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NCFM Member Anonymous writes about “SEXISM IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS”

August 23, 2013


By Anonymous

The Mountaineers is an outdoors club headquartered in Seattle devoted to hiking, climbing, skiing, kayaking, etc.  (Go to for more information.)  For the most part, it is a great group, with countless people volunteering their time and expertise to help people enjoy the outdoors.  I was a member for 27 years.

However, the last few years, the Mountaineers had sponsored Women’s Wellness Weekends for women only.  I was aware of other women-only events as well.  I did not know of any men-only activities.  The group has an official policy against sexual discrimination.  I assumed that if I pointed out this sexism to the club’s leadership, that they would stop these Women’s Weekends immediately.  This did not happen.  Instead, they justified the Women’s Weekends with the strange and convenient argument that the club caters to specific groups if people volunteer to organize activities for these groups.  (Would they allow a Caucasian-only activity?)  They also encouraged me to organize men-only activities.

OK, fine.  I guess the club is not sexist.  Men-only activities are also acceptable.  It is just that no one had organized one yet.

But, not fine.  I did not believe for a second that men-only activities would be allowed.  I believed the management was pulling a fast one on me, and were hoping I would accept this explanation and just go away.  However, I called their bluff and organized an online men-only Mountaineers March Madness Bracket Contest for the men’s NCAA basketball tournament.  (This is not an outdoor activity but the Mountaineers sponsors many events that are not outdoor-type activities.  For example, activities during Women’s Wellness Weekends have included aerobics, yoga, massage, Zumba, nutritional workshops, wine tastings, and belly dancing.)  The Bracket Contest quickly received complaints for being men-only, and the leadership cancelled it.  They also denied that they had given me permission to organize this men-only event.  It is odd that my complaint about women-only Women’s Weekends resulted in their justification, but a complaint about my men-only Bracket Contest resulted in immediate cancellation.  The leadership then justified women-only activities with the misandrist implication that women were not safe if Mountaineer men were present.  But the reason given for the cancellation of the Bracket Contest was that only outdoor-type activities could be single-sex.  (I guess belly dancing is an outdoor activity.)

Again, what a strange and convenient argument!  I wondered if the Mountaineer management had any concept of hypocrisy.  I also wondered if they were aware that the coverup is worse than the crime.  They were looking mighty silly.

But I decided to play along.  I offered to organize a men-only hike.  Certainly the leadership would have no objection to this outdoor activity.  But certainly, they did.  The convenient and strange argument this time was the new policy that the club’s individual branches decided whether or not to sponsor single-sex activities—my branch had never sponsored a women-only event so could easily deny my men-only hike.  (I say “new” policy, because it was NOT used just weeks earlier to cancel the men-only Bracket Contest.)  This is a strange argument since all activities (except women-only activities, of course) are open to all members, no matter which branch sponsors the activity.  The leadership was looking sillier and sillier.

I guess the leadership realized just how silly they looked, so they came up with a more rigorous justification for denying men-only activities.  New policies placed many new preconditions on any single-sex activity.  It would be very difficult for any men-only activity to meet these new preconditions.  But it would be very difficult for any women-only activity as well.  I doubt that Women’s Weekends or any other of the women-only activities could satisfy or had satisfied these preconditions.  (The organizer of the Women’s Weekends confirmed that she did not have to meet these preconditons.)  Yet, none of the women-only activities were halted.  These new preconditions only seemed to apply to me and men-only activities.   Just how silly could the Mountaineer leadership look?

All through this debacle I asked the leadership to please justify their behavior.  I asked questions like:  Why do their justifications and policies on this issue keep changing?  How is belly dancing an outdoor activity?  Why is it that only outdoor-type activities can be single sex?  Why would individual branches decide something as important as single-sex activities?  Had anyone besides me proposed any men-only activities?  How did the women-only activities conform to all the preconditions imposed on me?  The leadership refused to answer.  Of course, they couldn’t.

I was accused by several Mountaineers of being petty.  But who was really being petty here?  The “amount” of women-only activities, if it is possible to measure this, must have been 50 or maybe 100 times larger than my men-only Bracket Contest.  Yet the women-only activities went on for years without complaints from men, while the puny, little Bracket Contest received complaints from women immediately.  Who was really being petty here?  And so hypocritical?

While all of this was going on, I went back through my monthly Mountaineer newsletters to refresh my memory on women-only activities.  I found 12.  These included 2 snowshoe trips, a leadership seminar, an online group, a climber’s social, 3 Women’s Wellness Weekends, and 4 Skills Nights for the Basic Climbing Course.  (The Basic Climbing Course offered weekly skills nights for everybody and monthly skills nights just for women.)  I also found much pandering to women in the newsletters.  This pandering included articles and events about women as women, and charitable events for women.  I found 70 instances of this pandering to women.  I found 3 comparable instances of pandering to men.  70 to 3.  I believe there is a pattern here.  I also noted several instances of derogatory comments about men.  When I pointed out all of this, the leadership showed absolutely no interest or concern.

As we have all heard before, the coverup is worse than the crime.  Certainly, allowing women-only activities while denying men-only activities was bad enough, but the degree to which the leadership tried to block me and continue the sexism was much worse—the obfuscation, the strange justifications, the strange new policies, and the stonewalling were deplorable.  I have quit the Mountaineers, and I will not rejoin until the sexism stops and the current leadership has been replaced.

I do not understand how so many people could have participated in this fiasco.  First of all, several people in the Mountaineer leadership actively participated in obstructing me and continuing the sexism.  Also, other people in the Mountaineer leadership did not speak up and stop this nonsense.  On top of this, I did not receive any support from any Mountaineer members, male or female.  How can men so consistently act against their own self-interest?  How is this possible?

I suppose the main explanation for this is that we are more afraid of women than we are of men.  I think we all know that women, as a generality, are quicker to complain than men are.  Even in this situation, women-only events occurred without complaint for several years,  but a harmless men-only activity received complaints from women immediately.  Since men are less likely to complain, I suppose the Mountaineer leadership was afraid of the outcry from women if they allowed men-only events, as well as the outcry from women if they cancelled the women-only events.  This sensitivity difference between men and women inevitably has led to the sexist double standard present in this case as well as many others.  As long as Mountaineer men cower in the face of women’s anger, sexism against Mountaineer men will continue.

I tried to come up with other possibilities to explain this sexism, and they all seemed to be related to this fear of women’s anger: political correctness, chivalry, and even men’s dread of sleeping on the couch.  All of this fear of women’s anger has led to much sexism against men, making men second-class members of the Mountaineers, of the home, and of society.  And women have had no problem in taking advantage of this situation.  It is time for the so-called “macho” gender to get some guts and confront this sexism.  And it would also be nice if women did the right thing and actually followed their own rhetoric and worked toward gender equality.


Sexism works both ways though radical feminists and the brain dead

say sexism only applies to women, kind’s like the above, right?

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9 Responses to NCFM Member Anonymous writes about “SEXISM IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS”

  1. godallmighty on September 8, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Things like this don’t bother me. It’s a private organization doing what they want. I don’t mind if they organize senior activities, special need children activities, etc. I think the purpose it to expose people to these activities who might not otherwise be exposed and probably drum up some PR and future customers and it would not get in the way of my enjoyment of being part of the organization. Obviously these tactics please more people than it angers. OP is obviously angerred and has every right to complain, but it does not look like his opinion is popular therefore the activity will likely carry on. Private organizations and business should have the freedom to do what they want and they generally do things that pleases or promotes the most customers or members, I am not for any government imposed regulations. So although I am sorry about OP anger, there is really nothing that can or should be done about it.

    • Mark Neil on September 8, 2013 at 11:24 AM

      “Private organizations and business should have the freedom to do what they want”

      would that include hiring and pay practices? While I agree that private organizations should not be prohibited from having single sex activities, when they shut down the men’s activity due to complaints, rather than standing by their own set precedent of allowing single sex events, that becomes a problem of discrimination. They didn’t even allow the event to occur, to see if there was interest from the men of the club. Any women complaining should have been directed to the single sex women’s activities, and told they single sex activities were allowed by the club. If the club wanted to shut down single sex activities, it should have done so for both sex activities. The blatant discrimination of allowing one sex to have activities, and not the other, is clearly discriminatory, and I suspect would cost the club in a lawsuit.

  2. Robin Stevens on September 3, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    For the last 40 years, women have done everything they could to kill all male-only groups. They have been largely successful, ending all-male schools, fraternal organizations, the YMCA, and even golf clubs. They have turned “male-bonding” into a pejorative. At the same time, women have hypocritically formed many all-female groups—gyms, professional groups, fly-fishing, hotels, and train cars. Many large organizations now have subgroups just for women. The pinnacle of both of these phenomena is Martha Burke, who as leader of a clearing house of female organizations, tried to get women into the all-male Augusta Country Club. It is just plain sexism. Women’s justifications for their sexist behavior can only be called lame-ass. And now the Mountaineers have jumped on the bandwagon.

  3. Steven Wright on September 3, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    I don’t think this is accurate. Sure, there are some women’s only events (which, by their own policies can’t exclude men), but from looking at their website the organization is predominantly male: the board has very few women on it, it seems that most volunteer leaders are male, and the organization has a strong flair towards male-oriented activities. In looking at their activities, it seems that most people organizing them are male as well. To me, it seems that you are looking for reasons to complain rather than understanding the organization you claim to know so well.

    I have to ask – why would you think a March Madness brackets contest made sense at an outdoor organization anyways? Maybe they declined your attempt because it was stupid, not because it was sexist?

    I’m all for protecting men’s interests, but this is just making us all look a little petty and dumb.

    • Robin Stevens on September 3, 2013 at 6:38 PM


      The Mountaineers made it clear that men were not allowed at women-only events. The board is 33% female (8 women and 16 men). This is hardly “very few women.” If you add the managerial staff, women make up 48% of management (20 women and 22 men). Yes, climbing, scrambling, and skiing seem to be led mostly by men, but backpacking, hiking, dancing, singles, youth outreach, family activities, and naturalist activities seem to be led mostly by women. I counted up the leadership in a recent Mountaineer Magazine: 130 activities led by women, 148 led by men—this is not a significant difference. In fact, it may show sexism against men if there are significantly more men than women in the Mountaineers. I’m not sure what you mean by “male-oriented activities” or how the Mountaineers lean that way. I suppose the March Madness Bracket Contest was a male-oriented activity, and we all know what happened to that. And if you want more female-oriented outdoor activities, just what are those? Tanning? Picnics? Yard Sales? Heptathlons? “To me, it seems that you are looking for reasons to complain rather than understanding the organization you claim to know so well.”

      And even if sexism does keep women off of the board or does prevent women from becoming leaders, just how do women-only activities (like belly dancing) put more women on the board or make more female leaders? The connection is bogus.

      Did you also complain that belly dancing, wine tasting, yoga, and massage are “stupid” activities for an outdoors organization? If not, then you are hypocritical and sexist.

      Your hypocrisy concerning pettiness was addressed by Anonymous in “Sexism in the Great Outdoors.” Please read it again. There seems to be a double standard concerning pettiness—women are allowed, while men aren’t.

      We often consider men as heros and women as victims. Research has shown that it is quite easy for someone to quickly go from hero to villain, but it is very difficult for a victim to be considered a villain. Steven, perhaps this is why you are having so much trouble seeing women as being sexist. I’m betting you would have no trouble seeing the sexism here if the genders were reversed. Your problem with the March Madness Contest, but apparent comfort with belly dancing prove this.

      The Mountaineers is mostly a volunteer organization. Women are able to volunteer just as easily as men, if that is their choice. The purpose of the Mountaineers is to enjoy the outdoors, not to force a gender quota system. And I do not see how discriminating against men promotes gender equality anyway.

  4. Michael Steane on August 27, 2013 at 2:56 AM

    Perhaps a men only activity for a group of men to deal with their problem of allowing themselves to be bullied by the fear of women’s disapproval. You could invite the club leaders to attend.

  5. Peter Allemano on August 23, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    This is an excellent article, and it cogently — and accurately, in my opinion — pinpoints fear of women’s anger as a key factor that impacts everybody’s behavior. Thanks, Anonymous, for reporting on your experience!

    • Benjamin on August 30, 2013 at 10:56 AM

      Yes, but women’s anger is a mythical beast!

      I hear men, all the time, say things like “You’re a brave man” when I utter anything that might be good for men. They are afraid of women’s anger, so they keep themselves from speaking what they really think, let alone doing what they really want to do.

      But, women have no power! It is the same as the emperor who had no clothes. All we have to do is speak and act normally, not feminist-ily, and women have no power to influence us. What are they going to do? Yell?

      Most organizations are run by un-principled men who want the other men’s money and support, plus they want that other portion of the men’s money that is being controlled by the women, too.

      The answer, in large, to these problems, is simply to withdraw support. Don’t allow women to control any of your hard-earner (or inherited) money or resources, for any reason. And, don’t support or finance any organization that will give women a voice or vote in matters, when they did not personally create or earn the resources of that organization.

      We need not fight evil women, usually… we need only pull our rug out from under them. Withdraw support, and they’ll starve. Plus, the more of us who do so, the more of the remaining foolish men will see how they’re being exploited, and turn away too. Meanwhile, it will become easier and easier for us to bring social pressure to bear against those men.

      No need to apply social pressure to women… simply ignore all their speech and ideas. All women’s power comes from their ability to control men and men’s resources. Ignore women, and they are helpless.

      Ignore your friends’ wives. Ignore all women. Except to say “thank-you” for the lemonade they just brought you, or to say “yeah, just like that… that’s how i like it…”

      • Mark Neil on September 8, 2013 at 11:34 AM

        “What are they going to do? Yell?”

        No. Cry, and then use the sympathy garnered from that to sick other men onto you. If you want to call that powerless, go right ahead. But I wouldn’t want to be you when you learn the error of your beliefs the hard way. Your argument fails unless and until all men take up the advice simultaneously.

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