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Indy 500, Women, and Bigfoot – Part 1

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 27th, 2007

Duno Fisher Patrick Indy 500

From left, Milka Duno, Sarah Fisher, Lyn St. James, Billie Jean King and Danica Patrick pose for a photo at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 12, 2007. Duno, Fisher, and Patrick will race in the Indy 500.

On May 27, 2007, during what is the Memorial Day weekend in the United States of America, the start of a 500 mile race is undertaken at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, often called the “Brickyard.” For the first time ever, three women are racing in the Indy 500. Congratulations to them.

What has this got to do with Bigfoot? And women doing Bigfoot fieldwork?

The times they are a’changin’. It is more evidence, for starters, of the changing presence of women in another male-dominated field. I’ll spend “Indy 500, Women, and Bigfoot – Part 2″ dealing with the use of the sexuality of women to market NASCAR and the Indy 500, in spite of what the women are actually doing on the track. I’ll also look at and question whether this may be in the future of women within Bigfoot studies.

Danica Patrick Indy 500

But first let us return for a moment to the recent past issue about possible male chauvinism in Bigfoot studies.

The discussion of the role of women within Bigfoot studies rages on, with another rationalization for calling some comments “sexist” from the women who began this “smackdown” a week ago. What can we learn from comparing how women are treated at the Indy 500, with how they are treated within hominology? Is there any doubt that sexism exists everywhere, but do Sue Darroch and Robin Bellamy understand who is the enemy and who is not?

Blogger Sue Darroch has come back to this issue again on May 27, 2007, with her latest “Sunday Smackdown….Male Chauvinism Within Cryptozoology? Part Deux.” Her blog is another round of her rationalizations of why she has decided to completely turn my comments on Coast to Coast AM upside down. Darroch was the first to express publicly her reaction to my conversation with George Noory, repeating the Robin Bellamy “a bit chauvinistic” remark. Robin Bellamy says anew that “one remark was chauvinistic. I stand by that opinion.”

Darroch passes along the Bellamy’s remark freshly given that Bellamy “felt that one remark was a bit off the mark and sexist.”

Sue Darroch in this new blog never addresses the issue and content of my C2C comments, which were about supporting women in the Bigfoot field, pheromones, feelings of threatening potential and animal awareness, and were definitely not about hormones and (sexual) attraction, as noted in Darroch’s original blog.

Darroch appears to not realize the power of words. To say someone is “a bit chauvinistic” is like saying someone “only beats up women once in awhile.”

In this new blog, Sue Darroch edited and published part of an email originally sent to me by Bellamy. Bellamy was recently bestowed with the title of “Director of Cryptozoology” by the Paranormal Studies and Investigations Canada (PSICAN), apparently Darroch’s organization. Bellamy was called “Ms. Cryptozoologist” in a recent interview with Lisa Shiel. Bellamy reveals her major expertise is as a Mothman eyewitness in the 1970s and giving talks at the recent annual Mothman Festival. Responding to the question of “What do you think Bigfoots are?,” she falls back on the PSICAN group’s position: “My organization stands firmly behind the ‘I don’t know’ response to that question.” But she quickly calls to task other researchers’ theory about Mothman being a “giant owl” as “ridiculous and an insult.” Bellamy says she is “primarily a ghost investigator” since 2003. So, here, is the unedited entire email from Bellamy:

Hi Loren-

I was sorry to hear you were upset by my comment. I did not say you were a chauvanist (sic)–I simply said that one remark was chauvanistic (sic). I stand by that opinion.

I did find it remarkable that you were so enraged. We’re (Sue and I) such a small fish in the big pond I would hardly think our opinions would count so heavily. Perhaps if you had brought this to my attention rather than blogging it I could have had a chance to clarify that it was the STATEMENT not the person I objected to.

Im (sic) very VERY new in the crypto field. My role is primarily administrative at this point, at least until my book goes to press, and I rely on your work quite heavily as I learn. I will admit to having only a cursory interest in Bigfoot–Im (sic) more enthralled with birds and water “monsters” to be honest, with a possible study of cryptoentemology at some point. So all of my opinions” (sic) are based solely on the work of others; largely you.

If you and Sue Darroch want to battle this out, I’d like to be kept out of it. I admire you both very much, for different reasons, and it was never my intent to insult you. I wasn’t upset when I made the statement. I simply felt that one remark was a bit off the mark and sexist. Surely you’ve taken stronger criticism from better sources *grin*.

If you’d like to discuss further, I’m certainly available for that. Otherwise I consider this matter closed as far as I’m concerned.

Fondly,

Robin Bellamy

I do not know Bellamy, as they say, “from Eve.” We have exchanged a few friendly emails in the past about Mothman and the Mothman deaths in Point Pleasant. But it does not take a genius to speculate what most people would say if I ended an email with a “Fondly” from a male to female, in the midst of a “smackdown,” in which the words “chauvinistic” and “sexist” appear within that email. Why is it more acceptable for a woman to say “fondly” in this kind of email, as opposed to a man? What kind of double-standard does that belie in this exchange? Think about it.

Both Darroch and Bellamy seem to feel that by trying to paint me with what they are doing, they can merely “believe the issue to now be closed” because they say so.

But they have claimed that I overreacted, when I clearly say they are the ones that heard my call for women within fieldwork, which I was promoting, a la’ Jane Goodall, and turned those comments from me upside down. They turned my conversation with George Noory on its head, took my few sentences on pointing out that women might ultimately be the key to future contact with Bigfoot and turned it upside down, and called my comments “a bit chauvinistic.” They did this in a blog called “Sunday Smackdown.” It would be humorous if it wasn’t such a such a tragic comedy of how these two women wish to present themselves within cryptozoology.

In different ways, I am now being criticized for have written a blog of my reaction to Darroch’s first blogged “a bit chauvinistic” remark. Darroch has written: “Mr Coleman could have posted his concerns or asked for clarification on the original entry…Our email addresses are not exactly hidden either.”

Bellamy wrote: Perhaps if you had brought this to my attention rather than blogging it”

So who began this “smackdown” in the blogsphere anyway?

Okay, I get it. I am suppose to backchannel my reaction and questions to these women but they don’t have to, is that it? When they were chatting about George Noory and my talk about women in Bigfoot studies, it became just fine for them to blog to the world their reactions but I am not allowed to answer in the same fashion? Without asking me anything about the content of what they had, incorrectly, deemed “chauvinistic,” they blogged publicly their comments that issue forth images , which have been reinforced by them today, that my comments were sexist. My email addresses are anything but hidden on the internet too.

Frankly, I find the double-standard being proposed here between women and men shows a blind side to these women’s understanding of what is happening right in front of them.

For other women’s reactions to this exchange, please see:

Melissa M. Hovey’s The Search for Bigfoot: “Is Loren Coleman a Chauvinist?”

Lisa Shiel’s Bigfoot Quest: “Loren Coleman is not a Chauvinist”

Lesley G’s Debris Field: “Loren Coleman is NOT a Chauvinist”

For more direct comments on sexuality and Bigfoot fieldworkers who happen to be female, see “Part 2″ of this discussion.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


9 Responses to “Indy 500, Women, and Bigfoot – Part 1”

  1. ddh1969 responds:

    I want so much to ramble on about this subject but no one ever really notices my replies anyway…so I’ll just spare myself from gushing too much.

    Women are always going to see this hill they have to climb to do anything. Most of that hill will be of their own creation. Don’t put objects in your way that aren’t there. there will plenty that are. Just follow your passion and fight the GOOD fight. Pick and choose your battles wisely.

  2. Rick Noll responds:

    If men continue to compare themselevs with women and visa versa there will always be a problem somewhere in the mix. What is better, apples or oranges? Which lasts longer in the peel? What can be used in more recipes? Which is better for you? Which tastes better? Which do we have more of? Which is more important to the world at large? Which see’s more Bigfoot activity? Are they not both fruit?

  3. fuzzy responds:

    Good grief!

  4. Lesley responds:

    I read Darroch’s comments on her blog earlier and I don’t get the distinction she is trying to make between sounding chauvinistic and being a chauvinist. To me saying someone sounds a bit chauvinistic is saying that person is acting like a chauvinistic. If I say someone sounds a bit stupid, they are going to be offended by that and rightly so IMO.

    I also am still unclear about why Bellamy thought it sounded a bit chauvinistic. She never really explains that.

  5. springheeledjack responds:

    Sounds like Bellamy is backtracking and trying to dodge a bullet by pulling out from the remark.

    Either way, I wouldn’t stay up late nights worrying about this one.

    On this site, I have noticed neither animosity nor condescension toward female interests in these subjects…it does seem by and large that many more men than women are into this field and have written books on it, but it does not mean that it is chauvanism or that this is some big-ole-cryptozoology-boy’s-club…

    cripes we need all the people we can looking into this stuff and it has nothing to do with gender.

    or did I just step on a big-ole landmine…:)

  6. DWA responds:

    springheeledjack: if you stepped on a landmine, I wouldn’t worry about the puff it makes.

    Here it is:

    1. Women have sex appeal; men have a hardwired response to it; women are going to use it. So what? Vive la difference and all that.

    2. Women can’t complain when the response doesn’t go the way they wanted, any more than we can when things don’t go the way we wanted. Big world, all kinds of personalities in it. You pays your money and you takes your chances.

    3. There are big fat double standards all over the place. (Hint, ladies: we’ll have true equality when we split dating and divorce costs.)

    But no it’s not tough being a guy. I love it. Mainly because I don’t waste time complaining about it.

  7. robin_bellamy responds:

    Thank you, Leslie, for asking why I found it such. I will explain in a moment but first I want to address this labeling issue. Calling someone a chauvanist implies that person has an ongoing attitude. That the person intentionally holds grudges regarding sex. I don’t and did not ever think Loren intended his remark to be chaunvanistic. I simply found the remark to be. I don’t think HE is a chauvanist.

    As for why I thought it was? I believe that all researchers have something to add, regardless of sex. I don’t think that women as a gender are any better or worse in the field. There is absolutely no evidence that bigfoot would find a woman “more attractive and less threatening” than a man. There is no evidence that bigfoot is sensitive to human phermones. Heck there isnt any evidence that some bigfoot might be homosexual! Would a homosexual bigfoot find a woman more attractive and less threatening? It’s a casual gender bias that I found a BIT chauvanistic. I wasn’t offended. I didnt have kittens over it. I mentioned it to a colleague who agreed. Where she took it from there is not my doing in any way.

    Frankly I find this whole hoopla ridiculous and well below both Sue and Loren. Both are valuable to the field. They should be spending more time and energy on something that contributes to the study, not the arguement.

    As for the backpeddling comment; I have been put in an uncomfortable position. I have learned from it. I have attempted to make ammends all around. If that is backpeddling so be it. I thought it was appropriate.

    It would be nice if all researchers could get back to the research.

  8. Tengu responds:

    Ddh is right, many women create their own problems.

    I’m a member of the Unfair sex myself (big admission) though like our own dear Patty, a very unfeminine one. Pretty much everything I do is male orientated.

    Men, I find do not judge me on this, but my female friends have been rather…

    I don’t like women much, for they can be very nasty indeed.

    One of my activities is Bushcraft and like all these things these days there is a lot of talk on how to get women involved.

    I think its a waste of time, if women want to do things, they will get involved. Nor will they be “so called” intimidated by men. (real women are fearless).

  9. Kathy Strain responds:

    In no attempt to be politically correct, it would be nice if some of the commenters here would use the term “some” in front of the word “women” as not all women feel or do the same things. Just as I would never state that just because a few men who have been bigfoot hunting with me ended up crying in fear that all men behave that way, not all women feel there is a hill to overcome or use sex as a tool. :-)

    I know a lot of women researchers who are strong and fearless; and a few women who are whiny and a pain in the ass. I don’t think that has anything to do with bigfoot…it’s just who they are.



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