Just Tell Them I Survived! Women in Antarctica

By Robin Burns | Go to book overview

FIVE
‘If you pat one, pat them all!’

What is it like being a woman in Antarctica? Does living in such unusual circumstances create specific problems or issues? According to ‘Tamara’: ‘If women want equality here or in the Antarctic, there should be no more or less interest in their problems in Antarctica. Making a special issue out of it can work against women South who, being in a minority already, have a spotlight on their foibles and human-ness.’ Other women simply said: ‘Not a problem! We're all people there.’

Like Astrida, women can ‘feel more like a woman down there as a result of the interaction with the men’. Looking back, ‘Rowena’ ‘certainly did feel special because I was female’, while Helen B. found ‘the red carpet still happens for women there; it's very nice’. There are reciprocal obligations, as ‘Geraldine’ noted: ‘There are physical differences and sometimes you need to accept this; you recognise other people's skills and talents and they recognise your own and you can help each other out.’

There is mutual watching between expeditioners and, despite the heavy, unisex, outdoor clothing, 1 people learn to identify each other by gestures and body language. You cannot be anonymous in Antarctica and, as Angela McG. explains, ‘being a woman is somehow different to being just “someone” there’. This has several dimensions: the pressure of male attention;

-102-

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