The gendered "nature" of the urban outdoors: Women negotiating fear of violence

Jennifer K. Wesely, Emily Gaarder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Women who participate in outdoor recreational activities reap many physical and emotional benefits from their experiences. However, gender-related feelings of objectification, vulnerability, and fear in this space limit women's participation. In this study, the authors investigate how women pursue their enjoyment of urban outdoor recreation at South Mountain Park in Phoenix, Arizona, despite their perceptions and experiences related to fear of violence. Through surveys and interviews with women who recreate at South Mountain, the authors look at the ways the women cope with their fear using various strategies. This study reveals the gender-related conflicts that persist for participants, who grapple with their appreciation of uncompromised nature and their need to feel safe in this environment. Ultimately, they illustrate how an ongoing negotiation exists for the women as the authors balance choices and concerns related to their outdoor recreation and what aspects of surveillance and control they consider, reject, or accept.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)645-663
Number of pages19
JournalGender and Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Fear
  • Gender
  • Outdoors
  • Urban
  • Violence
  • Women


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