'Unlikely Hikers' Is The Inclusive Instagram Account Showing Everybody Can Enjoy The Great Outdoors

'Exclusion isn’t always verbal.'

14/07/2017 09:41

Getting out and about in the great outdoors can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of size, race, sexuality or ability.

Enter the inclusive Instagram account @UnlikelyHikers, which seeks to counteract the narrow image of outdoor adventurers you often find in magazines and advertising.

The account was set up by Jenny Bruso, a “self-identified fat, femme, queer, writer and former indoor kid” from Portland, Oregon.

“Unlikely Hiker encompasses anyone who doesn’t fit the standard image of the outdoorsperson,” Bruso explains on her website.

“Bigger body types, people of colour, queer, trans, gender nonconforming folks, differently-abled people and so on. The people you don’t see in outdoorsy media.” 

Bruso says the Instagram account is supposed to be “ironic, tongue-in-cheek and reclamatory.”

“There is nothing ‘unlikely’ about wanting to enjoy and explore nature, it’s one of the most natural things any of us can want to do,” she says.

“Yes, the outdoors and public lands belong to all of us and sure, no one is getting a handwritten invitation to our National Parks and trailheads, but exclusion isn’t always verbal. A lot of the time, it’s about representation. Representation matters! Who is being targeted for outdoor recreation? Who has a seemingly natural sense of access?”

Bruso was inspired to start the account after feeling frustrated by the lack of diversity in outdoors media.

“I was so tired of seeing the same kind of person on seemingly every social media-based outdoors community. White, thin, ‘fit’ and straight-looking. Often, moneyed (read: top-of-the-line gear). Often, a man. The typical woman featured fits an even narrower set of guidelines. That isn’t a knock at anyone who fits that, but it’s a reality that leaves the rest of us noticeably out of place,” she says.

She encourages members of the public to submit images of themselves for the page using the hashtag #unlikelyhikers.  

Check out some of the wonderful images and stories below or follow @UnlikelyHikers on Instagram.

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