Friday, 3 November 2017

Yachtswomen's disaster at sea questioned. Why?

Fulava and Appel on USS Ashland, Okinawa, Picture by AP/Koji Ueda

Why are two seawomen’s headline-hitting disaster story being denied and undermined this week?
Anyone interested in gender has to note the deep ideas about women that are being aired.
The US Coastguard, amongst others, is challenging the ‘inconsistencies’ in the account of Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava. The Hawaiian women set off for an 18-day trip to Tahiti.
On their crippled 50-foot sailboat Sea Nymph they were ‘lost’ for three months after a storm this year, and rescued by the US Navy earlier this week.
See the Associated Press story by Caleb Jones in, for example,


Novelist Ursula K Le Guin (pictured), years ago, famously pointed out the way that women fiction writers’ achievements in history were undermined.
Nay-sayers contended that ‘she didn’t write it’. Or if she did write it ‘she didn’t write much or it wasn’t that hard or it somehow really doesn’t count.’

Similarly, the disparaging counterclaims to these women’s own account amount to this:
1. They were going the wrong way, by thousands of miles. (Code for the stupid women just got lost, and brought on themselves?)
2. There was no storm at all. Records don’t show any severe weather. (Code for they’re lying or hysterical?)
3. If they had REALLY been in trouble, they were only minutes away from rescue facilities. They could have just switched on their beacon.(Code for they’re lying/hysterical, or they brought in on themselves?)
4. They couldn’t have been in a six-hour attack by 20-to-30 –foot tiger shark attack because sharks don’t behave that way nor grow beyond 17 feet. (Code for they’re lying for sympathy or just hysterical drama queens?)
5. Their subsequent stories are inconsistent. Had they really been sending distress signals for 98 days, fearing they weren’t going to last another day? Or had they not felt themselves to be in immediate danger?. (Code for they’re lying/ hysterical drama queens?)

And it goes on. Had they filed a float plan or not? Had they been reported missing before they were due to arrive? By a mum or a man? Were some harbours really too tiny for them to anchor in?
So, they weren't really brave. They weren't really in trouble. Their problems never existed.They can't even tell a consistent story.


Whatever the truth, the commentators are contesting the women’s story. Why? Is it about discounting women’s bravery?
Or alternatively, why would the women have fabricated such a story?

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