Dave Peros

Dangers of the Names Given to Flies and Their Connection to Sexual Violence

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Frankly, I hope the title I gave to this thread has grabbed your attention because, well, that is what I intended. I came upon this post on Moldy Chum, a website some of you may be familiar with, which does a great job of compiling a wide range of "stuff" related to fly fishing, specifically, and sometimes to fishing, in general.

I have simply copied and pasted the column here and look forward to hearing what folks think; I encourage you to let the words settle a bit before responding and I am not going to offer up my opinion or feelings other than to say I am confused and emotionally exhausted after reading these words and just wondering where I fit in if I simply say, "I just don't care."

P.S. - If Tim S. or any of the Moderators believe this doesn't fit here or even belong on SOL, I completely understand if it is removed.

 

Because Our Words Matter – Sexual Violence and the Fly Fishing Industry


This is a saltwater fly. It has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog post.

I’m sitting here at my keyboard, paralyzed. My hands trembling. Heart pounding. Squinting at the monitor through tears. I’ve written hundreds of posts for the Oregon Fly Fishing Blog, but this is the highest stakes article I’ve ever had the courage to write. And that’s odd, because it shouldn’t require courage to write this, but somehow I know that writing about this topic involves breaking a taboo. The taboo of calling out my fellow anglers and our industry for inexcusable behavior.

Here goes.

Sex Dungeon.

Read the words aloud, please. Now tell me what the words mean.

I know it is a fly name. Anyone who fishes for trout with streamers knows what it is, but I want you to stop for a minute, think, and tell me what the words mean. Do you think the words are funny?

What do you think goes on in dungeons?

I’d be willing to bet that most people know that bad things happen in dungeons, and …. sex dungeons?

Let’s step back for a minute and try a game of imagine if 

Imagine you are a grandpa, sitting at your fly bench, with your seven-year-old granddaughter standing beside you, watching how you blend materials and craft your masterpiece streamer fly.

“What’s that fly called, Grandpa?” She asks.

“This is a Sex Dungeon,” you answer.

“What’s a Sex Dungeon?” She asks.

How will you answer her? Will you lie? Will you change the subject. Will you laugh it off?

Are you still with me here? Are you still reading? Have you dismissed me and this blog post as over-reaction to harmless locker-room banter?

If so, you are part of the problem, and you need to change your behavior because the words aren’t harmless. This kind of talk normalizes sexual violence. Harsh words? Yes. True? Yes.

The demographic realities of fly fishing say that if you are reading this blog, you probably identify as male. Could gender influence a person’s perceptions?  What if you were a grandma instead of a grandpa?

“Grandma, look at this pretty fly that Grandpa tied for me!”

“Why, that is a beautiful fly,” you answer. “What is it called?”

“It’s a Pole Dancer, Grandma. What’s a Pole Dancer?” Your granddaughter asks. “Grandpa just laughed and said I should go ask you.”

How do you feel, Grandma? Is this harmless?

Let’s play Imagine if again.

Imagine that you are a mid-twenties male, out in the drift boat with two male friends, floating down the river one fine autumn afternoon. The trout are biting and you’re having a great time with your buddies, when someone says, “I think I’ll try a Pearl Necklace.”

Do you think anyone will laugh? Do you imagine any one of you will say anything about the meaning of the phrase? Perhaps you think it is OK to use some of these names because they are double entendres and the real meanings can be debated?

dou·ble en·ten·dre
noun
A word or phrase open to two interpretations, one of which is usually risqué or indecent.

Just because it is a double entendre doesn’t make it OK. The language serves to endorse and coddle and perpetuate a culture of male sexual dominance.

Excuse me. I’m under the impression that the fly fishing industry is making a determined effort to recruit women and children as fly fishers. Is this how we plan on making them feel welcome?

I’m not an expert. I’m not even a great writer, and I have no credentials to have researched these issues. But I know how I feel when I see these fly names. I know the meaning behind the names. They are intended to catch the consumer’s attention. They are meant to sell a product to a consumer that is usually a white male.

But the words hurt everyone, regardless of gender. The words convey the approval of sexual dominance and violence in our society.

Let’s play Imagine if again. Pretend for a moment that you’re a female who is a professional fishing guide with two male clients. You are packing up after a riverside lunch, getting ready to resume the afternoon’s fishing. One of your clients passes you their fly box and begins telling you about the contents. “That top row is filled with Stacked Blondes. Next row down is loaded with my Barely Legals.
And the last three rows hold my Lap DancersT & A Bunkers, and Bottoms Up.”

In case you didn’t know, the English language dictionary says this.

T&A
in American English
noun
Informal
Entertainment, as TV programs or movies, characterized by the deliberately titillating display of the female form.

Remember, you are the female guide, hired by two male clients. How do you feel about these fly names? How do you feel about your clients?

Or more to the point, how do you feel about your fly fishing industry that allows this to go on? These fly names are not new. The fact that the industry hasn’t had the guts or the courage or the smarts to put a stop to this bull**** says something.

Some people will claim it says that the industry is OK with this. Others will claim that this is only a tiny little naughtiness. And certainly some people will say that I’m making a fuss where none is warranted.

Well, it isn’t a little transgression, and it isn’t just naughty. These names and associated visual images don’t belong in a box of fishing flies. These fly names reflect a culture of male dominance that expects superiority in all things, sex included.

And if this is a problem, then who is to blame?

Here’s the thing about these little flies, all of them sitting so innocently in their fly bins in shops and in people’s fly boxes and fly fishing vests and boat bags and strung on their fly rods: No one and everyone is responsible. It is you and it is me and it is every one of our fly fishing buddies; it is all anglers of all genders. Every one of us who has heard or seen these fly names and not spoken up is to blame.

I’m pissed at every one of my friends who has never stood up to this issue.

I’m pissed at myself, and I’m embarrassed that I’ve been too cautious to take a stand on this issue before now.

I’m pissed at every professional fly fishing guide, regardless of gender, for not taking a stand on this.

I find it difficult to understand the silence in the fly fishing industry on matters like this. I’ve been searching the Internet for a week, trying to find anyone who has called attention to the connection between the language we use and tacit approval of sexual violence.

Instead, I found articulate revelations by female fishing guides who are constantly on their guard to avoid situations where they might be vulnerable to male dominance (verbal and physical).

It makes sense. It makes perfect sense.

When female fly fishing guides work for male clients who live in a world populated by Stacked Blonde Pole Dancers who would love to get a Pearl Necklace in their Sex Dungeon, well, what else would you expect?

I’m done. No apologies.

Jay Nicholas, February 22, 2021.

P. S. When I finished writing this blog, I could not find a category that seemed to fit the content. So I listed it under Fly Fishing Books, Fly Fishing Glossary, Fly Fishing Travel, and Fly Tying.  I decided not to use the category Fly Fishing Porn; that category has always bothered me.

P. P. S. Oh heck, maybe we men should all go out and grab ‘em by the *****. A ***** is just a little cat, you know.

 
Edited by TimS
links removed

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Never ever listen to a Guns n' Roses song.....or Van Halen for that matter.

C'mon Dave ......give us a break.   

Remember .....some of us are Massholes.

Let's not take the fun out of our sport.

If you feel the need to dance around risque issues with your kids or others

so be it.   I just don't feel its really that big a deal.

JMHO.  Peace.  Fly

 

Edited by flylikabird

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How many of you know  what a Steely Dan is?  It's from Burrough's book Naked Lunch.  5 letters  sort of sounds like the hobbit, Bilbo.  How many of you have fished a Copper John, the very popular nymph?  Get the play, there?  Years ago, I belonged to a Christian Fly Fishing Forum with guys down south that  were both good fishers of smallies and big tailwater browns, but of men, also. They cut me some  slack where exegesis was concerned, and it was a pleasure to go down to NC and Tenn. and fish with them. I had many lively, but polite conversations, but when these fly names started to appear, they were a little upset. Not only that, but they'd been tying stuff like it before it was popularized.  Now , Southern Baptists are labeled misogynists, for one thing, but these guys were truly concerned for their young daughters getting into the sport.  Sure doesn't offend many old fat guys, which describes the majority of fly fishers.  So, I don't care, but there are other viewpoints, though this one is too easily charged up politically and will probably end up in an  insult fest.  

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48 mins ago, LowEnd said:

Imagine a world where we weren’t so worried about things that might be sensitive to a few folks.

Washington foot ball team?

Jeep Grand Nothing?

Even the Muppet Show will have a warning saying it is offensive stereotypical.

 

I raised 3 daughters have a grandson on the way. I feel in no way that any of these fly names are a danger or threat to anyone.

If it’s a problem for some then just buy another fly or make up a new name.

 

Rant over, I have to change the hooks on my deadly dicks!

Be very carefull

Those dicks can be very deadly.

They are best performing on Bottom Up with Barely Legal and Stacked Blondes

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Albie Whore, Woolly Bugger, Pole Dancer, Kinky Muddler, ....

 

I had eye surgery a few hours ago. Tomorrow, when I can see more easily, I'll post an opinion, and probably move this to Political Graffiti.

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I know the names are in good fun but I have specifically avoided buying some of the flies because I never want to answer the question of what the name of the fly is if asked by either of my young daughters.  At best the names are juvenile.  And at worst who knows?  I know that if I were to hire a guide and he said to my wife or daughters “that two bit hooker is the best” Or “that panty dropper never fails” and snickers I’d be pretty pissed. If he asks if they can give him a meat whistle I’d probably lay him out right there. I’m not sure how I feel about butt monkey yet. I wonder if any of these amazing tyers that get credit for these awesome flies ever regret the names they’ve given them.  I wonder if any of them have daughters now and embarrassed by some of the names.

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1 hour ago, Drew C. said:

There’s the albie whore...

 

I think you meant to say albie sex worker.

 

which is a perfectly fine and socially acceptable profession now.

 

you all just need to do what I do and forget what everythings called in the first place. 

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This is a good example of what types of minds colleges are cranking out today. We'll forgo teaching you marketable skills because the world needs more people policing the words and behaviors of others..

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Maybe find something else in the box that works? White male /dominance guilt you feel buddy. I double checked-  yes, Oregon , figures.  The Moldy Cum part was funny though..

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