Gone are the days of these activities being solely men’s clubs, and here are the days of 20% female thru-hikers, 40% of certified female scuba divers, and 14% of female skydivers. The women of today are going places that the likes of Amelia Earhart, Sacagawea, and Jeanne Baret could have never dreamed of in their own times. But even in this new age of the “adventuress,” sometimes femininity takes a backseat. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to. Here are five ways you can maintain your femininity while still embarking on wild adventures.
Don’t be afraid to value style and outward appearance – where it’s practical, of course. A full face of makeup may not be the best if you’re jumping off waterfalls or trekking through a jungle, but even in that case, you can add little feminine touches throughout your person with your clothes and accessories. For example, I always look forward to braiding my hair in preparation for a more strenuous activity, trying new designs from Pinterest that keep my long hair out of the way.
As a scuba diver, I have found that my favorite part of my mental prep routine is doing my hair, choosing a cute swim headband, and listening to my favorite girl bops, even if it meant getting up earlier than my male counterparts. If it makes you feel cute and calm and is still practical for your chosen activity, then don’t worry about the possible condescension from your fellow explorers. In the end, the fish, trees, and birds really don’t mind either way!
It can be difficult to maintain your confidence if you feel you’ve been subjected to an injustice. Just as in every aspect of society, there will be moments when people aren’t as kind and welcoming as you’d hope they’d be. It's important in these moments to keep your head held high. There might be some initial resistance to introducing femininity in an obvious way to majority male groups, but confidence is key!
"I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others." – Amelia Earhart, Pilot
Confidence is a major building block to other characteristics like a high self-esteem, trust, and healthy interpersonal relationships. All these things are very important, not just on adventures, but in everyday life. Confidence in women can mean making eye contact, owning your style, and trusting in your abilities. If there is anyone who doubts your skill level or courage, show them why they are wrong. On the other side, if there is a limitation to your abilities, that’s not a bad thing, it just means you may need additional help or supervision. Whether it’s from a man or another woman, don’t be afraid to ask for help. A lot more people are willing to offer their aid than you might think. Remember that everyone was once in your shoes, and no one was born an expert on anything.
Is etiquette always about balancing books on your head and using the correct utensils? No! Maintaining proper etiquette while engaging with fellow travelers can allow boundaries to be established and expectations on behavior to be set. People often mirror those around them, also known as “matching your energy.” If you’re exhibiting impeccable manners and keeping things polite and kind, people will often act the same way back to you. If they don’t, it becomes more obvious that some less than polite behavior is taking place, and increases the chances of someone stepping in to stop it.
Whether you’re traveling in groups of strangers, acquaintances, or family, etiquette is a valuable tool to utilize.
Respect your femininity. It’s something special and inherent to women, and it should be treated with a sense of honor. At the end of the day, the advice mentioned above boils down to respect. You don’t need to abandon the color pink, Taylor Swift songs, or nail polish to be “one of the boys.” The truth is you can never be “one of the boys” because you’re a woman – and you don’t need to be! Respect your womanhood, your likes and dislikes, your emotions, and the fact that you’re all in the same boat (sometimes literally!). There is a place for women now in these exploratory settings, and you have every right to be there as your full feminine self.
“Women should not have to adopt masculine traits in order to succeed. You should be able to stay as a woman, and in tune with your femininity, and still be equal.” – Isla Fisher, Actress
After all, we remember Amelia Earhart for being the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic and Sacagawea for being an expert navigator while carrying her child on her back. We can embrace and respect our differences as a sex and still do amazing things.
We should all be “the mom friend” regardless of your status as a mother. If you’re like me and were a Girl Scout back in the day, one of the most valuable tools that we were taught was preparedness. Our world is unpredictable – you could get lost, miss a flight, trip and fall, or get stuck in bad weather. When your plans fall apart, there’s one thing you can do to mitigate the fallout. Be prepared.
In my opinion, one of the best indications of knowledge, and subsequently a way to garner respect, is knowing how to prepare. For example, If you’re taking an international flight, arrive three hours early, and if you’re going on a hike make sure you have a compass, extra food, plenty of water, and a map.
“Prepare yourself for the world, as athletes used to do for their exercises; oil your mind and your manners, to give them the necessary suppleness and flexibility; strength alone will not do.” – Lord Chesterfield, British Statesman
I’ve found that when I’m prepared, I’m more focused as a result. This allows me to concentrate on keeping myself safe. When I'm diving 60 feet below the ocean’s surface, this extra attention I can pay to my surroundings could very well be lifesaving. As women, we also have different safety preparations we must do in order to safely travel solo or in groups of only females. If it’s legal, carry self-defense tools.
You may be wondering how this pertains to maintaining femininity. Well, here it is: How can you practice the advice I’ve listed above if you’re worried about just surviving the day?
While style, confidence, preparedness, etiquette, respect, and preparedness alone don’t make you a woman, they can help you maintain your femininity in situations where it may feel foreign. I’ve found that you don’t need to conform to the behaviors and personalities of those around you, especially in a male-dominated environment. Instead, embrace your femininity and forge a path for yourself. Arm yourself figuratively with the right tools to participate in thrills and exploration, and you will succeed. We live in the most pro-woman times in history, and it’s high time we allow ourselves the opportunity to discover our planet.
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