A friend of mine, who is currently 29, had tagged me on FB for a girl’s getaway. It would be a weekend in Utah full of MTBing, socializing, yoga, rock climbing and just plain good times! Sure, why not? I follow this organization on Instagram and figured I would see what info they had for this particular weekend. I noticed that all the member photos and individuals’ posts were of women in their 20’s, maybe very early 30’s (like 30 plus one month), and all held super fresh faced goodness in their twinkling, wrinkle-free eyes. I’m not bitter, I’m just trying to get my point across.
It may be in the eye of the beholder, but what the hell do I have in common with these girls? I will be turning 44 in December and the message I’m receiving is that I have to be of a certain demographic to participate. Otherwise, I will be automatically placed in the role of girl scout troop leader or hall monitor. I thought that it may just be this organization that had really good looking ambassadors, but as I searched my IG account for similar outdoor women’s organizations, the majority followed this same formula. Young and cute = the world is your oyster. If you’re not a millennial, then you need to be following Hiking Octogenarians.
I’m not opposed to businesses using sex as a weapon when it comes to selling their product. I mean I always look twice when it’s Matthew McConnaughey promoting that car, whatever it is (sometimes advertisers do their job too well). I’m not opposed to millennials, in fact, I feel they have it pretty tough in their upcoming futures. What I’m saying is that this group that promotes women breaking into an outdoor man’s world is segregating people inadvertently. Here’s a perfect example:
Me: Is this argument legit or am I imagining this?
Cute Friend (let me reiterate by saying she’s 29…and resembles Kristen Bell): I’m not sure all their followers and such are that way. Maybe just their ambassadors…which still doesn’t leave a great taste in your mouth.
Me: OMG, that’s so weird coming from you! I feel you fit their status quo!
This is an age old survival of the fittest situation, or sexiest. When I was in high school, there were two girls that were epic on the women’s varsity basketball team. One was more talented than the other with scoring more points and capturing more rebounds. Who do you think got more accolades? The prettier one, of course. She wasn’t as talented as the other girl, but she was more pleasing to the oculars. One more example and then I’ll move on. There was a post about a woman road cycling intergalactic superstar where a MTB pro athlete shared her last name. In comparison, the road cyclist had achieved more medals than the MTB cyclist. One follower tied into the MTB athlete because of the surname and then posted how he would now follow the MTB athlete because “she’s cuter than the other one who I thought was her older sister.” Do organizations pick their ambassadors with that little voice in the back of their head saying, “she’s also cute, so we’ll get more followers.”? Would they intentionally look over someone who is in their 40’s and sending cruxes regularly to bring on someone in their 20’s that looked great in yoga pants and a sports bra?
Now, coming full circle, I have no doubt I’ll still be accepted thanks to my extrovert ways and my natural tendency to make friends should I go to this aforementioned weekend. However, how does that help in my passion to get other women, regardless of age, outside? The laywomen that want to do things, but feel intimidated in one form or another? How does this happen when some organizations tout their missions as: to empower and support women, bringing women together through the power of the outdoors, by and for women, and female participation, yet only a certain demographic gets targeted. Maybe the owner is a millennial, maybe us older bad asses aren’t interested, or maybe you’re saying, “Mo, who really gives a fuck?”
Regardless, I have an opinion. My opinion is of the stance that maybe the founders of these organizations should try harder in incorporating women from all decades in life. Maybe have older rabble-rousers that have gone through hell and now has the devil saying, “Oh, shit! She’s up!!!”. Have them be omnipresent on Instagram or other social media accounts alongside the Young and the Restless. (I stole that off a mug, by the way. The devil quote.)
Excuse my senior moment here, but I would love to hear your opinions on this. Let them resound with your grievances or hail my genius. Either way, let me know.
Much love and Aloha,
your still going to that women’s weekend! clueless wanderer
Originally published by WHOA December 13, 2016