There has recently been a public dispute in the hiking community. That’s one reading of it. The other reading is that this isn’t a dispute. This is a story of a powerful man, who, perhaps inadvertently, is causing damage to women – at least two of them. A woman has called him out, held up a mirror to his actions.
To read the original post, please look here:
I am not writing a defense of Carrot Quinn, or an article about Lint. The facts of this situation are not mine to tell. I am writing here only about the reactions to this, and about how men in the hiking community generally react to allegations of misogyny.
I was shocked, and angry after reading Carrot’s post, and I was surprised that so many people were not. Men have been messaging me, bending over backwards to exonerate the ‘accused’. It got me thinking about women in the outdoors and how sexism and bro culture goes unchallenged, just because ‘we’re all hiker trash together’.
Every single person who spoke to me acknowledged that Lint’s behavior was trash, or he was evidently ‘garbage’, but still they were more concerned or angry at Carrot for speaking up at her experiences. I’ve been left confused and disappointed in so many men in the hiking community.
‘It’s interesting how she lied about getting rescued. That’s unacceptable’.
To start with, I do not understand reading Carrot’s article and then thinking: ‘the worst thing about this, the thing I am most angry about, is this lie of hers’. I do not feel empathy with you if that’s your conclusion. If you read this harrowing account of abuse and leave most concerned about the details of her hike, you are saying that hiking purity matters more to you than fundamental safety of women.
She did not lie about getting rescued. She didn’t initially write about it, and went back to hike those miles. Some people get very agitated about hiking 100% of miles, and being honest about exactly what you skipped. Carrot has been unflinchingly honest about when she has skipped, and when she has not. I don’t think she has an obligation to write about every detail of her hike. I personally don’t care whether she confesses to every mile, but I see that people do. Carrot has been totally honest about what she did.
Whether she adheres to some strange notion of hiking purity or not (it was interesting to me that the men who criticized her for this to me have all skipped miles in some way or another) is honestly besides the point. She could have skipped 500 miles, lied about it, and still Lint’s behavior isn’t OK. It seems inappropriate and strange in a post about misogyny and abuse to misdirect the conversation to whether her hiking is acceptable or not to you.
‘It’s interesting that she acknowledges his anger management but then shits on him’
I found this so troubling! I don’t see how or why a man’s anger issues should ever justify negative behavior towards women. Externalizing the reasons for our actions is unhealthy behaviour. Men may need help, but I don’t see how that excuses negative behavior towards others? Mental health issues do not justify any kinds of abusive behavior, particularly when this behavior is a man being angry towards a woman. I don’t want to dismiss the validity of anger management as a genuine issue, but…what’s the difference between this and a man beating up a woman because he can’t control his anger? He needs help, certainly, and anyone seeking help – that’s great! But why should the woman deal with his abuse just because the man has a problem?
Also, in what way has she ‘shit on him’? Calling someone out for their behavior is not shitting on them. It is simply drawing attention to what they’ve done. If we’re criticizing women for calling sexist behavior out more than the sexist behavior itself, we have a problem.
‘Walking is the most level playing field’ ‘Awful behavior has nothing to do with hiking’
Yes, walking itself is a level playing field. Existing within any community is not a level playing field. People are sexist, racist, transphobic (all of us!) in the real world. Why would we suddenly drop our inherent biases the second we step into the woods? If you have the luxury of going into the woods and all you think about is hiking, great! I can only speak for my own experiences, but I have definitely been in a situation with a male hiker acting inappropriately (so inappropriately I was considering getting off trail). I asked other men for help and was ignored. I’m happy if you have never felt threatened or anything other than love and friendship from the hiking community. That’s great! Your experiences are not the same as everyone else’s. Pay attention to what others say, and don’t presume you aren’t part of the problem.
‘She should have been the bigger person to not go on social media about it’
This comment explicitly acknowledges that we are holding women to a higher standard – we inexplicably want Carrot to be the ‘bigger person’. Why? Why does speaking a truth demean her as a person? So often women are praised for suffering in silence, for being stoics.
If the #Metoo movement has brought anything, I hoped it would have been less of a backlash against women speaking up. I don’t see that there is anything praiseworthy about*not* talking. No person is ever obligated to share their story, be it sexual assault, harassment or bullying, but it’s incredible when people do.
Note, Lint was praised for drawing attention to behavior of Carrot’s that we perceive as ‘bad’ – ‘lying’ about the details of her rescue. When Carrot calls out Lint, she gets criticized for drawing attention to behavior of Lint’s that IS bad. There are so many issues with this. Even if their wrongdoings were morally equivalent, we judge Carrot where we praise Lint. AND, crucially, their wrongdoings are NOT morally equivalent. Is getting rescued off a trail morally equivalent to Lint’s actions? Lint’s behavior is clearly worse, but despite acknowledging, this we praise him for drawing attention to her ‘lies’ and get angry at her for drawing attention to his abusive behavior.
‘Why are you getting so emotional about this?’
What to you may just be a very fun conversation, a debate, isn’t a debate for many women. You have the option to log off, to go for a walk outside. Sone of us don’t have that option. Some of us will forever avoid events for fear of seeing certain men there. When you tell me that you think certain women should not have written about their experiences, you are telling me that I shouldn’t write about mine. I should be quiet. I have been left with the feeling that women literally cannot win. Men are happy to have women in the outdoors as long as we are quiet and don’t bring politics with us. If we ask for help, for the friendly community of hiker trash to rally around us, we will be left cold.
I went for a nice 15 mile run in Forest Park high on this anger. I rage ran the first ten miles and then limped, exhausted from my irritation, for the remaining 5. I’m angry right now. I feel like I have been complicit in staying silent. I needed to critically evaluate my own responses to men getting called out in the hiking community. I believe a lot of us probably need to do this. Think about why we bend over backwards to excuse men, while criticizing women for daring to talk.
This doesn’t mean Lint should be left friendless and alone. I’m just questioning whether we should idolize certain men from afar. If you’re his friend – great! You can still be someone’s friend and criticize their garbage behaviour, and help them. If he’s coming to speak at your event – question it. There is at least one woman who will not feel comfortable attending anymore. He has chosen to be an ambassador for hiking. While everyone should have their freedom, I do believe that positions of power (eg controlling social media for prominent brands) comes with responsibility. If people abuse that responsibility, I think there should be community repercussions. If you feel uncomfortable with this – is his and your comfort more important than safety?
Men who hike – please just listen to the women in your life. So much of this is not to do with Lint, but to do with a culture of us all enabling trash behavior. When I see it, I’m going to call it out. I hope you do too.
Boring notes about this post:
I have quoted a few people here. This isn’t because these people are the worst offenders, far from, but because they succinctly said what lots of others had. I am afraid of misquoting people, or removing their points from the wider context of what they are saying, so have stuck to quoting the same few people so that I could be sure to not misquote. If that makes sense. If it is you – this article isn’t aimed at you specifically! I wanted to keep it anonymous as these people were making points with a reasonable expectation of privacy. This is NOT intended to name and shame, just thinking about similarities I have been noticing, and the expectations I have of men in the hiking community.
Also, this is not shitting on any of the men who I have had these frank and fruitful discussions with. I am grateful to have so many people in my life who will listen to me and talk with me about these things. I just noticed SO many similarities that I truly think are not logical I couldn’t not write about it.