Outside magazine posted a Facebook poll that elicited some nasty responses
Outside Magazine, a Santa Fe, N.M.-based title that covers the outdoors, created a post on its Facebook page last month in hope of eliciting feedback about sexual harassment in the industry it covers. Likely prompted by the Harvey Weinstein scandal that has claimed the heads of abusers in numerous industries, Outside posed five simple questions in a linked Google Doc. Among them were queries as to if readers had been the victim of misconduct and what sort of treatment they might have been subjected to.
So far, so simple.
Well, not quite. The Facebook post linking to the poll received numerous comments, many of them in the range of lame to nasty. Among them were readers advocating that women stay in the kitchen to avoid harassment, responses that termed the poll an “idiotic left-wing survey” and calling such investigations a “witch hunt.” The magazine also published anonymous responses sent in via Google Docs, which included such witty repertoire as: “I would like to be flashed by a girl at some point in near future in the mountains” and “Bitches always be catcalling me for looking so sexy when I’m skiing.”
Of course, not all the responses were so nasty. Some readers—many of them female—also called out the rampant misogyny on social media. One woman took a male commenter to task for claiming sexual harassment had nothing to do with the outdoors by noting that it was absolutely an issue for families and children that enjoy activities like, you know, going for a hike without being catcalled. Outside claims a reach of 16 million “active-lifestyle participants” monthly, with 70% of its audience being male.
“This is @carlmarrs on his 442’ long highline, Orc Slayer. Carl spotted the gap last winter. It was a year-long project working on the bolts and logistics behind the line. With help from good friend Marcus Nelson, he was able to get everything rigged, and he made the first crossing this summer.” Photo and words from @gdmphoto.
As many journalists know too well, abuse when investigating or reporting anything that might hint at chauvinism is par for course. One Australian poll of journalists found that 41% of reporters have been trolled, while 18% of freelancers have even been cyber stalked. But Outside decided to take a stand.
Instead of just letting it slide, the magazine published an editorial defending its work. “We were grateful to get lots of thoughtful feedback from many of you,” Erin Berger, an online editor at the magazine wrote. “But if you think that sexual harassment isn’t a real problem or if you like making jokes about people getting harassed in the outdoors, do us a favor: Unsubscribe. Make good on your threats to stop reading.”
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