I'm a girl and I love active adventures. With this comes an element of social scorn. People think you spend your weekends not washing and getting soaked in the rain. That doesn't happen and actually being in the outdoors is as rough and ready as you want to make it, or as luxurious as you'd like to make it too. (When I climbed Kilimanjaro I was paired with a girl I didn't know within 5 minutes of us chatting I pulled out my Estee Lauder 8 hour lip balm and offered some to her, she declined. Only to reach into her pocket and pull out one of her own. Instant BFF) Worse than people thinking you don't wash, they assume you're a feminist. Now I'm all for women's rights just not in a burn your bra and moan about men kind of way. I strongly believe that there should be plenty of opportunities for women to get involved in outside activities, but in an equal way to men.
All backpacks are equal, but some are more equal than others.
I remember when I was choosing a new backpack last year in a well known adventure store. I just wanted a regular backpack and chose a few options based on size and colour. The shop assistant came to help me and said I couldn't have any of the backpacks I'd picked because they were for men. I was shocked and said that surely there wasn't a sex assigned to a bag. He informed me actually I was wrong, that's exactly what happens. Backpacks are created separately for men and women in order to fit comfortably to their body shapes. The male assistant looked a little awkward and said that I wasn't really close to fitting into a men's rucksack. (What he meant was I had boobs and hips which I do, I can't do anything about either of them).
I was led to the wall of women's rucksacks and based on my list of performance criteria I was shown the top three. I was gutted they were all sickening shades of pink and red and bright green. I asked if they had any backpacks in any normal colours. They didn't. I tried a few on and I felt a bit deflated. I thanked the assistant for his time and went a few buildings down the street in Covent Garden to a competitor store. It was the same story (incidentally if you've never had a backpack fitted I would highly recommend it. It totally changes how they feel and sit and makes for a way more comfortable run or walk). I left with an okay blue coloured backpack still in a shade much brighter than I wanted and much brighter than any of the backpacks for men.
Not all women want special treatment, some just want to be treated equally
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I want women and men to know that not all women want special consideration. Not all women want to put themselves forward and show that they can be better than men. Some of us just wanted to be treated as equals, and to wear normal coloured kit in the process.