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/ INTERVIEW: Waymaking - A Women's Adventure Writing Anthology

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UKC Articles - on 30 May 2018
Waymaking, 6 kbAn exciting new women's adventure writing anthology is due for release this autumn - this first of its kind. With contributions from adventurers including Alpinist magazine editor Katie Ives, award-winning author Bernadette McDonald, adventurers Sarah Outen and Anna McNuff, renowned filmmaker Jen Randall and many more, Waymaking is described by Vertebrate Publishing as 'an inspiring and pivotal work published in an era when wilderness conservation and gender equality are at the fore.'

We sent some questions to Helen Mort - acclaimed poet, writer and one of the collection's editors - to find out more about the project...



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olddirtydoggy - on 30 May 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Looks like it could be a good read. I was wondering, when is the men's anthology coming out for the other 50% of the human race? Good for them for putting it out there.

In reply to olddirtydoggy:

Just look back in time and you'll find plenty of them, look forward and no doubt you'll see plenty more.

Here's to a world of (thankfully) more diverse climbing and mountaineering literature.

Post edited at 11:34
danm on 30 May 2018
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

If the writing is half as good as the pictures in the article, this'll be amazing. Good to see stuff like this being made.

olddirtydoggy - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I've seen plenty of books on adventure with people in them. Many of them are men on those adventures but I don't remember the books being specifically aimed at men. Once again it feels like gender is being put into something so simple when personally I just see adventure with people in it.

My post really wasn't to dregrade women but rather I don't see the difference in gender when it comes to writing this kind of literature. I guess I don't see any difference in the sexes, especially when my main climbing partner is female.

In all good taste it's great they're putting this material out there but it's a shame we bring gender into it.

peterp - on 30 May 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Sounds like a great project, although I'm not sure what Nan Shepherd would think about your description of her work as "tales of conquering peaks"!

MischaHY - on 30 May 2018
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

> Once again it feels like gender is being put into something so simple when personally I just see adventure with people in it.

That's a great excuse for not having to think about the massive gender gap in climbing publications. 

> My post really wasn't to dregrade women

So was it or wasn't it? Not the best thing to be ambiguous about. 

>I don't see the difference in gender when it comes to writing this kind of literature. I guess I don't see any difference in the sexes, especially when my main climbing partner is female.

Clearly you do or you wouldn't be getting riled up about there not being a mens anthology (of which there are plenty). There are also plenty of differences between men/women/other which is why it's important and interesting to explore the world through these differing viewpoints.

> In all good taste it's great they're putting this material out there but it's a shame we bring gender into it.

No, it's important because it's an area that's classically dominated by men and the fact the balance is being readdressed is something to be celebrated. 

Equality isn't the same as saying "I think everybody is the same" because it's not true and is a poor excuse for embracing people for the diverse creatures they are and celebrating that fact. 

Equality is understanding that we are different but treating each other equally regardless of differences. 

Post edited at 13:28
Oceanrower - on 30 May 2018
In reply to MischaHY:

> So was it or wasn't it? Not the best thing to be ambiguous about. 

 

I don't think he was being ambiguous. I just think that you don't understand the difference between "really wasn't" and "wasn't really"

 

Ramblin dave - on 30 May 2018
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

> In all good taste it's great they're putting this material out there but it's a shame we bring gender into it.

The trouble with saying that we shouldn't "bring gender into it" is that gender is already "into it" whether we like it or not, so you're effectively saying that we should pretend it isn't...

MischaHY - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Oceanrower:

Both of those are ambiguous statements. 

In reply to peterp:

You misread it.

'The content follows the precedent set by Nan Shepherd and Gwen Moffat's work, in recognising sensations and emotions over tales of conquering peaks,' which means writing about these sensations rather than sharing 'tales of conquering peaks.' 

olddirtydoggy: I think you'll find - if you look for it - that a lot in society has historically been ‘specifically aimed at men’ without many people even realising.

Oceanrower - on 30 May 2018
In reply to MischaHY:

I think the emphasis is on different words there, but not going to fall out about it.

Henry Iddon - on 30 May 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

My understanding, and having spoken to people researching 'women's writing about the outdoors' is that historically women wrote private letters and diaries about their experiences in the outdoors. Little of this was published for public consumption at the time - that may have been because the  women concerned preferred their writing to be for private consumption, didn't see the need to broadcast their activities, or they had no access to publishing it. Or elements of all three. 

Certainly the Lake District had numerous women climbing the hills and fells and writing about it, Dorothy Wordsworth being the most obvious. ( This year is the 200th anniversary of her ascent of Scafell ) 

 

Post edited at 16:05
Tall Clare - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Henry Iddon:

In the talk about such things back in March in Leeds, I particularly liked the bit about how some Lakeland hills were strictly for men whilst other, more gentle peaks were suitable for ladies

planetmarshall on 30 May 2018
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

> Looks like it could be a good read. I was wondering, when is the men's anthology coming out for the other 50% of the human race?

:klaxon:

peterp - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

Ahhh, gotcha! So it's "over" in the sense of "in contrast to", which chimes much more with Nan's writing (I haven't read anything of Gwen's yet). Thanks for clarifying!

olddirtydoggy - on 30 May 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

There's some really good posts here, we don't seem to be sinking to the level of personal attacks over this gender debate.

In the bubble I live in I climb with both sexes, with people of many nationalities and whilst we're out doing what we enjoy we don't really notice if somebody sits or stands when using the bathroom or what accent they speak with. It might be my post comes from a more innocent world where such inequalities don't exist. I just don't understand why the gender debate is thrust into the outdoors when we have so many female inspirations. I can only speak personally but when I read about Lynn hill or Shauna Coxey smashing something I don't really notice what gender they are, they're just great climbers. I find some of this gender material quite toxic.

 

planetmarshall on 30 May 2018
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

> I can only speak personally...

Well, that's the crux of it really. But I think if you concede that this is your own personal experience then you must also concede that it may not be representative, and that the experiences of others may differ. I remember a while back a thread where a female climber enumerated all the ways in which she felt she had been poorly treated at the crag due to her gender, and I for one found it pretty illuminating.

To be honest, I always find these threads a bit uncomfortable - I'm very much aware that UKC demographics are massively skewed towards men, and this feels a bit like being on a panel of men discussing women's reproductive rights.

Post edited at 22:48
Andy Gamisou - on 31 May 2018
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

> I was wondering, when is the men's anthology coming out for the other 50% of the human race?

You'll be wanting votes for men next, and threatening to throw yourself under the Queens corgis if you don't get it ;-)

Oceanrower - on 31 May 2018
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

<pedant> The Queen doesn't have any  corgis.</pedant>

Andy Gamisou - on 31 May 2018
In reply to Oceanrower:

> The Queen doesn't have any  corgis.

A quick Google confirms this.  Apparently superseded by the "Gas Safe Register" - about time frankly, why they thought stumpy legged pooches should be allowed to assess our flammable gas safety requirements is beyond me.  My grand-dad (Durham miner) always swore by canaries (and at most things, if I remember correctly).

pebbles - on 31 May 2018
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

I would really welcome more womens writing, and also writing about women in the outdoors. I dont think its tokenism, such a huge amount of outdoor writing features a largely all male world. I enjoy the wrting whether its about men or women, but at the same time I get the same feeling from it that I used to get as a kid when reading adventure stories ...I'd look for characters to identify with but find the ones doing all the exciting things were boys.  And there have been so many amazing outdoor women in the past that are aslo a part of our history, its a shame they are largely invisible.  

eroica64 - on 31 May 2018
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

You write (type) "I find some of this gender material quite toxic."

#MeToo

olddirtydoggy - on 31 May 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

I wonder if the pitch on these articles could be presented a little different. There's no doubt women write different to men and thats the great thing about it, we can enjoy a different style regardless of the readers gender. Nat Berry mentioned earlier that there's much male written outdoor material aimed at men but I wonder if it's more a case of men writing for whoever wants to read it.

Personally I'd just like to see the gender removed from how this material is presented and just have it offered as a first class piece of writing. Is true equality achieved when we all just do what we do and consume it without thinking about the gender of its origin? I honestly feel great about living in that headspace.

Andrew Popp - on 01 Jun 2018
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

"Personally I'd just like to see the gender removed from how this material is presented and just have it offered as a first class piece of writing. Is true equality achieved when we all just do what we do and consume it without thinking about the gender of its origin? I honestly feel great about living in that headspace." Thus speaks the voice of privilege.

olddirtydoggy - on 01 Jun 2018
In reply to Andrew Popp:

You know absolutely nothing about me, my background or what so called privilege I come from. For all you know I could be a girl.

Andrew Popp - on 01 Jun 2018
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

I think you mean woman. But you're right, I don't know your gender, which is why I didn't write "male privilege." But let's go with the working assumption that you are male. You have repeatedly come to this thread, as a man, to diminish this project and the woman involved in it by explaining how, just because you don't "see" or "notice" gender (indeed, you even claim to live in a world in which such inequalities "don't exist"), gender is being wrongly and unnecessarily introduced, undermining the validity of the project. You even admit to being in a "bubble" and a "headspace" yet think its ok to pronounce from there on how others can talk about their own experiences, discussion of gender is even "toxic" to you. You've given a textbook display of male privilege throughout this thread (remember, its just a working assumption for now). 

marsbar - on 01 Jun 2018
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

Before I even clicked on this I just knew there would be some bloke moaning about it.  *sigh*


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