Explorers Connect

Why we need more female explorers

Adventure RevolutionJames Hipkiss

Explorers and Formula One drivers have much in common: physically in their prime they thrive on risk and reward, and both are usually slapped head-to-toe in sponsors. Interestingly, in the media at least, they are both almost always male. And for exploring this is a problem, because according to Explorer, Mikael Strandberg, the male ego could see exploring dispatched to the wilderness.

The traditional, ruggedly bearded, male planet-conquering hero is just too boring. What we need, he says, are more female explorers. With no fear of upsetting his contemporaries, Mikael, is clear of the solution: We need a female perspective and men have to start thinking more like women. He explains: I recently sat through a talk by a young man, who told the audience how he had been 'conquering the earth'. Explorers need to wake up! There appears to be just one narrative when it comes to talking about exploring, and its so very 'male'.

So why is it that male explorers need to declare themselves the best, the fittest and the strongest adventurers on earth? And why, oh why, do they only ever talk about themselves?!

To me it's clear: We definitely need more female explorers!

The publisher of a famous US outdoor magazine, who had been inundated with these boring stories, shares his frustration: Hasn't exploring come further than this? Is it still just white men with icicles in their beards dishing out the same old silly stories? I couldn't agree more; it really is macho nonsense! It?s time for a change. We need more female narrators. We need a female perspective and men have to start thinking more like women. If not, the public could switch off, and both male and female explorers? stories will be lost, forever.

What men often fail to note is that there are still considerable differences in how a story can be told. For example, this morning I was searching the internet for stories about Himalayan expeditions, and found this report by a pair of male climbers: It's been a tough and troublesome day. Our backpacks weigh about 60 pounds. Today we struggled for six hours. Tomorrow we will continue and pitch our final camp at 7,500 meters. We won?t sleep much tonight, but we are feeling all right. Other than their closest relatives, I find it hard to believe anyone is really interested in this stuff. Boring!


So, let's compare this with a separate account. This time it's written during an expedition on the same mountain, at the same time, but written by a woman:

"Why am I never satisfied? I'm thinking I should have exercised more. I also think I should have been more mentally prepared. Actually, I've been preparing for five years. And trained five times a week. But I don't think I'm a good enough climber. But that's the way I am in everyday life as well. I could be better at cooking, decorating, fashion, my job. I could be a better wife, friend, and so on. Still, I am not giving up my dream of climbing an 8,000-meter peak. But will I make it?"

Great stuff! Now that's what I am talking about! This is how tomorrow's adventurers, when they are documenting expeditions, need to be writing. This is how people lecturing should be talking. It's the drama, the personal commitment we want to hear, not another hero story.

Men should take inspiration from the achievement of others and not just try to impress with tales of hardship - we're bored of it.

I worry that if we don't change this male-dominated culture we will see fewer professional adventurers and explorers, because less people will want to read about them.Women, save us from extinction!

Female explorers remember: Anything and everything is possible! We've known this for the last 150,000 years, maybe even for the last 3.2 million years, ever since the bipedal, Lucy, began her well-documented excursion?

Mikael is currently resting up from recent travels, enjoying his honeymoon and making plans for his next Arabian adventure.

Thanks to Mark Pawlak. This article originally appeared on Sportsister.com