In an article written by Adrianne Wadewitz, PhD (The Gendered forest: Women Relax, Men Mountaineer, The Society Pages Nov 22, 2013) she notes that the men to women backpacker ratio seems to be 5:1, and equates it with the industry’s marketing strategy and product design/availability. She theorizes that hiking/backpacking is marketed toward women as “an escape from their stressful lives, not a sport to challenge their physical ability.”. I agree to some extent, but I think that the onus is more on consumer to shift their paradigm of thinking and to drive the market. For what is a backpack but a big ass purse in which to carry stuff you deem necessary. As with “fashion” purses, backpacks come in varying sizes, styles and brands…some more pricey than others, and depending on the crowd you run with more “status” evoking. If you like, and can afford it, you can have one for any and every type of excursion you go on. And let’s not forget the THOUSANDS of accessories and SHOES you can “pair” with said “purse”. The combinations are endless, and ever evolving with the next “best”and “newest”evolution of gear. Alas, the ratio still seems to be 5:1. Yet I still don’t think its all about the gear and marketing. The issue…the REAL issue is…PEEING, and well let’s be honest, monthly visits from “aunt Edna”. Subtract those, and you’d see the forest teaming with women, cause really when you examine the world of nature who’s tougher?… not to be confused with physically stronger (Think pregnancy, childbirth, child rearing, ability to function (for YEARS) on very little sleep, and the fact that we can be so mean to each-other.) Therefore it is my contention that if women could successfully pee without having to drop their drawers (and even then be assured she wouldn’t pee on herself), and could tell Aunt Edna she couldn’t visit anymore, unless invited (her stays would be limited…very limited) that 5:1 ratio would change dramatically!…don’t ya think? Now where’s my purse?..ah, I mean backpack…it’s time to go for a walk.
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