This chick is seriously badass.
So, why does Liz Weil’s article in the NY Times use stale stereotypes to describe Sarah Marquis’ amazingly badass feats?
This article reads like a list of how to offend strong, independent outdoors- or sports-women:
1. Compare her to a man
Liz Weil starts her article with a long look at the failure of Scotts’ expedition to Antarctica, the hook that’s supposed to pull us in and grab us. Huh? This early male expedition has absolutely no bearing on Sarah Marquis. She hasn’t failed. In fact, she has succeeded, in spades.
Howbout starting with Sarah Marquis and her accomplishments? That grabs us and makes us want to read more. Or the fact that Sarah Marquis fits into a growing group of women who are testing their limits, but that the extremeness of her exploits springboards her into the elite of the elite. She’s inspirational. Like Ann Bancroft, the first woman to explore Antarctica; like Arlene Blum, the first woman to lead a successful expedition to the top of an 8,000 m peak; like Lynn Hill, the first person, male or female, to free the Nose, a big wall in Yosemite... The list of badass women is big and growing. These women are pushing the human limit, both male and female. Sarah Marquis is also pushing into new territory. And the “otherness” of her exploits sets her into a class of her own.
2. Describe how beautiful she really is, after she washes up a bit and trims her bangs.
It is a seriously offensive to badass women to be objectified. How many articles about male climbers, hikers, or sportsmen start with how handsome they are? The last article by Liz Weil, about Shaun White, never touched on his visual appeal.
3. Pigeonhole her passion. Alienate the readership.
According to Weil, an explorer feels “morally superior” and an adventurer is a “self-indulgent adrenaline junkie” taking “puerile risks”. The author just alienated half her readership, who are reading this article because they’re explorers and adventurers who are inspired by other explorers and adventurers. There are many explorers today, despite—as the author points out-- that the world can be seen by Google maps. Anyone pushing through any limit can be considered an explorer. And there are many adventurers whose personal journeys may or may not be adrenaline stoked, but they are certainly not puerile.
If you are an explorer or adventurer who is open to being inspired by this seriously badass woman, visit Sarah Marquis's website.