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kbatku
Questionable hiker



Joined: 17 Sep 2007
Posts: 3136 | TRs
Location: Yaquima
kbatku
Questionable hiker
PostWed Mar 10, 2010 9:09 am 
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I heard this woman read in Yakima a few weeks back. While all her work was exceptional, one of her poems was especially moving for me - it explained a lot while being insightful, well crafted,  and touching.**

The Girl Who Goes Alone

Elizabeth Austen

Here’s the thing about being a girl
and wanting to play outside.
All the grownups grind it into you from the get go:
girls outside aren’t safe.
The guy in the car? If he rolls down the window and leans his head out, run,
because the best you can hope for is a catcall, and at worst,
you’ll wind up with your face on the side of a milk carton.

Even when you’re a grown-up girl, your father—because he loves you—
will send you a four-page article about how to protect yourself
while standing at the ATM, while travelling unescorted, while jogging solo,
an article informing you how to distinguish phony police
and avoid purse snatchers, pickpockets, rapists and thugs.

Tell someone you’re going into the woods alone
and they’ll fill your ears with every story they’ve ever heard
about trailside cougar attacks, cave dwelling misogynists,
lightning strikes, forest fires, flash floods,
and psychopaths with a sixth sense for a woman alone in a tent.

To be a girl alone in the wilderness is to know
that if something goes wrong—
you picked the trailhead where the ax murderer lurks
or the valley of girl-eating gophers—
if you don’t come home unscathed, the mourning
will be mixed with I-told-you-sos
from everyone whose idea of camping involves an RV or a Motel 6.
The message is clear: Girls must be chaperoned.

Continued: (scroll down a bit at linked - to page)**
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Scrooge
Famous Grouse



Joined: 16 Dec 2001
Posts: 6957 | TRs
Location: wishful thinking
Scrooge
Famous Grouse
PostWed Mar 10, 2010 10:25 am 
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Great find, kbatku, but you did do a good selection job. Those first four verses, about the universal experience of the "girl alone", really are a little better than the details. ........ Thanks.       up.gif  up.gif

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Something lost behind the ranges. Lost and waiting for you....... Go and find it. Go!
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jsull
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Joined: 22 Dec 2004
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jsull
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PostWed Mar 10, 2010 1:30 pm 
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It's not a factual study of sexual assault.  It's a poem.  It's art.

And I encourage readers to follow the link and read the whole thing.  I have a daughter, I hike alone, and in light of the missing woman in Columbia Gorge, I was deeply moved.

-John
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Ski
»«»«»«»«»«



Joined: 28 May 2005
Posts: 7357 | TRs
Location: tacoma
Ski
»«»«»«»«»«
PostWed Mar 10, 2010 2:11 pm 
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Sam the Sham wrote:

li'l red ridin' hood
I don't think little big girls should
go walkin' in these spooky ol' woods alone

So... why is it that on this forum with all these adventurous single girls, and all these macho single guys, it's unreasonable to think there might be the possibility of some girl ( or girls ) being accompanied by one or more of said macho guys without the seemingly obligatory overindulgence in alcohol, double-ententres, tawdry jokes, lack of even a modicum of personal hygiene, or pulling out the digital camera at the worst possible moment?

Seems to me that might be a means to read fewer stories about missing girls on trails.
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roadtripmom
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Joined: 10 Mar 2010
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roadtripmom
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PostWed Mar 10, 2010 2:47 pm 
Poem
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WOW !  This woman says so well.  Men just don't get it.
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Ski
»«»«»«»«»«



Joined: 28 May 2005
Posts: 7357 | TRs
Location: tacoma
Ski
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PostWed Mar 10, 2010 2:51 pm 
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roadtripmom wrote:
Men just don't get it

some do. some don't.

it's okay though- we say the same thing about women.
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bonobo
Being here now



Joined: 23 Jun 2004
Posts: 801 | TRs

bonobo
Being here now
PostWed Mar 10, 2010 3:26 pm 
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Thank you, kbatku, for introducing me to a piece of poetry I find very moving.  Learning to go out solo has been one of the most powerful things I've done for myself.

--------------
"Even dead men lie in their coffins"
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NWtrax
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Joined: 27 Apr 2008
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NWtrax
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PostWed Mar 10, 2010 8:14 pm 
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That was a nice poem. As the father of two young girls I hope I can prevent my concerns from becoming their fears, to build confidence and provide the space needed for them to someday go it alone.
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Damian
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Joined: 18 Dec 2001
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Damian
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PostWed Mar 10, 2010 9:42 pm 
Re: Poem
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roadtripmom wrote:
Men just don't get it.

Hey the men on this site get it.

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Be kind to others, for everyone carries a heavy burden.   -Rev Dale Turner
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More Cowbell
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Joined: 01 Jul 2006
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More Cowbell
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PostWed Mar 10, 2010 10:17 pm 
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a little bit of the serious side of Kabatku.  Nice.  I'm not big into poetry but I would buy her books.

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“If you want to forget all your other troubles, wear too tight shoes.” - Unknown
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MtnGoat
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Joined: 17 Dec 2001
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Location: Lyle, WA
MtnGoat
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PostThu Mar 11, 2010 1:00 pm 
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I wonder what the actual data shows with respect to risk vs the sex of the hiker.

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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dicentra
Plant Geek



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 1130 | TRs
Location: Der Town
dicentra
Plant Geek
PostThu Mar 11, 2010 1:42 pm 
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Incredible poem.  I found this earlier on a different list... Posted the full thing (with links to her site) to my blog today.

I hike alone. agree.gif
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 14138 | TRs

Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostThu Mar 11, 2010 2:11 pm 
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Am I the only one who thinks the poem is hooey?  No offense, kbatku - but to those who are swooning - what about it is inspiring?

Of course it's Austen's freaked-out experiences, not mine - but rather than this poem helping anyone, as some have posted, I would think this would scare the bejeezus out of any girl or young woman wanting to hike or backpack alone.  Plus, they'll think that all men out there are intimidated by women who backpack alone. Austen apparently attracts insecure boyfreinds, if hers are intimidated by this.

Sure I had and still have fears when alone, but they're not gender-specific fears.  Mine are the same as anyone might have - claustrophobia, dead-silence and being surrounded by vast empty space.

I'm just not a fan of the poem, and I don't think it is going to help anyone.

I guess poems that include reference to axe murders and fondling bloody tampons in the middle of the night just don't appeal to me.

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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Dogpatch
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Joined: 17 Aug 2003
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Location: the dryside
Dogpatch
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PostThu Mar 11, 2010 2:24 pm 
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Quark wrote:
Am I the only one who thinks the poem is hooey?

I was going to keep my cranky old trap shut on this, but since you ask--no, you're not alone. I'm not a fan of this poem either. Good intentions don't necessarily make good literature. I don't find the writing compelling.

And I think it exaggerates and feeds into our collective paranoia, so I don't give it a pass for content either. Just my opinion, feel free to fling rotten tomatoes or whatever (at Quark, not me  lol.gif ).

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"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
  Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." – Groucho Marx
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dicentra
Plant Geek



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 1130 | TRs
Location: Der Town
dicentra
Plant Geek
PostThu Mar 11, 2010 2:45 pm 
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I don't think it's hooey. And I think you are partially right... Not all men think like that, but a lot of them do. I don't think the poem is meant to be a "lesson" to anyone, but more of a... "I'm gonna do this and you can't stop me. And don't tell me not to just because I'm a GIRL"
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