Gender Issues

, Volume 29, Issue 1–4, pp 39–55 | Cite as

Women and the Wild: Gender Socialization in Wilderness Recreation Advertising

  • Jamie N. McNiel
  • Deborah A. Harris
  • Kristi M. Fondren
Original Article

Abstract

Women are underrepresented in wilderness recreation despite the numerous benefits such activities provide to mental, physical, and emotional health. Several theories have been proposed linking women’s beliefs about their competence in outdoor spaces, fears of victimization, and concerns over retaining femininity to their lack of participation. We explore media representations of wilderness recreation as a possible agent in the gender socialization process that dissuades women from participation. Through analyzing advertisements from the 42 issues of Backpacker and Outside magazines published in 2008 and 2009 we find that, when women are shown, they are portrayed as having limited and passive roles in wilderness recreation. These advertisements also use the setting to reinforce traditional gender arrangements and paint women as consumers rather than conquerors of the wild. When women are shown as active participants in wilderness recreation, their physical accomplishments are often either downplayed or depicted as the endeavors of “unique” women who require feminization.

Keywords

Wilderness recreation Leisure Gender Advertisements 

References

  1. 1.
    Altheide, D. (1996). Qualitative media analysis. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Arneil, B. (2010). Gender, diversity, and organizational change: The boy scouts vs. girl scouts of America. Perspectives on Politics, 8, 53–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Arnold, M., & Shinew, K. (1998). The role of gender, race, and income on park use constraints. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 16, 39–56.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bedimo-Rung, A., Mowen, A., & Cohen, D. (2005). The significance of parks to physical activity and public health. American journal of preventative medicine, 28, 159–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bell, M. (1997). Gendered experience: Social theory and experiential practice. Journal of Experiential Education, 20, 143–151.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Benwell, B. (2003). Introduction: Masculinity and men’s lifestyle magazines. In B. Benwell (Ed.), Masculinity and men’s lifestyle magazines (pp. 6–30). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bialeschki, D. (2005). Fear of violence: Contested constraints by women in outdoor recreation activities. In E. L. Jackson (Ed.), Constraints to leisure (pp. 103–114). State College: Venture.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Boni, F. (2002). Framing media masculinities: Men’s lifestyle magazines and the biopolitics of the male body. European Journal of Communication, 17, 465–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Boniface, M. (2006). The meaning of adventurous activities for ‘women in the outdoors’. Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning, 6, 9–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Brunel, F. F., & Nelson, M. R. (2003). Message order effects and gender differences in advertising persuasion. Journal of Advertising Research, 43, 330–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Carpenter, L. J., & Acosta, R. V. (2005). Title IX. Champaign: Human Kinetics.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Cohen, D., McKenzie, T. L., Sehgal, A., Williamson, S., Golinelli, D., & Lurie, N. (2007). Contribution of public parks to physical activity. American Journal of Public Health, 97, 509–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Cole, E., Erdman, E., & Rothblum, E. D. (1994). Wilderness therapy for women: The power of adventure. Binghamton: Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Connell, R. W. (1990). The state, gender, and sexual politics: Theory and appraisal. Theory and Society, 19, 507–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Culp, R. (1998). Adolescent girls and outdoor recreation: A case study examining constraints and effective programming. Journal of Leisure Research, 30, 356–379.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Curry, T. J., Arriagada, P. A., & Cornwell, B. (2012). Images of sport in popular nonsport magazines: Power and performance versus pleasure and participation. Sociological Perspectives, 45, 397–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Day, K. (2001). Constructing masculinity and women’s fear of public space in Irvine, California. Gender, Place, & Culture, 8, 109–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Deem, R. (1982). Women, leisure, and inequality. Leisure Studies, 1, 29–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Denny, K. (2011). Gender in context, content, and approach: Comparing gender messages in girl scout and boy scout handbooks. Gender & Society, 25, 27–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Dilevko, J., & Harris, R. M. (1997). Information technology and social relations: Portrayals of gender roles in high tech product advertisements. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 48, 718–727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Echo Media: Print Media Experts. Backpacker Magazine. 5 Jan. 2012. http://www.echomedia.com/mediaDetail.php?ID=4376.
  22. 22.
    Ferguson, J. H., Kreshel, P. J., & Tinkham, S. F. (1990). In the pages of Ms.: Sex role portrayals of women in advertising. Journal of Advertising, 19, 40–51.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Fondren, K. (2009). A walk on the wild side: An examination of a long-distance hiking subculture. Doctoral dissertation. Available from ProQuest Dissertations (3366293).Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Glotfelty, C. (1996). Femininity in the wilderness: Reading gender in women’s guides to backpacking. Women’s Studies, 25, 439–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Goffman, Erving. (1979). Gender advertisements. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Gorman, C. (2002). Walk, don’t run: It’s simple, it’s cheap, and studies show that walking may be the best exercise for reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Time, 159, 82–83.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hays, S. (1998). The cultural contradictions of motherhood. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Henderson, K. (1995). Marketing recreation and physical activity programs for females. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, 66, 53–57.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Henderson, K. (1996). Feminist Perspectives on Outdoor Leadership. In K. Warren (Ed.), Women’s voices in experiential education (pp. 107–117). Dubuque: Kendall Hunt.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Henderson, K., & Bialeschki, D. (1993). Fear as a constraint to active lifestyles for females. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, 64, 44–47.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Hirschman, E. C. (2003). Men, dogs, guns, and cars: The semiotics of rugged individualism. Journal of Advertising, 32, 9–22.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Iwasaki, Y., & Smale, B. (1998). Longitudinal analyses of the relationships among life transitions, chronic health problems, leisure, and psychological well being. Leisure Sciences, 20, 25–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Johnson, C., Bowker, J. M., & Cordell, K. (2001). Outdoor recreation constraints: An examination of race, gender, and rural dwelling. Southern Rural Sociology, 17, 111–133.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Koskela, H. (1999). ‘Gendered exclusions’: Women’s fear of violence and changing relations to space. Geografiska Annaler, 81, 111–124.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Krane, V., Choi, P. Y. L., Baird, S. M., Aimar, C. M., & Kaur, K. J. (2004). Living the paradox: Females athletes negotiate femininity and muscularity. Sex Roles, 50, 315–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Lee, J., Scott, D., & Floyd, M. (2001). Structural inequalities in outdoor recreation participation: A multiple hierarchy stratification perspective. Journal of Leisure Research, 33, 427–449.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Leppard, W., Ogletree, S. M., & Wallen, E. (1993). Gender stereotyping in medial advertising: Much ado about something? Sex Roles, 29, 829–838.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Little, D. E. (2002). Women and adventure recreation: Reconstructing leisure constraints and adventure experiences to negotiate continuing participation. Journal of Leisure Research, 34, 157–177.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Lopiano, D. (2000). Modern history of women in sports: Twenty-five years of Title IX. Clinics in Sports Medicine, 19, 163–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Maller, C., Townsend, M., Pryor, A., Brown, P., & Leger, P. (2005). Healthy nature healthy people: ‘Contact with nature’ as an upstream health promotion intervention for populations. Health Promotion International, 21, 45–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Manning, R., & More, T. (2002). Recreational values of public parks. The George Wright FORUM, 19, 21–30.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Martin, D. C. (2004). Apartheid in the great outdoors: American advertising and the reproduction of a racialized outdoor leisure identity. Journal of Leisure Research, 36, 513–535.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Messner, M. A. (2002). Taking the field: Women, men, and sports. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Messner, M. A., Duncan, M. C., & Jensen, K. (1993). Separating the men from the girls: The gendered language of televised sports. Gender & Society, 7, 121–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Orsega-Smith, E., Mowen, A., Payne, L., & Godbey, G. (2004). The interaction of stress and park use on psycho-physiological health in older adults. Journal of Leisure Research, 36, 232–256.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Pain, R. (1997). Social geographies of women’s fear of crime. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 22, 231–244.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Pohl, S., Borrie, W. T., & Patterson, M. E. (2000). Women, wilderness, and everyday life: A documentation of the connection between wilderness recreation and women’s everyday lives. Journal of Leisure Research, 32, 415–434.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Pritchard, A. (2001). Tourism and representation: A scale for measuring gendered portrayals. Leisure Studies, 20, 79–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Russell, C. L., Sarick, T., & Kennelly, J. (2002). Queering environmental education. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 7, 54–66.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Sack, R. D. (1988). The consumer’s world: Place as context. Annuals of the Association of American Geographers, 78, 642–664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Sandelowski, M. (2000). What ever happened to qualitative description? Research in Nursing & Health, 23, 334–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Scott, D., & Munson, W. (1994). Perceived constraints on park usage among individuals with low incomes. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 12, 79–96.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Shinew, K. J., Floyd, M., McGuire, F., & Noe, F. (1997). Class polarization and leisure activity preferences of African Americans: Intragroup comparisons. Journal of Leisure Research, 28, 219–232.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Shores, K., Scott, D., & Floyd, M. (2007). Constraints to outdoor recreation: A multiple hierarchy stratification perspective. Leisure Sciences, 29, 227–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Siu, W., & Au, A. K. (1997). Women in advertising: A comparison of television advertisements in China and Singapore. Marketing Intelligence and Planning, 15, 235–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Turner, J. M. (2002). From woodcraft to ‘leave no trace’: Wilderness, consumerism, and environmentalism in twentieth-century America. Environmental History, 7, 462–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Valentine, G. (1992). Images of danger: Women’s sources of information about the spatial distribution of male violence. Area, 24, 22–29.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Virden, R., & Walker, G. (1999). Ethnic/racial and gender variations among meanings given to, and preferences for, the natural environment. Leisure Sciences, 21, 219–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Vries, S. D., Verheij, R., Groenewegen, P., & Spreeuwenberg, P. (2003). Natural environments-healthy environments? An exploratory analysis of the relationship between greenspace and health. Environment and Planning, 35, 1717–1731.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Warren, K. (1996). Women’s outdoor adventures: Myth and reality. In K. Warren (Ed.), Women’s voices in experiential education (pp. 10–17). Dubuque: Kendall Hunt.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Warren, K. (2002). Preparing the next generation: Social justice in outdoor leadership education and training. Journal of Experiential Education, 25, 231–239.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Wearing, B., & Wearing, S. (1988). “All in a day’s leisure”: Gender and the concept of leisure. Leisure Studies, 7, 111–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Wesely, J. K., & Gaarder, E. (2004). The gendered “nature” of the urban outdoors: Women negotiating the fear of violence. Gender & Society, 18, 645–663.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    West, E. (1996). Selling the myth: Western images in advertising. Montana: The Magazine of Western. History, 46, 36–49.Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Whissell, C., & McCall, L. (1997). Pleasantness, activation, and sex differences in advertising. Psychological Reports, 81, 355–367.Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    Whitson, D. (1994). The embodiment of gender: Discipline, domination, and empowerment. In S. Birrell & C. L. Cole (Eds.), Women, sport, and culture (pp. 353–371). Champaign: Human Kinetics.Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    Wolin, L. D. (2003). Gender issues in advertising-an oversight synthesis of research: 1970–2002. Journal of Advertising Research, 43, 111–129.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jamie N. McNiel
    • 1
  • Deborah A. Harris
    • 1
  • Kristi M. Fondren
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SociologyTexas State University-San MarcosSan MarcosUSA
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyMarshall UniversityHuntingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations