Week 3: Ability + Size in the Outdoors

Hello!

Happy third week of the Ignorance Project.

My usual reminder that we're going to continue to work within the framework of No Man's Land as an organization with multiple platforms (website, social media, regional events) and tiers of representatives (staff, ambassadors, social media followers). NML touches a lot of people, and this project is about helping your organization exert its mission—to redefine femininity in adventure, sport, culture, and conversation—even more intentionally and successfully.

This Week's Readings

- Mollie

Reflections

I think that it is safe to say that the team found this week the most challenging yet. This week stressed our basic vocabulary and brought attention to a handful of unchallenged assumptions around what it means to be fit and nondisabled in the outdoors and the wider media realm. We went through waves of anger and indignation to discomfort and ended this week feeling pretty overwhelmed. Our immense privilege has struck us in the face once again! 

Alice Wong, the founder of the Disability Visibility Project, on the gross lack of disabled actors being cast for roles of disabled characters writes "my community’s "resilience" and "zest for life" should show up authentically behind and in front of the camera, not interpreted through nondisabled people’s imagining of 'what it’s like to be disabled.' It should be up to us how we portray the full beauty and brilliance of our humanity." As we examine our role as individuals and as an organization of media creators and gatherers, we feel that it is our responsibility to share stories that are told from the respective perspective, rather than touted as a great piece of research. To end our reflection, a statistic from Maysoon Zayid, "we [the disabled community] are 20% of the population, and we are only 2% of the images you see on American television, and of that 2%, 95% are played by nondisabled actors."

As women, many of us understand what it feels like to have our stories co-opted, glamorized, exploited and erased. Moving forward, we are committing to the belief that without an intersectional view of the world and of ourselves, this erasure will continue and we will live in a world where justice can never be realized. 

 

Vocabulary

Disabled: a descriptive term, not a group of people.

Nondisabled: the appropriate and respectful alternative to 'able-bodied.'

 

Week 2: Queer Identity + the Outdoors

 

Happy second week of the Ignorance Project! I hope that those of you out West have gotten some more powder -- but if not, you're welcome to some of my sweet, sweet Boston dirt-slush, I mean, snow.

A reminder that we're going to continue to work within the framework of No Man's Land as an organization with multiple platforms (website, social media, regional events) and tiers of representatives (staff, ambassadors, social media followers). NML touches a lot of people, and this project is about helping your organization exert its mission—to redefine femininity in adventure, sport, culture, and conversation—even more intentionally and successfully.

This Week's Readings

  • The Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression video that fleshes out some terminology
  • This REI article about Queer identity in the outdoor community
  • This short personal narrative from Kate Frisher of "Wild and Weightless" about queerness and outdoor exploration

 

- Mollie

 

Reflections

This week we talked a lot about creating gender-aware campaigns and content that holds longevity and authenticity and isn't tokenizing. As women, we all know what it feels like to be tokenized, the only woman at the crag, the only girl who can hang with the guys - yeah, we've all been there. If not - yay! We went through our organizational measures that influence our marketing strategy and found that we aren't doing too shabby of a job. That being said, there is always room to improve! While our film content is becoming more representative of women of color, we are utterly lacking in films that tell stories of the LGBTQ community. What is our plan of action? Until we have the budget to create these films ourselves, we will continue to contribute to the oral history of the LGBTQ outdoor community and elevate the voices who are willing to share their points of view. 

 

Vocabulary

Gender Expression: The way an individual's gender is communicated to the world; socially defined. 

Gender Identity: An individual's innate identification as a man, woman, neither, etc. 

Queer: Originally meant as an insult, people are now embracing the word "queer" to describe any kind of divergent identity. The beauty of using the word "queer" is that it can afford the user a certain amount of privacy and fluidity in their identification, rather than committing to a specific identity. 

Sexual Orientation: An individual's emotional and physical attraction

 

Resources

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression. True Colors Fund. 16 December 2015.

The First LGBTQ Outdoor Summit. REI Co-op Journal. 18 October 2017.

Coming Out in the Outdoors. Kate Frisher. Wild and Weightless. 28 December 2017.

Week 1: Intersectionality + the Outdoors

Hello team!

I'm really excited to embark on this clarifying journey with all of you. 

I want us to work within the framework of No Man's Land as an organization with multiple platforms (website, social media, regional events) and tiers of representatives (staff, ambassadors, social media followers). NMLFF touches a lot of people, and this project is about helping your organization exert its mission—to redefine femininity in adventure, sport, culture, and conversation—even more intentionally and successfully.

There will usually be two media items (articles, documentaries, poems, songs) to digest before our weekly conversation. Each week will have a theme, listed here:

  • Week 1: Intersectionality + the outdoors
  • Week 2: Queer identity + the outdoors
  • Week 3: Ability + size + the outdoors
  • Week 4: Femme identity + the concept of danger

THIS WEEK'S readings

  • The short video about intersectionality
  • Pages 27-33 of Outdoor Participation Report, though the rest of it is really worth perusing if you have a little time
    • Identify a few items that strike you
    • Think about what isn't in this report
  • This Roots Rated article about diversity + marketing in outdoor communities

- Mollie

 

REFLECTIONS

In the follow-up call with Mollie, the most common sentiment among the white/white passing team members was the sheer lack of thought given to intersectionality. Being a cis white female we have the luxury to move through the world without various lenses. We see ourselves in the media, mass marketing and especially in the outdoor media it is a given that we "belong." We proceeded to do a light audit of our organization and found that much of our language was not exclusive, but was not openly inclusive either. Another factor that we found shocking was that most website copy is not written above a 6th grade reading level in order to make the material more accesible. 

 

Vocabulary

Intersectionality: We all have multiple identities that intersect to tell us who we are. Marginalized groups do not get to choose if they think about intersectinality or not. 

 

RESOURCES

Outdoor Participation Report 2017. Outdoor Foundation. 2017.

The Outdoor Industry (Still) Has a Diversity Problem. Roots Rated. 11 July 2017.

Intersectionality 101. Teaching Tolerance. 18 May 2016. 

Meet Mollie

Mollie Welch LGBTQ NMLFF Ignorance Project Intersectionality

Mollie Welch lives in Boston where she writes copy for Ovia Health — a women's health startup. She also volunteers with Planned Planned and NARAL Pro-Choice, and previously worked at Fenway Health  — an LGBT health center. She lives to listen to and share women's stories. You can find her nodding her head vigorously, trying to keep up with the right terms to describe what she's thinking, or walking the long way home over the Mass Ave bridge.

With my portion of the Ignorance Project, I want the staff of No Man's Land examining intersectional identity in the outdoor industry. A goal for these workshops is to work within the framework of No Man's Land as an organization with multiple platforms (website, social media, regional events) and tiers of representatives (staff, ambassadors, social media followers). NML touches a lot of people, and this project is about helping NML exert its mission—to redefine femininity in adventure, sport, culture, and conversation—even more intentionally and successfully.