Representing Women in the Outdoors

If you haven’t seen it yet, the latest issue of Field and Stream features female hunter Mia Anstine on the cover.

mia anstine field and stream

I was really excited to see this.  Mia’s blog was one of the first blogs I found when I was getting into hunting so it’s great seeing her gracing the cover.  Plus, there are 10 other women making a difference in the outdoors inside the issue!

Did you know there have only been 3 women on the cover of Field and Stream in the history of the magazine?  The first, Queen Elizabeth in 1976.  The second, Eva Shockey in 2014.  And now the third, Mia Anstine in 2016.  While it’s small number, I’m glad it only took years for this to happen again instead of decades.

Representation is so important.  Seeing a magazine full of strong women in the outdoors makes me really happy.  When I was younger, I never saw hunting as something I could do.   Field and Stream magazines were always around the house growing up, but I never saw a woman on the cover.  I never looked at the magazine and thought, “hey, that could be me one day!”

Growing up exploring the outdoors

Growing up exploring the outdoors

Now, no one ever said I couldn’t hunt when I was younger.  Not even my dad or brothers said I couldn’t join them.  I just didn’t know any women who hunted nor had I seen a picture of a female hunting so it seemed off limits to me.  Now this doesn’t mean I grew up a girly girl either.  At my brother’s wedding last month, his best friend even told people there, “You wouldn’t believe how much of a tomboy Jen used to be growing up!”

Looking back on it, I wanted to be a lot of female characters I saw.  I loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and wanted to be April O’Neil.  I always chose Sonya when playing Mortal Kombat on Sega because she was my favorite from the movie.  I loved Sam on the sitcom Step By Step because she worked on cars and was also a tomboy.  Do you see where I’m going here?  In movies and shows, some geared for boys, I always identified with the women.  I’m sure there’s a fancy psychological term and explanation behind that but that’s out of my realm of expertise.  What I do know is the females that young girls see in media are important.

I often wonder what would’ve happened had I seen a woman on the cover of my dad’s hunting magazines.  Would I have told my dad I wanted to be a girl like that one day?  I guess I’ll never know.  But I hope that there are little girls who have seen either Eva Shockey or Mia Anstine on the covers and told their parents they want to be like that one day.

mia anstine field and stream

That’s why representation is so important—all it takes is one picture to open a whole new world to a child and create a new passion.  More and more women are being highlighted for their accomplishments in the outdoors and it’s amazing to see.  I hope by the time I have kids, females being represented in the outdoors is the norm.  Because I sure could’ve used it when I was a little girl.

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