Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Are you under-credited?

Are you? If so, tell me your story.

I recently had a group camping trip in Wisconsin for the weekend. A member of our group asked a question related to WI state park stickers & fees. Even though I reside in Minnesota, being an outdoorsy girl for the past five years with five WI stickers on the left corner of my car windshield, I know my stuff. I confidently answered the question. Ten seconds later, another member walked by, and so the same question was then once more asked --with the same confusion. Our "walking-by" member gave him the exact answer as mine was. I confronted him as to why he didn't take my words for it. His response was that the "walking-by" member was from Wisconsin. 

What? Really? Damn it, I bought my Wisconsin stickers!

Sadly, that wasn't the first encounter where people would ignore or discredit my responses and look for another from someone else instead.

One time (maybe more than once), as one of my climbing partner and I were setting up anchors for our top-rope climbs, a few passersby stopped and watched, then questioned us about climbing out of curiosity. Rarely would I catch any eye contact seeking for my exciting stories that await under my tongue, ready to be bragged about. I must have looked like a noob then, or my accent just couldn't pass to be understood.

Was it because I wasn't born here, therefore I don't know my stuff ? Was it because I'm a 110 lb, 5'1'' girl, and when I'm out doing "hardcore" stuff with a dude, I automatically become a "tag-along"? Forgive me for pulling out the sexism card; the truth is, the outdoorsy culture is more male dominant. Women have been more and more involved over the past decades. However, as many friends and acquaintances as I have right now, I can come up with at least nine dudes who would say yes to climb a mountain, when only three of the women I know may consider to go on a backpacking trip with me. 

Am I suffering from typical girly oversensitive train of thoughts? Or is it a mere simple fact that most people are almost completely inept at taking direction from women? Do they seek for more validation from multiple sources since my opinion is void?

Regardless, this issue doesn't stop me from setting up my tent in less than 30 seconds; it doesn't stop me from building a camp fire if need be; and it certainly doesn't stop me from spending a week in the back-country where bears and wolves will underestimate my ability to defend myself.