Comedian and actor W.C. Fields famously mused, “Marry an outdoorswoman. Then if you throw her out into the yard on a cold night, she can still survive.”

This Women’s History Month, however, women who recreate outdoors have been deemed insufficiently female for displaying so-called “tomboy” tendencies. Vile attacks were lobbed at outdoor influencer and avid noodler Hannah Barron, who boasts millions of followers across social media. One X user said Barron is “filth” for wrangling catfish and boasting a southern drawl. Another commenter claimed outdoorsy “tomboys” such as Barron suffer from mental illness and gender confusion.

As an avid outdoorswoman who, like Barron, also fishes and hunts, I take great offense to this wildly inaccurate caricature.

Much to the chagrin of naysayers, outdoorsy women are well-adjusted, psychologically normal adult females. Women who enjoy fishing, hunting, gardening, camping, or farming boast more self-confidence than their non-outdoorsy counterparts. Ladies partaking in outdoor activities such as fishing generally report better mental health and well-being than their non-outdoorsy counterparts.

In fact, it’s well known that women who overcome gender-based constraints in outdoor recreation exhibit more self-confidence, self-worth, empowerment, and healthier body images. One study also found that this increase in self-confidence enabled women “to develop a belief in their ability to attain and excel in leadership roles.”

While outdoor activities are traditionally perceived as masculine, women have been active participants since the dawn of time. A paper published last summer, bolstered by New York Times coverage, revealed that women in hunter-gatherer societies were primarily responsible for hunting over men. It found, “In societies where hunting is considered the most important subsistence activity, women actively participated in hunting 100% of the time.”

More recently, women comprised a growing share of new anglers, hunters, and gun owners in the United States. Should they have their femininity questioned too? On the contrary.

Femininity isn’t confined to narrow, misguided stereotypes that downplay how multidimensional women are. In my near-decade of working in the outdoor industry, I’ve met and befriended countless women who are mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters. Some are accomplished fishing guides or TV hosts, others are influencers who homestead and raise big families. They lead outdoor lifestyles but are very secure in their womanhood. They also wear dresses, put on makeup, and have hobbies outside of fishing, hunting, and shooting sports.

My father instilled a love of the outdoors in me from an early age, not due to insecurity or a desire to make a man out of me. On the contrary. He wanted me to be empowered, confident, resourceful, and self-reliant. As I’ve gotten older, time in the Great Outdoors has bolstered my feminine side — not tempered it. Being one with Mother Nature allows me to channel femininity and return to some semblance of our hunter-gatherer roots.

Femininity is what we, as women, make it. Women have the freedom to spend time outdoors, play sports, work, preside over home life, or do a combination of these. Who is to tell us we can’t?

Womanhood isn’t prancing around in makeup, singing about hook-ups, and popping pills, nor is it just a fantasy where we’re only fetishized as sexual objects baking sourdough bread in revealing clothes. Womanly virtue is firmly in our DNA, and it can’t be taken away from us.

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, remember this: Outdoorsy women aren’t the problem or a danger to femininity. Chase after bigger fish: Those actively erasing and displacing us from existence legally, culturally, and politically.