We interrupt my Croatian ramblings for something slightly more topical. And for a visual, here are some women caught in the act of traveling who certainly don’t need any re-definition of womanhood, particularly as decided by corporate America of all things (spoiler alert, it’s me and my Mom):
Context: I am a regular, daily reader of the NYTimes. I have been for years. I ponied up for the digital subscription and usually start and end my days reading news from the Grey Lady. And I usually read every article in the Travel section, even the asinine ones. So imagine my excitement when I came across this article recently: “Zeroing in on the Female Traveler.” Geared to the grown-up (me), non-married/without kids (me), successful (uh… sort-of me), woman traveler. Hey! That’s me! I’m 30, childless, successful in some senses, and an avid traveler! Perfect!
But… what a crap article. The gist is: solo lady travelers (particularly those who wish they had husbands and babies to travel with, otherhood, as it is patronizingly called) are now being catered to with special, ridiculous hotel packages.
I am proudly feminist and this drives me nuts. I am not a “woman” traveler, god-fucking-forbid I am not an “otherhood” traveler, and I sure as shit don’t need to be pandered to regarding my un-married/un-babied-ness (and yes some women are in that situation because they haven’t yet found a partner, and would like their situations to be different, and that’s ok. But get this, some women are also in that situation by choice). Regardless, I’m just a traveler–no modifiers needed–and it would be nice if the travel industry and the NYTimes recognized that.
Now don’t get me wrong, I acknowledge that a woman traveling–particularly alone–can raise certain issues. Which is simply being realistic and something I’ve thought about a lot because, I’ve done that. I’ve lived those issues. But, this article (though to be fair it does unpack the notion of “otherness” slightly), emphasizes and reiterates standard patriarchal stereotypes about what women like me should want when we travel–Womanhood Redefined— is what the hotel package is called for god’s sake. And instead of calling this out for the drivel that it is, the article calls it a trend and calls it a day.
Fuck that noise.
Resorts, cruise ships, anywhere that caters to holiday travel as opposed to business travel, do need to do a better job providing options for solo travelers–whether men or women–but absolutely none of that has anything to do with a woman’s marital or motherhood status. And especially not how she defines or redefines her gender.
Here’s an idea: how about we treat women travelers just like men. How about, New York Times, paper of goddamn record, you give a few of the “Frugal Traveler” articles to a woman sometime? The “Frugal Traveler” has been a man for years. How about we unclutch our pearls about the fact that there are unmarried, unbabied, grown women who want to see the goddamn world and leave it at that?
So what do you think? Am I being a shrill harpy who is never going to get a man (that would be news to my dear companion), or is this as dumb as it seems? I recognize it’s a small battle to pick, but dammit, we have to draw the line on this inanity somewhere.