Women in Waders and Men in the Kitchen? by Joseph Lloyd
My wife says some funny things to me. Her wit is sharp and usually delivered with deadpan nuance and without any over-the-top demonstrative action—as if to let the words carry their own weight. I think sometimes she says shit just to see if I’m listening (see earlier post about my pre-curmudgeonly condition). I should write them down when I get the chance just to record her humor through the years but, then again, maybe our kids already know it. How could they not recognize?
She doesn’t speak loudly or use an extraordinary amount of words to articulate her thoughts and her tongue can be biting at times. I’m the acerbic one though—please remember that. Her wit is both calculated and timely; her thoughts are usually steps ahead of my own—and she will continually trap me in clever word play but she brought up a much larger issue recently that I felt I had to address in a more public manner.
She fishes. And she cooks. Both are at a higher level than most and she has attained a level of expertise in both disciplines.
I fish, too. And I cook although not nearly as well.
Food and fishing are two of the most often visited topics of conversation in our house and why is it then, that it seems unmanly for a male to have discourse on recipes and flavors? Is there something unseemly about a man who has learned to feed himself?
Conversely, why is not widely accepted, at least on the east coast, to be a woman who fishes? Or hunts? My wife is as accurate with a 20 gauge over/under shotgun as she is with a 3 wt or 5 wt fly rod—and she’s not embarrassed to use either of them. Her youngest daughter is a wizard in the kitchen and not afraid to pick up a shotgun when the boys go to field, too. Another daughter in law doesn’t fish but she is quick to shoulder a shotgun during hunting season. These are not even examples of the sticky issue of female empowerment in modern times but rather they are simple facts of living in this family.
This is a polarizing and complex topic and I would not be as presumptuous to think that I offer any solutions in a simple essay but perhaps just awareness and acknowledgement of a situation will help to alleviate the stress. Do biases exist towards women who fish?
Are they continuations of pre-conceived notions of gender inequality? Or does it simply make men uncomfortable when a competent chick in waders shows up?
Theresa pointed out to me the other day that we rarely see women on the water. And she continued her point to say that she notices a difference in the way guides treat women compared to men on the few times that we have used their services. I always thought it might be due to the fact that my beady little offset eyes lend an intensely intellectual look that they admire but she smilingly discounted that theory as solely male narcissism.
The list of women who have made impact on fly fishing goes back years but we are still seemingly stuck in a self defeating spiral of exclusion. There are many names in the annals of time and history that can roll off the tongue without much thought: Carrie Stevens, Fly Rod Crosby, and April Vokey are ones that come immediately to mind and I’m sure that I’m discounting many more by not mentioning them here.
shoot, I hear her coming home now. I better go put dinner on the table.