Disclaimer: I follow a lot of awesome #outdoorwomen on Instagram. It can be inspiring, to be a part of a community of women who are crushing this wilderness thing. But when all the photos start to look the same -when the grit, sweat and diversity disappear behind curtains of long blond hair and under mountains of yoga tights- I think we all lose. I’m not trying to hate on anyone here. I just wonder if we could keep the tights and the hair, but add the beefy legs, the hip belt muffin tops and the back sweat. I’d follow that.
How to be a popular #outdoorwoman on Instagram in 8 easy steps:
1. Ideally, you are blonde. This is not a prerequisite, but there’s something especially eye-catching about long blond hair against a scenic mountain or ocean backdrop (because you definitely have long, beach-wavy hair that splays in perfect tendrils down your back at all times, even from under your colour-coordinated toque).
2. You are also definitely skinny, and most likely white.
3. You don’t sweat. Somehow, you have made it to the top of a mountain without so much as a back patch showing up on your brightly coloured merino top (one which has definitely not been run through the washing machine several dozen times, and never once with a bright red towel you got cheap at a drug store in Tofino last summer that left everything, including your friend’s new white bathing suit, with a pinkish glow).
4. At all times, you should look like you’re a) in awe of the beauty that surrounds you, b) contemplating the profound life lesson nature has just taught you (which you have, thankfully, shared with us in the comments section, often in the form of a Buddha quote or borrowed from an inspirational internet meme) or c) having so much fun hanging out in the forest with your skinny, blonde, white friend that you can hardly stand it. Try to mostly face away from the camera, as if you’ve been candidly captured doing a, b or c.
5. Throw in a yoga pose here and there.
6. Spend your entire hike looking for the perfect shot. See everything through a square lens.
7. Be sure that you are wearing yoga tights or a bikini at all times.
8. There are some fine lines you’ll need to learn to walk (not including ridge lines):
-You need to wear enough makeup and do enough staging to appear flawless, but not so much that anyone can tell you’re actually wearing any makeup or doing any staging. When you’re in the wilderness, remember to stay dry, hydrated and photogenic.
-Your photos need to demonstrate, at the same time, how amazing nature is compared to little old you, and also how amazing you are, being all nature-y and stuff. Long, wavy hair fluttering in the breeze created by a giant waterfall seems to do the trick every time.
-You need to be an empowered woman, strong, fearless, in the wild alone (or with whoever is taking your photo) and undaunted. But don’t ever forget that even in the backcountry, you’re playing the same old game. If you’re not picture perfect when you reach the summit, does it even count?