‘Eat it’

Record-setting polar explorer, 16, hits back at men who say she belongs in the kitchen

Jade Hameister. (Facebook)

At 16 years old, Australian explorer Jade Hameister is the youngest person to ever complete the polar hat-trick by reaching the North and South Poles and crossing Greenland, but even she has to deal with loudmouth critics who have opined that her place is in the kitchen. In 2016, after the then-14-year-old become the youngest person to ski to the North Pole from outside the last degree of latitude (a distance of about 60 miles), she gave a TEDx talk in Melbourne in which she encouraged young women to embrace an adventurous mindset, and to resist societal pressures that discourage them from their ambitions. Male YouTube commenters took offense to Hameister’s message, as users flooded the page with the phrase, “Make me a sandwich,” an internet meme that mocks women for having ambitions aside from making food for a man.

After Hameister’s recent record-setting descent to the South Pole, the teenager offered a biting response to her critics with a Facebook post in which she posed alongside the Ceremonial South Pole flags while carrying a sandwich on a plate.

“I skied back to the Pole again … to take this photo for all those men who commented ‘Make me a sandwich’ on my TEDX Talk,” she wrote. “I made you a sandwich (ham & cheese), now ski 37 days and 600km to the South Pole and you can eat it xx.”

Poking fun at internet trolls aside, Hameister also spoke with ABC Radio Melbourne’s Jon Faine about the difficulties, and pleasures, of her journey.

“It’ll be tough sitting in a classroom,” she said. “I’m not really fussed about the records as much as they’re cool to have. For me it’s just the experience and the environment that no one else really gets to see.”

She added that normally she likes to tune out the pain and fatigue of the journey by listening to music, but that her music player broke down on just the ninth day of her trip south.

“I had 28 days, almost 300 hours, of just the voice in my head and that was probably one of the hardest parts of the trip because I didn’t have that distraction,” Hameister recalled. “I think when you’re really struggling there’s a lot of negative messages that your head is telling you and that can make it really hard.”

A documentary of her journey to the South Pole from National Geographic is slated to be released later this year.

Watch Hameister’s Tedx Talk below.

Read the full story at ABC Australia.

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