Sexism, ageism, and owning it.

I’m working on pulling together an event that I hope you’ll come to called Grit and Grace. The purpose is to showcase the incredible feats of 4 amazing adventurers aged 62, 65, 72, and 77. All of them are, ahem, old and female.

During concept development, my team and I have struggled with using the word ‘old’. The word– that word– is so…unflattering. It is not a good descriptor of the the speakers at our event who are vibrant, strong, insightful, resilient, wanderlust, trend setters, field guides, and working professionals. These women run 100 milers, ski to the north pole, write books, kayak, guide adventure trips, and go on multi-day cycling trips. Still, their very age says they are old.

They aren’t old like my grandma was old though. When my grandma was their age she was mostly filling her time chain-smoking, playing bingo, cards, and doing the occasional cross-stitch. She was sedentary, and the media loves to promote this stereotype. Just a couple weeks ago I was watching America’s Funniest Home Videos, and one of the highlighted videos was when someone’s frail grandma clumsily tossed a basketball, and it miraculously made it through the hoop. The lack of female role models both personally and in the media is the driver behind this event, because the grandma’s I know now are back-flip-slam-dunking their basketballs!

Our speakers embody history and will share their unique perspectives of growing up during a time when women were considered too fragile to participate in endurance athletics and before the enactment of Title IX, when being female and athletic was discouraged and definitely not commonplace. They might also mention how having limited career options and devoting their bodies to childbearing molded their adventure paths. This event will highlight the strides adventurous women have made in the last 50 years and recognize women who are embracing challenges and creating a new status quo for aging.

Please join us to hear these captivating stories on March 15 in North Bend, WA for the event Grit and Grace .

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3 thoughts on “Sexism, ageism, and owning it.

  1. I will be there! Wouldn’t miss it! Helen Thayer is my idol! I am so glad you got her on the panel. I am curious how you gals organized this and got these women to join? I would love to connect with you about that.

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