I run a successful Saturday class that has evolved to where it is now around the benefits of outdoor natural movement, partner interaction, roughhousing and play, and most importantly a positive and supportive tribe of people, providing a safe space to re-explore these very human but forgotten things. The gender split used to be pretty even, around 50/50 on average but very often I would have more women than men. A few of my female students had children and/or moved away and more recently I have noticed my group is very biased towards men, which makes me think if the previous split was an anomaly. I've always had positive experiences and reports from women who actually partake in roughhousing and partner interaction. Those that come and try it really enjoy it.
But those are the "adventurous" ones willing to give it a try. The women that already have an affinity with nature and being outside, those that have done martial arts or other practices that present challenge, self discovery and might be considered outside the ‘norm’ especially when compared to the average women’s perception of health fitness and what options are available. The “scrappy girls”. We're all aware of the many deep cultural layers that lead to this perception and being a parent of girls, we know they do roll, crawl, climb, run and jump. They do wrestle and take part in rough and tumble play / roughhouse - with the roughhousing - perhaps sometimes differently to boys, but they do roughhouse and when they do, they love it and they need it. I really want to try and even up the balance of men and women in my class because I so fervently believe in the power of these games, and believe women would really benefit.
So I can determine two things:
● Girls and women need to roughhouse just as much as boys and men
● When they do it, they enjoy it – and when women give my class a try, they do enjoy it
My conundrum is to understand how to get women to give it a try in the first place, and I’ve begun wondering if it’s the wording, the terminology of how I market the class. There are lots of deep cultural connections as to why women may not see that certain forms of movement are “not for them” and are for “boys”.
So this is an invitation to help us with this research – a free workshop and by taking part, help us understand better the many layers and complex dynamics that are at play with the perceived lack of women taking part in natural movement and more specifically, the outdoor element and the rough and tumble / roughhousing play that we do truly believe is universal. All we ask in return for your attendance, is an empty cup / open mind, to give it a try and to give me honest feedback on how I can perhaps change the way I talk about what I do to include women by making it appealing to them – to contribute to changing the way theylook at how they do move / how they “should” move and how they could move - not to judge but to explore and discover that there are other ways to feel fit, strong, healthy and empowered by moving one’s body.
Please register your interest by using the contact form below.