Community is a vital part of feeling accepted and supported in your outdoor adventures and building an inclusive outdoors. For some of us, this outdoor community doesn’t exist in our everyday lives and we have to begin searching elsewhere. Social media can be a great way to discover “your people”. Discovering accounts with voices and representation of diverse women in the outdoors is vital to finding your place in the outdoors, too. Especially when we feel so far apart from each other due to social distancing guidelines, it is essential to connect virtually. It is important to diversify your feed on social media to strengthen your own community and build an inclusive outdoors.
The canon of the rugged outdoorsman (read: white, cisgender, straight, thin, able-bodied man) leaves out a huge population of outdoor adventurers. Making space for those most excluded in turn makes space for all of us.
One way to diversify your feed and find like-minded outdoor folk is to use hashtags. Some of our favorite hashtags include:
#WomenWhoHike #WomenWhoClimb #WomenOutdoors #TrailsNotScales
#OutdoorWomen #EveryoneOutdoors #InclusiveOutdoors #AdventurousWomen
FOLLOW ORGANIZATIONS THAT MAKE COMMUNITY AROUND DIVERSE REPRESENTATION IN THE OUTDOORS
Communities represent strength and solidarity, especially those cultivated around affinity. Following the work of organizations that amplify voices of those most marginalized both keeps you invested in their movement and ensures its growth.
Following feeds of those with identities that may not 100% align with you is equally as important as finding those that do. Diversifying who you follow can help greatly in expanding your understanding of the outdoors and how to make it more inclusive. And when you’ve found accounts you connect with or learn from, check out who they follow, too.
Tip: If you don’t share the identity of an organization that centers in their work for a specific affinity in a specific area, consider NOT taking up space on their page. Learn from their content, support & pay for their work, and always ask yourself if Google could be a better place to ask your question. Diversify your feed as a way of learning and building solidarity as well as finding your own people.
HERE ARE SOME ACCOUNTS THAT INSPIRE US TO CLAIM OUR OWN PLACE AND EMPOWER US TO MAKE THE OUTDOORS MORE INCLUSIVE:
Founded by outdoor community leader Jenny Bruso, Unlikely Hikers is a community for those of us who don’t fit in the mold of the people we see most represented in the outdoors. Unlikely Hikers is a diverse, anti-racist, body-liberating outdoor community that hosts nationwide events, a podcast, and a beautiful, inclusive Instagram page. Scrolling through their account you’ll see an incredibly diverse array of people in the outdoors, including women of different sizes, races, and abilities.
Melanin Base Camp is a community for people of color in the outdoors started with the goal of increasing participation of queer folks and folks of color in outdoor spaces. But, founder Danielle Williams says, they were there all along! MBC now works to represent outdoorspeople of color and runs a blog highlighting their stories.
Centering Black people in the outdoors, Outdoor Afro reconnects Black folks with the natural world and empowers Black people in outdoor leadership. Outdoor Afro gathers Black folks and builds a community where the outdoors are welcoming for all. The Outdoor Afro blog and Instagram page feature the stories of Black people as well as provide education about issues that impact Black people in the outdoors.
Fat Girls Hiking makes community at the intersection of the outdoors, fat activism, and body liberation. Their motto, Trails not Scales, promotes weight neutrality, self-care, and health at every size. FGH hosts events all around the country (and Canada), a book club, an inclusive Instagram page, and runs a wonderful blog. All while centering fat women in the outdoors! FGH is a great place for fat folks to find community and for thin folks to learn.
Disabled Hikers and Disabled N Outdoors cultivate community around disabled people in the outdoors. Their pages offer visibility of disabled community members in outdoor settings as well as critical education around disability justice. Disabled Hikers, specifically, gives comprehensive information on how to be, support, and empower disabled hikers. Everyone deserves access to the wonders of the outdoors, and we all need to work to end ableism.
Indigenous Women Hike is a community of Indigenous women working to heal by connecting with the outdoors. In 2018, a group of women from the organization embarked on the journey to reconnect with the Nüümü Poyo. Their advocacy for Indigenous women in the outdoors always inspires us to make our communities more supportive of Indigenous folks.
Native Women’s Wilderness is a nonprofit organization that facilitates Native reclamation of the outdoors. They bring Native women together to share their narratives with, support, and learn from one another. It is essential while building an inclusive outdoors to bring Native women to the forefront of outdoor media and advertising.
Hike it Baby supports all families with babies and toddlers as they embark on their outdoor adventures. From their social media to their outdoor events, everybody is able to see themselves represented and visualize themselves as outdoorsy.
Outdoor Journal Tour is a community that empowers personal growth and healing for women. By connecting with nature through ODJT events and guided meditations & journaling, women have the opportunity to explore themselves and their own self-care. Follow them on social media to be inspired to hike, heal, and reconnect with yourself & other women across the nation.
Girl Trek organizes around Black women walking. A public health and self-care movement, Girl Trek inspires Black women to walk. In turn, they support civil advocacy to reclaim green spaces, make neighborhoods more walkable, and improve access to walking. Their social media celebrates Black joy, Black women’s history, and Black excellence.
Women Who Hike is a group that brings together—well, women who hike. By sharing our experiences in the outdoors as women, we inspire and empower others. Women Who Hike inspires solidarity between all women. Get involved in their group hikes and be sure to follow them on Instagram and join their Facebook groups.
Who inspires you? What are some of the hashtags you use to find other #AdventurousWomen? Tell us how you diversify your feed!