As a media junkie, I have a tendency to develop really powerful feelings for things like magazines, TV shows and books, to the point that it sometimes feels like I have a relationship with said media product. Usually those relationships are solid and mutually fulfilling. You know, I give them my money and my attention, they reward me with entertainment and information. Usually it works.
But sometimes the relationship becomes more complicated, veering into frenemy territory or maybe even something resembling an unrequited crush. A good example of the latter relationship is the one I have with Outside magazine. I think there are so many awesome things about Outside: outstanding long-form journalism, gorgeous photos, interesting travel writing about places I’d like to see before I shuffle off this mortal coil. But the problem is, I don’t think Outside likes me much at all. Actually, “like” assumes that Outside even knows I exist, which I often get the feeling it doesn’t. I don’t think it thinks about me or women like me at all.
It’s not just the fact that the female athletes they profile are almost always in bikinis, whether the sport warrants it or not. It’s that they’ll do a feature on running shorts and only include shorts for men, or they’ll make an attempt at branching into female-friendly content with a piece about style trends at the Boston Marathon. I have nothing against a feature on running shorts for men or lists of style trends at major marathons, but it’s just part of an overall gestalt that tells me Outside thinks of itself more as a magazine for my husband and not so much for me.
Which is why I was so psyched to find Women’s Adventure several months ago. The Colorado-based magazine bills itself as “the only sports, travel, fitness and lifestyle magazine published specifically for active women.” I spent a couple of hours looking around the site and immediately bought myself a subscription. I’ve received two issues so far and I have to say that I’m incredibly happy that I decided to pick it up. Totally worth the $20 for my subscription and then some.
The editorial staff covers a wide range of sports and adventures, everything from hiking to caving to stand-up paddleboarding. They write about elite athletes as well as women who are simply doing extraordinary things. A memorable story for me was one about a woman who had served in the military and who hiked the Appalachian Trail as a way of recovering from PTSD, as well as one written by a journalist who spent time with the Afghan women’s cycling team.
The magazine doesn’t just publish journalism and personal essays. The information about gear has been invaluable to me so far, specifically articles about feminine hygiene during long hikes and choosing the right bike saddle. These are really important things that I don’t know are ever actually discussed in sports and adventure magazines that are supposedly aimed at all people, because I guess vaginas are icky or something. I don’t know. Obviously the entire magazine isn’t all vaginas all the time, but I appreciate that Women’s Adventure acknowledges the importance of keeping one’s tender bits in good working order and dedicates editorial space to helping its audience do just that.
A few months later, my lady-adventure reading got even better when I learned about Misadventures, an online magazine with the following mission statement: “Misadventures champions women who embrace creativity, take risks, and go out and beyond. We spotlight inspirational feats and figures, beautiful spaces, honest-to-goodness adventures, and discoveries of all sorts.” When I saw their origin statement, which references Outside’s seemingly accidental dude-centricism, I knew I had found another tribe of my people. I sadly have not had as much time to delve into Misadventures but it looks interesting, plus I love the site design, so I wanted to mention it as well in hopes of sending more traffic its way.
I have to say, the actual content is not the only thing I love about these magazines. I love that the editorial staffs behind each publication saw a gap in the existing media landscape and then put in the effort to create something to fill that gap. I love what they are doing, both as a woman who loves outdoor sports and as a media professional, and I’d like them to keep being able to do what they do, whether that’s through buying a subscription or writing about them on my blog or giving them page views.