By B. Chase Wall
Every year, the entire side of my father’s family head up north for a week for a snowmobile trip. When I was little, I never thought much more about these trips other than the fact that we all got to see each other, catch up, and enjoy family time. My whole family dominated in the sport. Yet, now that I am older, I realize that it is not as much a family sport as it is a male-dominated world. I look around when we stop for lunch and realize that I am one of the few women around that has arrived on a snowmobile and that I am almost the only girl that has arrived on a snowmobile with her family instead of her boyfriend.
As I have gotten older, I realized just how much I live in a male-dominated world. I tend to lean towards activities that are traditionally thought of as masculine sports where very few females partake. For example, during the summers I trade in my snowmobile for a dirt bike. Most people (I will admit that not all) are astonished when I tell them I have my own dirt bike and that I am part of a dirt bike club near me that puts on events (such as races geared towards kids and vintage dirt bikes).
Yet, I am not the only woman inserting herself into a male-centric world. More and more women are doing so, but, people are still surprised. Why? Probably because people do not see dirt biking or snowmobiling as something a woman could (or should) have an interest in. And, in general, more women have realized that they enjoy riding dirt bikes. I do not know the exact numbers, but if you have been to any dirt bike events in the past few years even you will notice more women are riding (at least in such events like the ones the club I belong to puts on).
Despite the shock, I love it. I do not mind that I am living in a male-dominated world nor do I mind that I might not quite fit in. Sure, I sometimes feel a little weird and self-conscious, but in the end, I am out there to have fun, not prove anything to anyone other than myself. I still go up north with my family every year, get on my snowmobile, and enjoy riding and being with my family. I do it because I can. I do not let the fact that I am outnumbered by men stop me from doing what I love nor should that stop anyone else. In all honesty, I have found that because I am a woman I want to set higher goals and work harder to achieve them. So, find the courage to break down gender barriers and enjoy an activity that can push you. Do not let fear or self-doubt prevent you from engaging in a ‘masculine’ activity like snowmobiling or dirt biking. In the end, if you do, the only one you’d hurt is yourself.