher level roles, and into trading. Our Head of Trading said that we were going to start “recruiting female athletes for the intern trading program, as long as they can count.” This was after he attested to “giving permission” to the recruiters to lower the bar so they would get more female recruits. I guess it’s #MFIF

BP employee

Patronised by my union

January 15, 2011 by

I work for the NHS and am a member of a trade union. My union proudly claim to fight workplace discrimination, whether based on gender, age, race, sexual orientation, etc. I just received a 2011 diary from my union, and couldn’t help but notice it is pink. Yes, pink. I wonder if the male union members also received pink diaries?

Well, I doubt it, because we all know by now that pink is for girls and blue is for boys. Am I a 4-year-old girl? No, I’m a 30-year-old paramedic, and not only do I hate the colour pink, but I also hate gender stereotyping. It’s bad enough that my patients are surprised that a woman is “allowed” to do my job (what with all that fast driving and heavy lifting- how on earth could a woman do that?!), but my own union supports the ridiculous notion that anyone in possession of a vagina must automatically like a certain colour.

Well, I think pink is vile, and I’m off to cancel my union membership.


Lady in green

Always with the food!

January 12, 2011 by

I live interstate, so I don’t get to see my family all that often. But we got together for a big dinner, and all was lovely until Mother started telling my sister-in-law that she wasn’t feeding my brother enough.

My brother pointed out that HE did all the cooking in their household, and he wasn’t exactly going hungry. Mother listened to all this, nodded, then said to my SiL, “But you really need to make sure he eats properly.”

Embarrassed sister-in-law

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