The topic for the week is not to identify the differences between genders to point the finger and say “I’m a better than her,” or “she’s a better writer than him,” but to open minds up to the fact that people travel for different reasons and under different circumstances.
Gender differences in travel writing have been seen throughout history and Jane Robinson’s bibliography of travel writing, Wayward Women, traces women’s travel writing back to the 16th century. Although, this is an excellent reading for this week, as I understand that my travel writing course is a free one, I’ve decided to include an alternate reading for this week as it’s available over the internet and doesn’t require a dime. Exploring their Boundaries: Gender and Citizenship in Women’s Travel Writing, 1880–1914 by Laura Godsoe. Click the link for the reading to find an interesting discussion regarding gender and travel writing.
Throughout history the reasons for men and women partaking in travel writing have often been different. This can also be seen in different classes within a capitalistic society being restricting to certain manual labour roles and unable to venture off on a worldly adventure. History shows many males writing for income while women writing for leisure. After reading this week’s free suggested reading you will recognize the discussion concerning Bourgeoisie explorers with stable living situations in their homelands while exploring the world and history shows that before 1980 the leisurely travel writer was a common occurrence in women travel writers. If we take gender out of the equation we remain with income versus leisure travel writing, which can result in a very different form of travel writing.
In the past women were often positioned in the field of writing differently to men. In recent years human minds evolved to see that this is now a different case. In the 80s feminists rediscovered the works of many female travel writers, which once may have raised the question as to whether women saw the world differently to men. Men and women can have different travel paths – due to restrictions that may be placed due to a culture or a public bathroom toilet sign.
The most important thing to note from the gender differences and travel writing are the potential for different points of view and history in travel writing and gender tends to highlight this.
Gaston Cavalleri is an Australian travel writer, author, screenwriter and jiu-jitsu fighter. Support his work by supporting one of his affordable books. If you’re not in a position to do so please feel free to continue to learn.
Suggested readings for this week
Free travel writing reading:
Further travel writing readings (though not required as you may not find them free online).
Bassnett, S 2002, ‘Travel writing and gender’, in P Hulme & T Youngs (eds), The
Cambridge companion to travel writing, Cambridge University Press, UK,
Robinson, J 1990, Wayward women: a guide to women travellers, Oxford University
Press, New York.
Discussion topics for the week may be associated with:
- Do you agree or disagree that there may be differences in travel between genders?
- What kind of differences are there?
- Are the differences still relevant today?