'Deceitful, paternalistic and preachy': Women's fury at travel guide that advises singles to wear fake wedding bands
Travel guides frequently offer more than just tips on where to go and how to get there for globetrotters eager to blend in to their environments.
But a recent tip on how to avoid harassment when abroad has sparked controversy in Canada where a brochure has been published suggesting women should lie about their marital status.
A governmental pamphlet is advising single female travellers to wear a fake wedding ring in order to deter potential suitors.
Faking it: Her Own Way is a Canadian travel guide that advises single women to wear a fake ring if they're travelling to avoid running into problems with men
Among the opinions circulating are those that deem the suggestion sensible and those who believe it is somewhat chauvinist.
Her Own Way: A Women's Safe Travel Guide was first published in 2000 with tips on how to cope with sexual harassment but the 2011 version has expanded its list of tricks to include lying about marital status as well. 'Wear a (fake) wedding ring,' it reads.
'Also carry a photo of your husband (or an imaginary one), which you can show to persistent suitors. Being seen as married will lower your profile and stave off uninvited advances.'
While many think that the travel brochure does well to suggest such a foil, some see the advice as 'deceitful, paternalistic and preachy', according to OpenFile Toronto reporter, Carol Tompson.
The Canadian travel guide has been called 'deceitful and preachy'
Foreign Affairs spokesman Jean-Bruno Villeneuve told the Huffington Post Canada that the strategy was conceived after 'extensive consultations with dozens of experienced women travellers, missions abroad, consular case management officers and travel experts.'
To which he also added that the advice was situation-specific, rather than country-specific.
While the Canadian publication is
certainly not the first to flag up the potential issues women travelling
alone can encounter – travel websites often contain such information-
it is the first official document to be released by authorities in
In Australia a similar brochure
entitled Traveling Women recommends being extra careful after dark and
being wary of starting relationships when overseas.
Ott, a travel writer and photographer, has a general rule by which she
suggests all female travellers abide to stay out of trouble. 'If you
don't unwanted attention then follow the rituals and customs of the
country you're in,' she suggests.
'Especially in countries in the Middle East…lots of countries in Asia. Be respectful of that country. Look around and see what other local women are wearing and granted you don't have to wear their traditional dress but notice, are their shoulders covered
'Are they wearing hats Are their ankles covered Are they wearing flip flops And try to be really respectful of that. You can make it much worse or potentially more dangerous for you if you think you can dress the way you do at home.'