Gender Bias in Iditarod Reporting — Seen Through Tarot

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you probably know that I’m totally obsessed with this year’s Iditarod — and one of the things that really puzzles me is how the media counts Aliy Zirkle out, and consistently focuses on the male frontrunners — even though she’s led the race at certain points and has been in the top four for several days (and is now running in a very close 2nd place–go Aliy!). So, we’ve established my bias, lol.

To calm my nerves, I decided today to ask the cards, what does the media think about male and female mushers — and what are male and female mushers really like? Let’s compare.

Six of Pentacles--Reversed!So for male mushers, what does the media think? I pulled the reversed Six of Pentacles. The media doesn’t see these guys as generous — they’d rather view this as a testosterone-laced (no bias from me here, lol) fight to the end. But in fact, if you follow the race, you know this is a myth–mushers (male and female) can and do help each other out, all the time, and camaraderie is more the rule than competition (not that these guys aren’t competitive as well).

Three of Pentacles--ReversedWhat does the media think of female mushers? I pulled the reversed Three of Pentacles (lots of reversals today). I interpret this as meaning that the media doesn’t view women mushers as true team players — but more as wild cards, rogues who are not playing along with the picture that reporters are trying to paint. (Again, no bias from me here, right? Take what I’m saying with a grain of salt.)

It’s interesting that both cards came up as reversed pentacles–reporters may rightly be noting that this isn’t a high income profession.

What are male and female mushers REALLY like? For both I pulled sword cards — telling me that mushers of both sexes are in their heads, thinking and strategizing, far more than the media reports. This is not just a “tough it out” race, it’s a “think it out” race. And that’s something I think few of us really truly understand. Survival in Alaska’s wilderness, no matter what your gender, means THINKING on your feet.

Knight of Swords--Reversed!But to specifics: for men I pulled the reversed Knight of Swords. These guys aren’t rushing into action as fast as we think. The energy is there, and they do view this to some extent as a fight to the finish (that’s why the Knight has armor on), but there is so much more to it than that. And the more is what I said above: mushers are in their heads, trying to make good strategic decisions, and often trying to decide when to stop and rest and for how long. Reporters don’t report much on rest, but it’s when and how you rest that often determines if you win the race.

For women I accidentally pulled two cards (that’s not bias, just something that often happens to me when I’m in a hurry). I pulled the Eight of Swords and the reversed Eight of Wands. So first of all, that Eight of Wands reversed tells me the same thing is true for the women as the men — this race isn’t all about moving fast all the time, even though that’s the part we focus on in the news. The Eight of Swords? Well, that’s very interesting–the classic card of being trapped but having it totally in your capacity to free yourself. Women are hemmed in by stereotypes — but not really, because it sure isn’t stopping them, is it? lol. Finally, these are both eight cards — and I think of eight as a number that has to do with being organized, orderly, and making a plan. Again — thinking, strategizing. Eight of SwordsEight of Wands--reversed!

So my conclusion? Though the Iditarod is portrayed as “who can be the toughest/fastest” kind of competition, that’s not what it truly is — for mushers of either sex. What the Iditarod really is, is a test of your survival skills and ability to think and plan ahead. It’s not about running hell for leather — it’s about strategizing and making good choices. Lots of life lessons there — but I’ll let you figure those out for yourself. 🙂


    1. Thank you! I am relatively new to tarot compared to some readers out there who have been doing it for years…I started in 2010 and then started doing readings for others just last year. I am pretty good with symbols, though (because of a background in literature), so that helps a lot.


      1. Thanks! I haven’t been posting a lot lately because I have been distracted writing a book–but hope to be back to regular posting soon. I’m so glad you like the blog.


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