Aforementioned in my previous post, I had been working on my article, "Insta-Perversion," for months; revising and rewording, scrapping and drafting. I was worried I would come across as a hypocritical asshole or jealous of 'competing' women in the sport or that it would seem unsupportive in this recent 50/50 movement of increasing ladies' presence on the water. I was nervous that, if the industry thought any of these were true, I would be left estranged of the very industry I have chosen as a livelihood and revere. However, I also knew that I promote women in both the sport and industry regularly. I cater workshops, lessons and instruction to women wanting to learn, and I know that I'm not always an asshole. So, with a deep breath, I finally hit 'publish post', and my God, I am glad I did.
My feeling of worry and nervousness was quickly dissipated as the inboxes on all of my accounts were over flowing with emails, comments and laurels. I was not alone in thinking that there was a problem. I was not alone in the worry of what the impacts could be in posting a fairly brazen article, and I was certainly not alone in the frustration over vainglorious exagerations and arrogance that many of us are seeing so frequently via medias.
I am overwhelmed by the responses I have received since posting the article. Ladies I have admired in the sport, seasoned guides, new ladies entering the sport, ladies I had never heard of, fathers with daughters, male anglers and ambassador reps filled my inboxes with so many messages of support, understanding, gratefulness and knowledge. Some new anglers reached out for support, accomplished anglers offered their perspectives from seeing the industry evolve over their time, my male counterparts offered their advocacy and even a few ambassador reps reassessed their team of prostaff members.
What I found surprising however, was that I did not receive a single email arguing my point, no surly comments, and no tirades of divisiveness. Now, this may be a result of the fact that more than likely, these insta-famous fly girls fully comprehend what they are doing and do not care; or that they truly believe they are a positive role model in what they continue to mistake being the "industry"... Instagram. In saying so though, those latest accounts that had been continuously following/ unfollowing me have stopped, and more than a few of these particular girls who are or who are trying to be an insta-famous account have stopped 'liking' twenty plus photos multiple times a day, so maybe there were some hurt feelings.
Edit: I was messaged an ironic post afterwards which had completely misunderstood my point, who twisted my words to create their own narrative and then used my own wording in their post as their wording.
Here were just a few of the responses out of the several dozens I received, some hysterical, some heartfelt.
Maybe my last post was too cynical because as frustrating as navigating social medias can be, it has also granted many opportunities in meeting some pretty rad people. Some of whom, I have never met in person, but regularly communicate via emails, texts, phone calls and now even Face Time. Social media platforms are used to foster friendships and allow others to see how your life unfolds. While there are certainly contentions about transparency or about how one presents themselves on an online pulpit, social media can have positive impacts. It can be a powerful tool in tightening communities, expanding reach and strengthening friendships. As a tool, it can introduce people to new aspects of our sport, education is broadcasted easier and at times faster, self policing around poaching and illegal practices in fishing (and hunting) are monitored and it is easy to build connections globally.
Ultimately, social media is a personal choice in how we choose to represent our lives with the world; however, choosing to misrepresent oneself can in turn hurt you more often than not. Even with perfectly curated social media pages, people see through the inaccuracies and people see through the ego. We are all students of this sport, we are consistently and constantly learning, and that is okay. I think there is a fear here that if we do not know everything then it is viewed as if we do not know anything. If you are good enough, let the others brag for you. Let the companies come to you, allow others to critique you into becoming better, allow yourself to be asked to teach courses, and do not be afraid to say no because you're not just ready yet to teach. Become humble in your skills, because it's okay if you're not at that level yet. It is insulting to those who have worked tirelessly in this sport and industry, and it shines a poor light on you. You are adding and creating this celebrity-like image of female anglers only seeking brand recognition and little blue heart notifications. This is not represented by the majority of female anglers nor is this accepted by the majority of female anglers. So in short, ladies thank you. Thank you for continuing to push yourselves to learn, thank you continuing to inspire women to get outdoors, teaching women to tie their own knots, to safely land fish, how to paddle their own boats, to promote self-sufficiency on the water and thank you for being rad backwoods babes.