Sexism on the River - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-20-2016   #1
Be Like Water
Rivertime, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 139
Sexism on the River

Time for a quick rant;

Over the past few years I've been lucky to become friends with a group of skilled boaters many of which are young women. These women are competent badass boaters. They know what they are doing and are on the river for the same reason all of us are. I'm stunned by the amount of sexist behavior they have to put up with on the river.

Of course many women reading this will point out the women have to put up with sexist crap everywhere in life, not just on the river.

A few of many examples: While rigging on the Dolores a few weeks ago, boats side by side, the women were asked bluntly and rudely if they knew what they were doing by some day-trippers taking out from an easier section upriver. Asking if they knew there was a class IV below and that flows might drop etc. We could chalk this up to some good Samaritan being on the river making sure they were cool...BUT...I sure didn't get asked that and the tone was one where the assumption was they were in over their head. The are rigging a boat that's clearly ready to rock...but because they are women they get this treatment. They tell me it happens all the time and I've seen it many times.

Or worse.... we are running Browns on Sat. We are a parting group who has fun and can also dial in when need be. We are on the bank, having a good time when a group of guys roll in. Cool, we are always open to meeting new boaters and sharing fun. They pull up on our beach and immediately start saying stupid and sexual comments to the female boaters (before anyone feels the need to say that I or the other males in the group should have stepped in let's make it clear that these women can take care of themselves and don't need to be saved by me or the other guys in our group).

These asshats make total fools of themselves until it's time to float off with our group. What a bunch of tools.

I'm betting many female readers can relate to this shit. Allow me to state the obvious: There is every reason to believe that the female on the river knows as much as you and just as likely that she knows more. She's there for a love a boating just like guys are. What about this is so hard to grasp?

I'm one who feels strongly about the river community. So guys, before you open your mouth with some kind of snarky comment questioning the competence a woman on the river or asking if she knows what she's doing how about if you just assume she does. Strike up a respectful conversation just like you would do with a guy. And while your at it keep your juvenile sexual comments to yourself or keep them in your own group. Let's have a fun and respectful river community!

And to the idiots who pulled on to our party, you have serious little dick issues and bad river Karma.

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Old 06-20-2016   #2
dirtbagkayaker's Avatar
Poundtown, Wokastan
Paddling Since: 420
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,625
Sorry didn't read the whole post. It got boring really fast and you started to sound Like little 13 year old girl.

But in response to your question: I'd just go with baggie shorts those tight ones you're wearing cut off blood supply to your junk and then you started thinking like a girl.
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Old 06-20-2016   #3
UriahJones's Avatar
Salem, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 210
Good rant.

Personally I've found that the women who tend to be actively engaged and in leadership roles in any sport, be it on the river or not, are almost ALWAYS more knowledgeable and informed than their equally skilled male counterparts.

I'd guess that there are many factors which contribute to that observation. Not the least being that women have lesser physical strength and stamina, therefore requiring more smarts to succeed. (Hope that's not sexist ) Certainly no knock on the ladies intended, but I know that if I need to I can move that boat faster than any 5'2" 120lb river running queen. Doesn't make me a better boater, in fact the opposite is true. More often I make up my poor river running skills with greater strength and energy expended, which is the sign of a lesser skilled boater. So the ladies who are paddling Class IV and up are often a notch above their male counterparts running the same river.

Here's to more girl power on the river.
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Old 06-20-2016   #4
Jackson, Wyoming
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 338
Agreed. Watching my wife row a heavy 18' boat through the GC for three weeks was plenty to convince me that if your boating skill relies on your "big guns" and strength, you're not near as good a boatman as you think you are. And don't be a douche- on the river, off the river, it's a pretty good universal rule.

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Old 06-20-2016   #5
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,261
Might be a good time to remind folks they can add anyone to their "ignore list" by simply left-clicking the desired user name and clicking the option in the drop down menu.

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Old 06-20-2016   #6
UriahJones's Avatar
Salem, Oregon
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Thanks, great tip. I didn't know that.
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Old 06-20-2016   #7
2tomcat2's Avatar
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 563
As a retired outdoor guide, I planned trips, wrangled permits from the Forest Service, drove 15 passenger vans, administered first aid, cooked, cleaned, maintained vehicles, kept the books, etc. Yet, when meeting a group for the first time, I would be asked, "are you the driver?" (read dismay) and "who is the guide?" (read male). For the majority of participants, there would be a change in attitudes by the end of the trip, as professionalism and humor would elicit "light
bulb" moments from both men and women. On the other hand, if rude or sexual
comments were made, I would make it very clear (sometimes using "unladylike"
language) that crap was not going to happen on my watch.
"If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are."
Zen verse
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Old 06-20-2016   #8
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Colotucky, USA
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Posts: 1,064
All of the river women I know kick my ass in most everything but groover duty. They all just leave that for me
Who's your monkey?
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Old 06-20-2016   #9
Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 133
Some of the best guides I know are women! I can't believe they put up with the crap they put up with. One of my best female guide friends, who is like a sister to me, said it was even worse in a season she did in New Zealand. The harassment there was physical vs. the verbal (and mostly friendly banter type stuff) she experiences in Moab. I also recall reading an article by a female GC guide that was pretty awful, but at the same time not surprising.

For the most part they do have to hit their lines right because they don't have the strength to correct if they don't. Also, most of them can't be the 2nd set of hands on a 200+ pound Yeti 350 (the thing weighs 89 pounds empty).
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Old 06-20-2016   #10
Great Falls, Montana
Paddling Since: .3
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,047
There are a lot more Guys in River Sports than women. It's just a fact, so when I see skilled women on the river it is noteworthy and awesome! As a single guy I'm actually hoping to appeal to one of these women someday and in the efforts of trying to talk to a few I've made a fool of myself more than once. That doesn't mean I'm sexist, and I fear that in your good intentions you've been more sensitive than was necessary. There's nothing new about guys making fools of themselves in front of women. You didn't mention what the comments were specifically which strengthens my opinion that you're being overly sensitive. In my opinion we have become much too sensitive and weaker as a society as a whole but maybe that's just my naivety since I myself am not sexist in the least. But most of the women I've seen on the river don't need you, me, or anyone else sticking up for them, but if they were truly sexist comments it was wrong of course. just my 2 cents.
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