Friday, December 28, 2007

Gee whiz, girl hunters can do all that?

A while back, FS Huntress blogged about being just a wee bit tired of all the "gee whiz, it's a female hunter" stories out there in the media.

At the time, I had mixed feelings on the subject. Women are in fact a small minority among hunters, so a certain amount of gee-whiz is probably in order when a huntress is sighted.

Then I saw this story by Kansas City Star reporter Brent Frazee about a nurse from Missouri who's become an avid deer hunter. For the most part, it was a good story, but one line just killed me:

She is proficient with her bow, she knows how to use a deer call, she field-dresses her kill and even processes the meat on her own.
No kidding! A girl can do all that? Wow. I thought you had to have testosterone coursing through your body to do all those things.

Here's my point: I don't mind being stared at because I'm one of a very few women hunters out in the field; I do mind exclamations of surprise that I can be proficient at tasks that have nothing to do with gender.

Having been a newspaper reporter, I'm thinking Frazee didn't intend for that line to sound condescending. In fact, the line that comes right after it is about the fact that the huntress had never envisioned herself doing those things.

But it's important for folks in the media to remember that if we're not careful, the way we write about our subjects can reinforce old stereotypes. And this is one stereotype that needs to go away.

© Holly A. Heyser 2007


Anonymous said...

I've got to agree with you on that one Holly. That stereotype is one we can surely do without.

NorCal Cazadora said...

Thanks Kristine. I hate to sound like the P.C. police, but I also hate to be insulted!