Week 5 Short Essay

Gender, Outdoors, and Social Media

Queer representation in the outdoor community:

something that doesn’t happen enough.

“REI Presents: Everything to Lose by Pattie Gonia.” YouTube, YouTube, 21 Nov. 2019, 

For many years, the outdoor community has been dominated by heteronormativity, where the preferred representation of outdoor enthusiasts have been through the archetype of a white, straight, male “outdoorsman”. However, the outdoor world has recently begun to change its tune, and representation of queer hikers and outdoorspeople have been made possible through social media platforms such as Instagram. This new democratic space allows content creators to open up new conversations through democratic dialouge by allowing anyone to post, view, and interact with other users’s material. This enables anyone to promote topics such as queer involvement in the outdoor community to a mass audience little to no barriers of entry. The term “democracy” is used in a context that refers to allowing all social media users to take control of instutionalized narratives such as queer involvement in the outdoors.

Instagram influencers such as “Pattiegonia” are some of the forerunners in this movement and have taken to social media platforms (such as Instagram) as a means of creating queer positive spaces in communities that are normally dominated by masculinity and heteronormativity. In the journal article, “Unlikely hikers? Instagram, and the queer mobilities of fat hikers, women hiking alone, and hikers of colour” by Phiona Stanley, Pattiegonia’s online presence is praised for inspiring those to unapologetically embrace the queen within us all, and to be unafraid to be different than the common outdoor narrative (Stanley, 2020). “Pattiegonia” is the drag persona of hiker and outdoor enthusiast Wyn Wiley, who has used his social media to normalize queer hikers by sharing content as the worlds first backpacking, outdoor loving drag queen (Stanley, 2020). Wiley combines the use of drag in outdoor adventure settings and Instagram to encourage inclusion and queer representation in the outdoor community.

“The ultimate goal is for Pattiegonia to inspire more people to spend time outdoors, particularly those how have historically been excluded from the outdoor community, including LGBTQ community, people of color, and fat folks” (Stanley, 2020).

This type of social media use has become a powerful tool in the realm of democrtaic social outreach and content sharing as it has helped change the dialogue that surrounds masculinity and gender roles in the hiking world. By sharing this kind of content on a widescale interface such as Instagram, it allows users such as Pattiegonia to shed light on the hiking communities’ over representation of straight, cisgender patrons of the hiking community, and invite others to share in the conversation (Stanley 2020). From the popularity if his Instagram platform, Pattiegonia was able to work with companies such as REI and combine the power of social media with queer representation and outdoor advocacy in the video “Everything to Lose” (linked above and below), where she (he) stars as the face and narrative poetic voice in an envrinomental conservation video regarding plastics in the ocean and the destruction of mother nature. Dressed in numerous outdoor/environmentally themed drag outfits and extravagant face makeup, Pattiegoina stands as a dominant figure that bends the ridgid image of the hyper masculine figure that embodies the image of the outdoorsman (Harris, 2017). By being featured as the spokesmodel for ocean conservation and environmental advocacy in the REI video, Pattiegonia furthers the conversation of cisgender, heterosexuality, and straight people being the default assumption of outdoor enthisats and works to redfine a new normal in the world of social media (Harris, 2017). 

This democratic dialogue relates to the concept of “actually existing democracy” in the public sphere as theorized by Nancy Fraser as it “designates a theater in modern societies in which political participation is enacted through the medium of talk” (Fraser, 1990). The use of social media such as Instagram acts as both the theatre and the medium of talk where anyone can freely speak, and this speech can be used to empower those who are normally under represented. This applies to a political concept for public participation as the LGTBQ community falls into a minority category that is still working tirelessly for a seat at the table when it comes to representation in many public spheres such as social media and the outdoor community. In addition to this, the use of social media platforms such as Pattiegonia’s outdoor environmentalism and queer advocacy for furthering democratic diolauge reflects the notion of sovereignty in the public sphere and that minority groups such as the LGTBQ community can have their own voice, their own representation, and own self governance within the hiking/ outdoor community (Warner, 2002). 

In all, social media has helped create a space for those in minority groups such as the LGTBQ community to gain representation in the outdoors on platforms such as Instagram.This has contributed greatly towards creating democratic dialogue in the public sphere, and in the case of queer represenation in the outdoors, has highlighted social media’s ability to encourage users to interact with the online public in a way that strengthens queer involvement and removing barriers of gender norms in the hiking/ outdoor world. 

“The results are in. Happy pride.”

@Pattiegonia. results are in. happy pride. Published on June, 28, 2020. Accessed November, 6, 2020.

“Let me be very clear”

@Pattiegonia. Photo by Wheretowillie. Published on November, 4, 2020. Accessed November, 6, 2020.

“SURPRISE BISH !!!! Park ranger pattie is here to write you a ticket for being TOO DAMN FABULOUS.”

@Pattiegonia.Photo by @Erinoutdoors. Published on March,4, 2019. Accessed November, 6, 2020.

Works Cited:

Fraser, Nancy. “Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy.” Social Text, no. 25/26, 1990, pp. 56–80. JSTOR, Accessed 6 Nov. 2020

Harris, Jack. “The Power of Queer Representation in the Media” (2017). Tredway Library Prize for First-Year Research.

Phiona Stanley (2020) Unlikely hikers? Activism, Instagram, and the queer mobilities of fat hikers, women hiking alone, and hikers of colour, Mobilities, 15:2, 241-256, DOI: 10.1080/17450101.2019.1696038

Warner, Michael. 2002. “Publics and Counterpublics.” in Quarterly Journal of Speech. 88.4. Available from:   

Featured Videos:

Dear mother nature:

reifindout. “REI Presents: Dear Mother Nature, Starring Pattie Gonia.” YouTube, YouTube, 21 Nov. 2019, 

Everything to lose: 

reifindout. “REI Presents: Everything to Lose by Pattie Gonia.” YouTube, YouTube, 21 Nov. 2019, 

Featured Photos:

@Pattiegonia. results are in. happy pride. Published on June, 28, 2020. Accessed November, 6, 2020.

@Pattiegonia. Photo by Wheretowillie. Published on November, 4, 2020. Accessed November, 6, 2020.

@Pattiegonia.Photo by @Erinoutdoors. Published on March, 4, 2019. Accessed November, 6, 2020.

Peer Review 2: The Procrastireader

Peer Review 2

Hey Victoria!!

Firstly, I love your blog. The idea is not only creative and fun, but also spot on to a feeling many of us book readers can relate to. I have started more books than I can count due to procrastinating something that I should be doing instead. In addition to that, I also have started new books to procrastinate finishing the other books that I started to procrastinate other tasks in the first place.

I really enjoyed reading your blog posts and found them very well written. Each post carried personality, voice, and creativity, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading blog posts such as “Book Posts That Speak To My Soul” and “How I Almost Joined a Book Pyramid Scheme”. I found the book pyramid scheme post hilarious- this is definitely a trap that I have accidentally almost fallen into more times than I can count and reading your post reminded me of all of the times I have said ”Not another pyramid scheme!! How do I keep getting bamboozled and how did I not see this coming!?” The fact that your mom so easily could see through the mirage of the “1 for 36 book exchange” and quickly searched up facts to prove that it was a pyramid scheme was all too relatable.

From a design front, your blog is beautiful. I feel like this peer review is solely me just gassing you up but you have done a really amazing job at making a creative, aesthetically pleasing blog filled with voice and light. That being said, your attention to detail has also not gone unnoticed. From the large lettered text that starts each blog post, to the artsy covers for each posts preview image, the blog itself is bursting with colour and art. As a viewer, it looks like a blog that surpasses a webpage designed to satisfy a 100 level class requirement. The format of the blog is easy to navigate, and the different sections of content is displayed in a way that makes it easy for the average reader to interact and explore. You have inspired me to improve the quality of my blog and make me want to customize my page in similar ways. I also really like your homepage header and the art that you have put in ad the cheerful yellow theme that you have used for your headings, “read more” tabs, and drop down menu.

I was going into this peer review not knowing what to expect and I am very blown away by the standard in which you have created your blog to. I have been working to find any kind of critique for your blog, but I genuinely cannot find one- which is not a common occurrence. I look forward to seeing your blog as you progress through the class. Keep up the good work and I hope you give yourself some major kudos for being a wordpress wizard.

All the best,

Hope Stewart.

How I Got My Attention Back: The Debrief.

Week 7 Process Post

“Could I go offline for a month?”

The answer?

Yes. You can....and it was awesome.

A month ago, I asked myself, “could I go offline for a month?”. I had just finished reading Craig Mod’s article “How I Got My Attention Back” and I was deeply inspired to reflect upon my own social media habits. I felt as if his article spoke directly to me and my social media addiction and I knew I wanted to change. On October 1st, I called up two of my friends and made a pact with them to go off the social media sites of our choice for a full month. During the course of our break we aimed to observe ourselves and reflect upon our lives before, during, and after, and to report back to each other afterwards. Before starting this one month social media hiatus I was both excited and nervous, but more than anything, very ready to cut my ties with the world of likes, posts, and snaps. This break was a long time coming and this article seemed to fall into my lap at the perfect time, giving me the perfect excuse to press pause on my social media presence.

Now, a month later, the hiatus has come to an end.
You may be wondering how it went.
To sum it up, it was great.

My screen time on my phone went down exponentially, I started getting out of bed faster, I became more productive and focused while doing homework, and last but not least, my mind felt like it had one less thing to worry about. It soon became apparent that I actually didn’t miss using Instagram at all, and it was easier than I thought to stop caring about checking my friends Instagram stories or posting my own content to “stay relevant”. Before the Instagram break, I often felt like I had to always make an Instagram post or upload a story to show people how “great” my life was and uphold an image of being an “artsy” Instagram user. By not using the app, it felt like an invisible weight was lifted off my shoulders and I realized that no one actually cared if I posted a picture or a story, and that my “image” was just an expectation that I created for myself. I recently spoke to one of my friends about our time off Instagram, and we both came to the conclusion that our time away made us realize that we really don’t care that much about what everyone else is doing, or at least what everyone else is posting, and that what truly matters is the people who are closest to us in our lives. As brutal as it might sound, realizing that we could care less about “connecting” with hundreds of followers and friends was a very grounding thought. It highlighted that at the end of the day, the friends and loved ones that I have “offline” are the ones that are a part of my daily life whether or not I am on social media.
I hardly thought about my time off Snapchat during my hiatus, because quite frankly, I did not think twice about deleting Snapchat and have no desire to get it back. I found that once I deleted the app, I became a much better communicator. Rather than being stretched in what felt like a bunch of different directions, trying to answer a multitude of people across different platforms and hold constant conversations, I only had one method of talking to my friends (texting and calling) and I was able to focus my attention and energy on one mode of communication. All of my texts and calls were intentional messages and my quality of texting increased greatly. Beforehand, I was known for forgetting to respond and leaving people on “read” for hours and days on end, whereas now, since I only had one way of talking to my friends, I made a greater effort to answer. By being forced to talk to my friends solely through texting and calling, it made me identify who the core people are in my life. It helped me realize that there are a handful of people who no matter what, I will go out of my way to communicate with regardless of Instagram or Snapchat, and that these are the people in my life that deserve my time and attention.

In all, I found that it was a much needed lifestyle change to delete social media from my life for a month. I found that not only did I not miss it, but I preferred my life without it. I found that I had let apps such as Instagram consume way too much of my conscious and subconscious thought, and that I was deeply absorbed in a world that doesn’t actually matter. By not spending my spare moments scrolling through my phone, I had more time to focus on homework and overall was more productive. I found that I actually had more time in my day than I used to believe and that I was able to complete tasks way faster when I wasn’t thinking about my phone. Going forward, I have decided to delete Snapchat permanently and to keep Instagram, but only have the app downloaded on my iPad rather than my phone. This way, I am able to keep my phone distraction free, and continue building on the momentum I gained this past month of reduced screen time and using my phone solely for communication purposes.

The main takeaways of my social media vacation:

1) Instagram is not that important

2) The friends and people that matter in your life will find ways to reach out and connect with you no matter what. You do not need social media to “stay in touch” with people.

3) I don’t actually care that much about what other people are posting, and it felt really nice to no longer be constantly viewing other peoples “highlight reels”.

4) Without social media, I liked that my phone was actually used as a “phone” and was a communication tool and nothing more.

5) I am much more productive without Instagram or Snapchat on my phone.

Works cited:
Mod, Craig. “How I Got My Attention Back.” Wired, Conde Nast, 22 Dec. 2018,

Peer Review 2 Reflection

Week 6 Process Post

After reflecting upon the “Procrastireader’s” peer review of my blog, I found I was able to take the constrictive criticism from Tonia and use it to better improve my page. I really appreciated the feedback and found it really helpful to have a fresh set of eyes to view my page and improve the content and visual appearance of my site through Victoria’s suggestions.

For Instance, I took Victoria’s suggestion in cleaning up the appearance of my home page. I had been wrangling with trying to have a homepage video that played on a 14 second loop, but was constantly running into the problem of it loading and working on some computers and not working on others. When Victoria said that my blog had a nice “minimalistic” white space on the homepage, I knew that the video had not loaded for her, and if my peers are seeing an empty blank page when they see my site for the first time, that is was time to put this Tom foolery to an end. I later removed they video, went back to the drawing board, and worked to re create the homepage using photos rather than a large video file (Thank you for helping me decide to make this switch!!). In addition to this, I also switched around the menu underneath the “we hope you find what you’re looking for” heading. I agree, it wasn’t looking very polished and didn’t quite fit the theme of the website. I found the suggestion of adding a “writing, poetry & short stories” section super helpful – I hadn’t thought of doing that and after reading that suggestion, it seemed like something I should have done all along to make the website more user friendly. It also inspired me to write more stories and poetry since all the posts that received the highest feedback were the ones that were either my poems or my short stories!! In addition to this, I went in to my posts afterwards and fixed the grammatical errors that were pointed out and fixed the inconsistency with titles on my blog and process posts.
In all, Victoria called me out on all of the little details on my website that I was either neglecting, was too lazy to fix, or had looked at so many times, not realized that they were an issue all together. I definitely feel more inspired to spruce up my page by adding more photos and more creative content so thank you, I really appreciated your thoroughness and attention to detail in your peer review of my site!!

Stealing Moments

Week 6 Blog Post

It’s mid October.

For most of us, that means we are now fully settled into the throws of school and the novelty of “fall” has started to lose its effect. The days are getting darker by the minute, and most of our time is spent inside our homes navigating through the new home- school/ work life balance while also juggling assignments, papers, and tests.

Sounds fun right?

The post summer come down hits us all in different ways and it’s important to adapt to the change of seasons in ways that still promote happiness and self care. It can feel like once were back to the “reality” of work and school that we no longer have any time. Whether its time for ourselves, time for extra activities, or time to spend with friends and loved ones, when summer ends, it can feel like a little piece of our happiness does too.

So how do we make more time? Where does it come from? And where does it go?

The thing is, there is no amount of rearranging our schedules, earlier wake up times, or dailed in reminder tabs that will give us more time in our day. It’s almost impossible to create the large chunk of extra time that we think we need in order to regain a sense of freedom in our lives. What is possible though, is learning to look at your day and find pieces of calm within the chaos by stealing little moments for yourself. For instance, if your day involves commuting by transit, it can look like using your time while sitting on the bus or train to look out the window and give yourself a moment to take in the scenery and be one with your thoughts. If your day revolves around the home, it can look like stealing a moment for yourself while you sip your morning coffee. Being mindful of how it tastes, how the mug feels when you hold it, and allowing yourself to be present, one sip at a time. Stealing moments helps you realize that you are the master of your own time and that you have more control over your own happiness than it may feel. It helps you look for little silver linings in the smallest of things and encourages gratitude and mindfulness.

The clips in this video are all stolen moments. Moments from throughout my day that I chose to pause, look around, and take in the world around me. These moments were all instances that I could have easily missed and whisked by while lost in my own train of thought (such as the shots while sitting on and exiting the sky train, standing at an intersection, and riding my bike with friends) but took the time for myself to recognize beauty and art in each moment. By doing so, I was able to find ways to look at my own life from a different lens and acknowledge all of the beauty and magic that comes in and out of my daily hustle and bustle.

This fall, I challenge you to change your narrative about needing to “find more time” for yourself and look for the beauty in the moments you already experience each day. Take a minute to find mindfulness and gratitude during activities you normally “go through the motions” of, and steal the moments out of your day that have been waiting for you all along.

Online Disinhibition Effect

Week 4 Process Post

Out of the six behaviours of John Suler’s “The Online Disinhibition Effect” , I feel that the behaviour of asynchronicity aka “See You Later” most reflects my online self (Suler, 2004). I often find myself leaving people on “read” like its my day job. Interacting with people in “non” real time over platforms such as email and online messaging platforms I often get overwhelmed with the idea of an instant message requiring an instant response and am disinhibited by the idea that over text and email I have the ability to close the screen and choose what/when I want to respond and often use it as a get out of jail free card to take my time when it comes to replying. However, I believe that the weird set of rules created by online messaging/ interaction that dictates an immediate message needing an equal immediate response inhibits the ability to allow ourselves to take time whatever time we may need to respond.

Works cited: Suler, John. 2004. Psychology of Cyberspace – The Online Disinhibition Effect,

How I Got My Attention Back

Week 3 Process Post

“Could I go offline for a month?”

The question circulated through my mind as I read Craig Mod’s article “How I Got My Attention Back”. How long had it been since I really went offline? Sure, I have gone for week long camping and hiking trips where my phone is put on airplane mode, but that has always been followed by instantly posting pictures of the trip to instagram, checking to see what I “missed” on Snapchat, and “catching up” on other social media sites as soon as I got back home and into cell service. Plus, while on adventures and trips my days are filled with activities and spending time with friends where our phones are stored away in our bags and doesn’t really count as removing social media from my actual daily life. Instagram was first created in 2010, and a year later in 2011, I downloaded the app and made my account. I have had instagram since I was 11, meaning that I have been using the app 9 out of the 10 years that it has been around. For 9 straight years I have been scrolling, posting, and liking photos without a second thought. As I read the article, Mod’s words seemed to be talking directly to me, can I sit quietly in a room alone? How many days do I start by turning my phone alarm off and instantly clicking on instagram, checking Snapchat, or scrolling on VSCO? One of the most prominent quotes from Mod’s article was regarding a having a healthy mind and gaining control over our own attention:

“Attention is a muscle. It must be exercised. Though, attention is duplicitous — it doesn’t feel like a muscle. And exercising it doesn’t result in an appreciably healthier looking body. But it does result in a sense of grounding, feeling rational, control of your emotions — a healthy mind.”

(Mod, 2018)

I had noticed that over the past couple years it has become increasingly hard for me to focus my own attention while reading (especially for schoolwork) and that almost always, I’d read a paragraph or two and instantly reach down for my phone, go on a social media app, and only then after a couple minutes of scrolling be able to return to my reading. It seemed as if my brain was squirrelly and quickly became restless if I was away from my phone for too long. I was unable to focus on anything other than the idea of checking my instagram or answering a snapchat and wouldn’t be able to think of anything else or read another line until I satisfied the overwhelming urge to check my phone. This often happened throughout other moments in my day too, whether it was while I was riding the bus, sitting in a lecture, or eating a meal, I would find that in moments of stillness, I could not sit with my own mind.

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” wrote Blaise Pascal. Did any of us remember how to sit quietly, alone, without a phone in hand?

(Mod, 2018)

I remember reading the quote above and thinking, “why am I like this?”, “Why can’t I sit through a lecture and not pull out my phone?”, “Why do I seem to always feel the need to be either posting a story or a picture instagram?” And “why do I care so much?”.

Needless to say, I recognized that it was time for a change. After reading the article I reached out to two of my friends and proposed the idea of going “offline” for a month. Obviously neither one of us could go completely offline as our schooling is all online, but we could go off all social media and were excited at the prospect of doing so. We each identified which apps we spent the most time on and over the phone lined up what we were going to cut off during our personal hiatuses. For myself, Instagram had to go. Next was Snapchat, VSCO, and Facebook. These were all the apps I found myself spending the most time on and that I often use to compare myself to others and have not the best for my overall mental health. Starting October 1st until November 1st, myself and two of my friends are logging off/ deleting all of the social media apps that either a) we spend a too much time on or b) have negatively effected our mental well being. In the time that I spend off of social media, I am planning on substituting the time I normally would spend on my phone with journaling each night before I go to bed, going for walks, finishing my book, and hopefully getting more homework done!! Another thing that I hope to accomplish while off of social media is spending more quality time chatting with my roommates. Often, when we’re hanging around the house or eating a meal together our phones are in our hands and our attention is split between the real world and our virtual worlds. I am looking forward to no longer feeling the need to be scrolling through instagram while sitting on the couch and hanging out with my roommates and to give those around me 100% of my attention.

Works cited:
Mod, Craig. “How I Got My Attention Back.” Wired, Conde Nast, 22 Dec. 2018,

Digital dressing up: Reflection

Week 5 Process Post

After reading the article “Digital dressing up: modelling female teen identity in the discursive spaces of the fashion blogosphere” by Tara Chittenden I felt as if I was able to relate the concept of using fashion and self expression as a tool for “emerging teen identity” (Chittenden, 2010).

When I was younger (starting around age 12 to my late teens), I always thought that I had to have a “style”. I felt the need to align who I wanted to be on the inside with how I presented myself on the outside and I would craft my wardrobe around each new stylistic phase: sporty, Pacific Northwest-y, surfy, tomboy, etc.. I would work to tailor each piece of clothing to fit the certain identity that I wanted to create for myself.

Much like Chittenden’s article, my ideaology surrounding my own female teen identity was linked with the idea that “Most teens are concerned with reconciling how they perceive themselves with how they are perceived. By trying out different expressions of identity, receiving feedback from peers, and figuring out how to modify fashion, posture and language, teens gain self-esteem in the impression they make.” And that “The relationship between fashion and social capital means that teens are constantly monitoring how they look for anything which might contradict their perceived ‘fit’ into teen culture” (Chittenden, 2010).

This occurred over and over again throughout my teenage years and even with my taste in music, I would only listen to one genre at a time. Bound to the idea that I had to find one “style” that summarized what I liked so that when people asked what I listened to, I could have an acceptable answer and could avoid the eye roll that came from saying “I like everything”. I believed that I had to have “a favourite”, because that’s what I had learned was cool. To have a favourite artist, a favourite song, a favourite genre, a certain way of dressing, a certain classification of self identity. For years, I worked endlessly to find the ultimate way of presenting myself that I could select above the rest and finally have a path that was clear and made sense to others.

However, the more I tried to limit myself and hone in on just one thing, the more I realized that I’d get bored of wearing one style of clothing, listening to one kind of music, or pursing one type of hobby. I liked everything and had an appreciation for all sorts of “styles”. I felt jumbled, like my passions and interests were always pulling me in multiple different directions, and that I had no clear “self identity”.

Fast forward to present day, where I found myself back to the same predicament as we were required to create an online “image” for ourselves for our publishing wordpress domains. How could I ever find a singular interest to present as my “online identity” on my website? It seemed that I could find little pieces of myself everywhere and that all my hobbies and interests were stretched widely across the board. I love to write, take photos, make videos, read books, adventure, explore, and dabble in more sports and hobbies that I can even keep track of, so why do I have to chose one idea and forget about the rest?

This is where the idea of “A Blog For Life Livers” came from. Before creating my blog, I found myself thinking, “what if we aren’t just one thing?” “What if your style could be no style at all, but just a selection of different random pieces and sounds that move you and bring you joy?” What if what shapes us are unique layers of different thoughts and experiences, and when combined with each other, make a mosaic of human individuality that displays more colour and depth than a singular blanketed statement of self identity ever could. I believe that this idea is the first step towards breaking away from the belief that so many of us carry in our teenage years that order to “be somebody” you had to be “something”. The idea that we need to categorize ourselves and those around us into groupings based on what “type” of person we are. Whether it is through our style, our taste in music, and now our online self.

Going forward, I decided to create my online identity for my blog in a way that invited all who simply live life to take whatever it is they need from a wide variety of content. Whether it was stories, videos, poems, or random photography from experiences and adventures, that there would be something for everyone. I wanted to create a site that threw the idea of choosing “one” way of presenting ourselves and our style out the window. Whether it’s online, in the music I listen to, or in the fabric of the clothes I wear, here’s to a sense of self that allows the room to let things be. Here’s to accepting the idea of everything, and realizing that what I once viewed as “stretched widely across the board” is actually an appreciation of all of the different wonders that life has to offer.

Works cited: Tara Chittenden. 2010. “Digital dressing up: modelling female teen identity in the discursive spaces of the fashion blogosphere.”Journal of Youth Studies