The article Can female explorers save us from extinction? is one of the most read blog articles I have written and it has been widely published in the English speaking world. But pretty much no reaction at all. Neither from men or women within the media. Which isn´t very surprising. It touches a subject that few within the main stream media wants to discuss. It is still a man´s world, exploration, but changing slowly. From my point of view, I prefer reading reports from female explorers on the internet, books etc. They´re always more emotional and interesting, so free of being the first, un-supported and world unique. The other week I was made aware about the Australian female adventurer Jeanie Davison and a recent article she´d written on the subject, so I asked her permission to republish it to reach a broader audience. It would be great if it could start a discussion. It is a hot topic! However, I wonder who the male explorers/adventurers she put her questions to where? If they gave those answers they must be with the most stupid guys I have heard about. One of the most read articles on my blog, is the great female explorer Arita Baajiens article about female leadership in the desert. She is as female you can be, but is easily one of the toughest explorers on earth. And, I have personally tried to watch these survivor programs, but I just get irritated how false, dumb and over-edited they are. The only bloke I like is Ray Mears, who is a soft spoken guy who knows what he is doing. And, we definitely need more women in those roles!
Adventure: A Man´s World?
This week, I’ve been developing a new adventure series for television. While doing some research for the programme, I came across some really eye-opening attitudes about women and the adventure sphere.
There seemed to be a general feeling amongst the men I spoke to that the only women who tackle hardcore adventures are “big butch lesbian types”, and that women for the most part aren’t cut out for expeditions or challenges requiring supreme mental and physical strength. And, argued these same guys, men don’t want to watch TV programmes about butch lesbian women’s adventures – but if they were young, blonde and fit-looking….
As you might imagine, I found these comments very…provocative. After doing a straw-poll amongst some female colleagues (who retorted that men should try childbirth before consigning women to the adventure scrapheap!), I realised there’s still a widely-held belief that adventure is the domain of men – and therefore that adventure programmes on TV appeal largely to men, who want to watch other men having amazing adventures.
Sadly, I’ve noticed this perception stretches into the TV community – for example, Nat Geo Adventure (one of my favourite TV channels) http://natgeotv.com.au/tv/ regularly runs shows featuring male adventurers, but there are comparatively few documenting female stories. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching shows like Man vs Wild, Long Way Round, Danger Men, Graham’s World…but where are the women??
Why, in the 21st century – supposedly an era of gender equality – is there still this perception that any “serious” adventure is only worth talking about if men are at the helm? And why are men so disinterested in female adventures?
I’d genuinely love to know the answer, so please do post your comments below…
Jeanie Davison is an Australian TV producer, travel writer, documentary-maker, motorcyclist, 4WD enthusiast, and serial traveller…always looking for new adventures! Visit her site at http://www.jeaniedavison.com/
I guarantee if “man vs. wild” featured a toothless carny it wouldn’t have made it a season. You’re angry because tv only like pretty people and I agree, but men are held to the same standard on television.
Many thanks for your feedback, Tig. I work in TV and know only too well that it’s a medium that favours the pretty and articulate people – so I absolutely agree with you on that!
I guess my point was more a question of balance – whilst it’s possible to name dozens of programmes predicated on the idea of men doing amazing adventures, there are very few that come to mind fronted by women. There are plenty of females out there doing amazing things, yet in terms of air time we’re barely seeing any of them. Would be great to redress the balance.