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Women travelling 'solo' what does it mean?

(12 Posts)
camaleon Fri 04-Mar-16 18:28:07

The murder of two Argentinian backpackers in Equator has sparkled controversy in relation to how women are portrayed in the media. Two messages have become 'viral' (at least in the Spanish speaking world). One of them highlights how the press has portrayed the women as travelling 'alone', despite being two adult women travelling together. The message says something like this (apologies for poor translation)

'The backpackers killed in Ecuador , for the mass media, were " traveling alone " . They were two women, adult, traveling together. But however they were " alone " . Who was missing? They were two . But being born women, to be two was not enough . Not to be " alone " , something was missing ... Guess what'

Travel guides (in particular the lonely planet) would provide advice on 'solo women travellers' which are many times useful, although pretty sexist with warning such as 'Avoid crowds where testosterone is high: street protests, post–football match celebrations and the like'

While I appreciate the advice as someone who travels alone (really alone) a fair bit, I can see how controversial this is... Any thoughts?

BungoWomble Fri 04-Mar-16 18:42:25

I'd agree that two women travelling together are not alone, neither are 3 or 4... saying they are sounds like an excuse for male violence to me. On the other hand advice warning women against places and times where male violence is known to peak is not sexist, it's an acknowledgement of unpleasant facts. Facts that shouldn't exist, but, to varying degrees in varying cultures, do. Although the advice hardly stops male violence against women outside those times.

camaleon Sat 05-Mar-16 11:57:31

I guess the problem is 'accepting' that women travelling without a man has added/specific risk. Therefore, you are partly responsible for whatever outcome if things go wrong, in the same way as you would be if you take up a dangerous sport.

As a result, the media reports as relevant fact that they were 'travelling alone'. Lots of emphasis was made regarding this point, the fact that they were young, 'independent', etc.

camaleon Sat 05-Mar-16 12:06:40

And it also questions the expression 'women travelling alone' when referred to women travelling without a man

grimbletart Sat 05-Mar-16 13:29:31

Hmm. The woman who was with a man on a beach in Thailand not so long ago was not alone (because she was with a real person i.e. a man) - didn't stop the pair of them being murdered though…..

Bambambini Sat 05-Mar-16 13:58:01

Solo or alone is if you are on your own. In some parts of the world "alone" for a woman possibly means without a male and it can be very unusual and more dangerous.

Bambambini Sat 05-Mar-16 14:00:48

Grimblet - perhaps so but i've travelled in some countries with a woman and another time with a man. Same countries - totally different experiences.

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 09-Mar-16 02:59:22

There were two male surfers murdered quite recently. 'Independent' travel rather than 'alone' when it's men.

Actually I'm sure some countries feel safer as independent woma/en travelers. China was wonderful (two women) but I have heard reports from middle aged men which are quite different.

Atenco Wed 09-Mar-16 03:08:24

I doubt that the situation those poor women got into would have been easily escaped by a man

kickassangel Wed 09-Mar-16 04:00:00

I'd like to think that it meant they had arranged their own travel rather than being with an organized group, but I suspect the lack of a penis is also being factored in here.

WomanWithAltitude Wed 09-Mar-16 20:22:15

The description of them alone is wrong, as they were not alone. The reports are implying that a male companion 'counts' while a female one doesn't

It is true that there are countries where a woman may be safer if accompanied by a man, but that doesn't make it ok to erase other women by describing a woman as 'alone' when she is with another woman.

Women travellers do face different risks to men, and are more at risk in some areas. It's a sad fact, but one that I try not to let dictate what I do.

VestalVirgin Sun 13-Mar-16 19:37:27

There are countries where I just wouldn't go as woman, not even with a male companion. They hate me, so why give my money to their tourist industry?

However, I would obviously never blame any woman for doing what men take for granted and traveling alone. And some of the woman-hating countries do have a great landscape.

@MrsTerryPratchett: I can't imagine China is safer for women than for men. It is, however, a big country, so lots of different experiences are possible.

They also seem to be very invested in making the country seem safe to tourists, so how European you look might also factor in. I know someone who got his stuff stolen in China, and the police were being very friendly and helpful.

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