I totally bombed the radio interview with Chris Bates and Outdoor Secrets Unwrapped on Thursday. How? I forgot the golden rule. Be Right.
I had waited for a couple of weeks for the interview, which I was led to believe would be about women in the outdoors. My part in it, was explained, was to talk about how I came to be in the remote bush of Alaska and how it felt to be a guide, in what is known to be a “man’s world.”
Knowing that the show would start and that I wouldn’t be the first interview, allowed me to listen in and be able to pick up the rhythm of the show and the type of questions that I would most likely be asked.
Little did I suspect.
It was a joke. Not a funny one, but to one of my passionate and most strongly felt beliefs, it was offensive. I was already riled.
Women in the outdoors. Why is this even a topic? Alright, yes, I do understand, to a point. There have been basic and beautiful gifts, lost, to progress and time. Women, by the way, have been walking this earth, since shortly after man arrived.
Women in the outdoor industry, now THAT, is the real topic and subject, under discussion.
I have, in the years that I have been with Pioneer Outfitters, in the remote bush of Alaska, experienced much of what there is for a woman to experience learning, practicing and doing what has always been completely accepted as a “man’s” job, in one of the oldest and remaining “man’s” world.
“It is a man’s world. Want proof? Let’s get in a fist fight.”
Ok. Back to the radio show and my total failure.
Failure. That is what it was. No matter what else, I failed to make clear, to whomever could have possibly been listening, that being a professional guide, a serious hunter, a knowledgeable survivalist, had absolutely nothing to do with which side your buttons are on.
“A man’s world.”
All that means is that something takes more physical strength and physical endurance than any other strength… in that opinion.
As a woman, which I am, as a guide, which I am, as a lover of the wilderness, forests, mountains, rivers and all the other gifts Nature gives us, I say to women; If you want to go into the forests and fields, if you want to take pictures, go fishing or go hunting, go!
There are people, everywhere, ready to teach you how to shoot or draw a bow, ready to show you the trail, ready to teach you how to be safe in wild areas. Men and women, who have been walking into the trees, floating on the currents, untangling knots in fishing lines, hunting for food and building shelters since “man” crawled out of their caves.There are guides, to teach you and show you, to lead you and keep you safe.
But the desire has to be your own.
It has been made a big deal, “women in the outdoors.” It isn’t. The only fact that has made it any sort of news is that now we have bigger, better, faster media. Since we women have already gotten the right to vote, how can we showcase all the nifty hunting gear, than half naked women prancing around, giggling over their so-called television notoriety.
“You” say that you want to help more women to get into the “Outdoors.” Really? Why?
If you, as a woman (or a man), want to help more women to “be” in the outdoors, than make yourself available to them.
If a woman wants to become more comfortable in the wild places or wishes to learn a new skill, she will find a way. She will ask someone she knows to accompany her, she will attend classes or a seminar. There are no secret locks, baring the way to the wilderness.
We all know that when you teach a man to hunt, you will have a full freezer, when you teach a woman to hunt, no one will ever go hungry. You teach a man to be comfortable in the wilderness, he goes camping. If you teach a woman to feel comfortable in the wilderness, the entire family goes camping.
My failure with that radio show was that I was expecting other women to see this, understand this and to at the very least, not simper and giggle about clothing, i.e.: we don’t have to dress like men anymore to be in the field (What?) or “being allowed to compete with men.”
“..being ALLOWED to compete with men…” What? Who says? Who has “allowed” us? (That is one of my hair-triggers.)
Get a grip.
Back to the show. Chris Bates is good at running his mouth, that much is true enough. But there are a couple of pretty sloppy points I feel the need to point out, as Stephanie (co-star), pointed out, I was still listening after Chris hung up on me, for not simpering, giggling, preening and oh! I said “titties.”
Titties. There, I said it again. Boobies. Breasts. We all have them. They cover our pectoral muscles. Good grief. Later in the day, Nancy told me all about the “7 Words.” The 7 Words on the air that automatically get censored or bleeped, when spoken. Oops, my bad. Huh. I even had to think about what I could have possibly said, when Chris informed me that I couldn’t use “bad” language, and if I didn’t stop he would end the call. (Which he did, anyways.)
At the start of the show, which was for about the first 15 minutes, it radio-talk-time-humor and little quizes for callers to answer and win prizes. Which one did, and as a listener, I heard how much trouble Chris and the other people in the room were having hearing and understanding the call because of the connection. I can only assume the caller was local, because they told him to pick up his prize at the desk. Although to listen, later, it was the fact that I was in Alaska that we “lost our connection.” Although, it must have been timely and have happened about the same moment that Chris finally got to use his little cut-off-button, hereby hanging up on me.
It makes me feel bad to think that my words may have hurt another guest of the radio show. In a message I received after the show was off air, said the woman was “almost in tears, because I was talking about her.”
To that, I say, can only say, I am sorry. I wasn’t my intention to have inflicted a hurt on someone, with my words, a stranger, for this.
The same note said I should have known she was a novice, if I had done my homework.
Huh. Really? Seems to me, along with the messages sent back and forth prior to the show, I asked for more information on what would be discussed and I also made a huge point of telling Chris Bates that I did not do well on the phone or with surprises.
I even asked Chris, in the same message to go to the interview I did for Nat-Geo, during the Summer of 2012 that was posted on Vimeo, so that he could judge for himself, how I would respond to his show. And also asked him if he had read my blog, that I was pretty short on “niceties.” I once told a friend, it was always better to say anything straight out, not to beat about the bushes, in hopes to be a “good guy” or to protect every babe’s feelings… where I come from, you beat around the bushes too much, people get lost.
Mind you, this isn’t an excuse. As I said, I was already quite irritated by the tone and condescending attitude towards women, before I was even on the air. It was my bomb, my problem.
I have spent 20 years dealing with ignorance, condescension and prejudice. I should have been better prepared and not lost my control. ~Big deal, for me to have those slap me in the face.
A couple more things. “I have had shows about hardcore women in the outdoors they really don’t go over very well in my experience.” “This was a show to show novice women that the outdoors is a great place to take kids and what ever.” -Chris Bates, in a message after the show, spanking me.
First~ Who didn’t do their homework?
Here’s another, from the announcement right before the show that sums up the “caveman mentality.”
“What a great show we have for Nov 29th (Thursday)
Guys it’s all women, that’s right all women.”
Well, there you have it. Too bad I didn’t think again, after I thought twice, about how the show would really go.
To end, I am very sorry, Milinda Lundstadt from Vermont Outdoors Women, truly, if I hurt you in any way. Carrie Cartwright, field writer for Lady Magazine, I apologize for loosing every bit of my professionalism. And to Stephanie Caliber, the co-host of the show, thank you and I am sorry.
To Chris Bates, well, there you have it. I plan on starting a new pile and folder. “Oil & Water.”