Sunday, July 3, 2011

Girl Power

Survivalism and preparedness needs to get in touch with its feminine side. The vast majority of writing and other media on preparedness is almost always male oriented. Certainly, there are lots of female preppers out there, but they seem to have little voice. I am of course excepting our own Sue, who writes from a unique viewpoint, and has and is making a valuable contribution to this forum.

Unfortunately, she is in the minority. Where there are women‘s voices in the prepping world, they tend to fall into one of two broad categories: Either they tend to emulate the viewpoint and attitudes of their male colleagues, or they restrict themselves to traditional areas of female endeavour. The first might be from a desire to please a largely male readership, or it may be an attempt to fit in. The latter seems to largely grow out of the high proportion of conservative Christians in the prepping movement.

Not that there is anything wrong with writing from those viewpoints, except that it doesn’t really serve the needs of a large portion of women involved in preparedness. We need to see more women writing for women in this field. Then maybe we’ll hear fewer tales of hard to convince spouses, especially if prepping stops looking like another boys club.

So what areas are being missed? Here are just a few things I’ve noticed little or no attention being paid to over the years.

Load bearing Equipment - As some of you guys might have noticed, females are proportioned in delightfully different ways, which means for the most efficiency, safety, and weight capacity, packs designed specifically for women.

Weapons - Everything from knives and bows to assault rifles. The weapons themselves are not only not sized to a woman’s smaller frame and lesser physical strength, the available training rarely takes into account either the physicality or psychology of women.

Fitness and Health - Lots of emphasis on fitness in prepping, little of it directed at helping women. This is an especially important subject, given that women can be at a disadvantage in the strength department. The thing is, they don’t have to be.

There is a little discussion of women’s health issues, but what there is cursory, mostly confined to stocking up on tampons. Contraception, pregnancy, and a whole host of other subjects just don’t get mentioned much.

Martial Arts - In many scenarios, there is much discussion of civil disorder and the possibility of endemic crime, including assaults sexual and otherwise. Yet there is little space devoted to women being able to defend themselves physically. The assumption seems to be that some one with a Y chromosome will always be there to save them.

Those are just a few of the areas that need to be written about, but almost every area of prepping is involved. Even food can be an issue for women. For example, Canadian IMPs are fine in the short term, but are deficient in calcium and folic acid over the long term, two nutrients especially necessary in pregnancy, and folic acid is also necessary to prevent anemia, a problem for some women.

More than half the population is female. Perhaps more writing should address their concerns?


  1. I agree. Personally I'd love to see more non-stereotyped writing in general. Not all men like to drink beer and go hunting. Not all women are delicate little flowers who lose their mind the minute they have to pee in the woods.

    And Sue is fantastic. :)

  2. Well said!!!! It appears to me that most folks still haven't got it through their heads that women can be every bit as tough as a man, just that they need equipment designed for them. I put over sixteen years in the military and believe me, there are some dang tough women out there. The thing I think that needs to be changed is the typical male ego in all this. What I mean is there is still this "thing" about women being the "weaker" sex. Baloney. How many men do you think would have more than one baby if they could have kids. I would much rather have a woman that knew how to do things that are normally left up to men than one that only knew how to use a kitchen or a vacum cleaner. Granted, women "think" different than men....but that doesn't mean that males should just disregard their input. That input may just save the male's life!

  3. "women 'think' differently than men"

    I agree. The thinking of the two sexes is often different, but neither is inferior to the other, just informed by different processes and viewpoints, which taken together, I believe are often superior to either alone.

  4. I've been wandering around the prepper/survival blog-o-sphere for a few months now, and this post makes some good points.

    I do have to say though that blogs like Claire Wolfe's ... and Farm Gal ... always have something interesting to say and from a non-gender stereotyped perspective - and Farm Gal is Canadian, as are the Canadian Dirtbags

    They are out there, few and far between, but they are there.

  5. Wow. I mean, WOW!! Great topic AD.

    I admit to being on the girly-y girl side as you may have guessed from my posts, but like most women would, I do my best at what needs doing. One of my friends once said if the stuff hit the fan he'd want 2 people with him...his male buddy from the military and me.

    I think I made his list because I could dispatch, clean and cook a rabbit with my bare hands and he figured no one would go hungry. lol

    Anyway, love the idea of gear for women. I wonder what's out there for the handicapped? Hmmm, food for thought...

    Hi, SeaMaiden! You are so right. I think those kind of blanket statements are our enemy. Will you come pee in my garden? lol

    Curt S, you speak from experience. We need more voices like yours in this community. Thanks for taking the time to comment! I think it comes down to exposure and experience...perhaps women just need more opportunities to explore this side of themselves, with a different approach to survival than guys, and given those opportunities while they are still little girls.

    This is the longest comment I've ever left anywhere! Good job, AD!

  6. Great links, Will. Thanks for sharing.

    Although these are not Canadian blogs, I follow and both by women who are living self reliant lives.

    They don't write about the typical, male dominated, in-the-woods 'survivalist' living; they write about living-every-day-on-the-homestead without handouts kind of surviving.

    I guess that is one way that some women think differently from men as Curt S and Ancient Dragon are talking about. I hate to stereo-type so disagree if you like but don't beat me up for saying this!...

    Not always true, but it seems many women are more interested in home survival while many men are into the woodsey things.

    (I realize there is some cross-over for both sexes.)

    This would make a good forum topic.

  7. 'I wonder what's out there for the handicapped?'

    Don't know, but it's damn well worth looking into. There are a lot of people out there dealing with everything from things like your situation to 'minor' things like bad knees and backs. We all know survival depends on knowledge and attitude far more than physicality, but a little specifically designed equipment might tip the scales favourably for some folk.

    gotta give this one some thought....

  8. Glad to see the interest in utilizing the diversity of both sexes. After all, there must be a reason for two sexes. Women have always been survivalists. We are pragmatic, quiet and prudent planners. Nike borrowed from women's basic philosophy..."just do it and get on with it because there is always more to do".
    That being said I appreciate the thoughtful consideration on this topic.

  9. There are plenty of opportunity for women to post articles and get engaged in discussions. Any woman standing up in the prepper survival spheres immediately gets 10' of thousands of supporters. I think of YouTube channels like Survival Lilly with +325k subscribers, or beginner Emelie Learning Bushcraft with +10k subscribers. They are not even that good but get extraordinary amount of support. Woman posters are supported more on these forums as there is a drought of woman posters. Many join these types of forums and make a few postings then get bored and move on.

    Woman are the kings of social media and I subscribe to two woman FB pages and they post more articles than an others.
    U.K Prepper Girl & Prepper Chicks

    Seriously if you can't find a knife suitable to your skills/ability, strength hand size etc... there is a cognitive problem, as there are limitless number of knives on the market all colours and shapes sizes from children to adults, I would say the same for backpacks and cloths... Woman health issues, I have never met a woman that needs advice in that area. You can always ask ThePatriotNurse, how many articles do you need on theses issues.
    I am tired of endless gender banter and gender neutral political ideology. Perhaps I am blind to woman's shopping needs. There might be a case for bushcraft training for woman, but I see lot of publications on whole families that attend survival training courses. Look at naked and Afraid TV series the woman mostly do better than the men. And the only equipment they get is one machete and a ferro rod no cloths... Or are they some different type of woman..!!!