In just 48 hours, Valentine Thomas gained more than 10,000 followers on Instagram, and that was only the latest development in her soaring social media popularity. The 28-year-old Canadian woman, who recently quit her job in finance to become a full-time spearfisher, said that she found the experience overwhelming at first but is now glad to have become a voice for sustainable fishing.

“Society is used to buying (fish) at the grocery shop — you don’t see blood,” Thomas told the Toronto Sun. “I think most of the population doesn’t relate to the fact that the food has to be killed before it needs to look pretty in its little box.”

Thomas told Buzzfeed that she was initially flattered by her social media fame but has since tried to use it to advocate for conservation and spearfishing.

“I really encourage sustainable eating and spearfishing is definitely one of its purest forms in my opinion,” she said. “You catch exactly what you want to eat and there is no ‘collateral damages’ to it.”

Often shown in a bikini or diving suit with a speargun in hand, Thomas is a reminder that women are increasingly becoming interested in the outdoors, especially fishing or hunting. In fact, many industry experts say that there are now more new female hunters than male hunters. This led to a strange new phenomenon that some call “huntress shaming,” whereby anti-hunting advocates target women hunters.

In April, British comedian Ricky Gervais ignited a firestorm of debate when he called an American hunter a killer after sharing photos of her posing next to a giraffe. In that case, as in many others, some have noticed that the vitriol directed toward women hunters was much more scathing than for men who hunt. Thomas, who had also been insulted and belittled online for fishing, called the trend pure sexism.

“It’s pretty much what every woman has to deal with when you post anything and when you have so much courage on the Internet,” she told the Sun.

She said dealing with such criticism is a small price to pay if she can convince more women to join the sport.

“It is a men’s world, but I’m hoping that being a woman will only help in reaching even more people,” she said.

You can see a video of Thomas encountering a whale shark during a 2012 trip below.

Images from Instagram

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8 thoughts on ““Spearfishing Huntress” Stirs Debate over Spearfishing

  1. This is, of course, baloney of the purest ray serene. It’s not “sexism” to shame ANYONE who kills a leopard or a giraffe. If this person is fishing legally and taking her legal limit of fish or less, no “shaming” is in order, and to conflate that will killing a leopard or a giraffe is no more than a lie.

    1. Hogwash. Just because you don’t like hunting doesn’t mean that the anti’s (like you) targeting women more vehemently, isn’t true. At some point, one of you will question how much fish can one person eat and start attacking her and trying to shame her.

  2. I don’t know why we have to confuse what this lady is doing by terming it “spearfishing”. Look at what she wears–I cannot believe that in the throes of “landing the big one” that the little scraps of material covering her mammary glands do not, ahem, become disarranged, as, after all, they are intended to do.

    This woman has joined an increasingly crowded field of highly attractive women who are using their sex appeal and beauty as tools to get endorsements from outdoors gear manuacturers and retailers. In the case of this lady, she has “landed” a beaut of an idea. I am sure photos of her scantily clad carressing a spear gun get millions of views.

    I don’t care about this stuff, but please, don’t get all caught up in calling this lady a “huntress”. She is an offshoot of the sex trade entrepreneur. You’re always going to get guys to look, bless their hearts, and if they look, they may buy– a wet suit, or a spear gun, or a fishing trip. I don’t mind the looking, my guy loves to look, and to be honest, if he didn’t like girls, he wouldn’t like me nearly so well, and that would make me very sad. But I am finding that I am becoming increasingly weary with how guys get cheated. For nothing but the ability to view a photo, or a video, they’re supposed to open their wallet and spend substantial amounts of cash, over and over. that, I don’t like at all.

    1. The same could be said for marriage; guys cotinuing to pay for everything until they die. Any way..Hey, good,for her. She’s uses what she has to make a few bucks. No harm, no foul. She could be working in a strip club but, this is what she does. I don’t see a problem.

  3. Hooray for Ms. Thomas! I applaud her efforts not only to enjoy this sport, but to educate others and to open the door to other women. Those that support outdoor sports need to involve everyone possible. Women shape public attitudes, vote in very large numbers, educate our young and wield significant economic power. Their interest and involvement in hunting, fishing, shooting, diving, and other traditionally male pursuits should be encouraged and given its due respect.

  4. Way to go Ms. Thomas. My wife and I have been fishing and hunting together since 1958. We both love it and especially enjoy eating our kill. The more women that hunt and fish, the better.

  5. Yep….that would work. She said she’s gotten marriage proposals……I’m sure she’s looking over the bank statements and net worth of all those proposals as she should be. And never sign a pre-nup sweet thing!

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