This week, I’ve been developing a new adventure series for television. While doing some research for the programme, I came across some really eye-opening attitudes about women and the adventure sphere.
There seemed to be a general feeling amongst the men I spoke to that the only women who tackle hardcore adventures are “big butch lesbian types”, and that women for the most part aren’t cut out for expeditions or challenges requiring supreme mental and physical strength. And, argued these same guys, men don’t want to watch TV programmes about butch lesbian women’s adventures – but if they were young, blonde and fit-looking….
As you might imagine, I found these comments very…provocative. After doing a straw-poll amongst some female colleagues (who retorted that men should try childbirth before consigning women to the adventure scrapheap!), I realised there’s still a widely-held belief that adventure is the domain of men – and therefore that adventure programmes on TV appeal largely to men, who want to watch other men having amazing adventures.
Sadly, I’ve noticed this perception stretches into the TV community – for example, Nat Geo Adventure (one of my favourite TV channels) http://natgeotv.com.au/tv/ regularly runs shows featuring male adventurers, but there are comparatively few documenting female stories. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching shows like Man vs Wild, Long Way Round, Danger Men, Graham’s World...but where are the women??
Why, in the 21st century – supposedly an era of gender equality – is there still this perception that any “serious” adventure is only worth talking about if men are at the helm? And why are men so disinterested in female adventures?
I’d genuinely love to know the answer, so please do post your comments below…