By the way: I never answered the original question. Were you naive or stupid?
Neither. You're not naive and you're not stupid. You made a bad decision, and nobody else is to blame. Certainly don't pin it on men. Men are just wandering fools....like women. They say stupid things and make bad decisions. We are all responsible for our own decisions, regardless of who gave the advice.
I can't believe you brought out the gender card. Good grief. If you really believe that you are equal to a man then you wouldn't need to bring up gender in the first place.
You're either a good photographer or not. There's absolutely nothing about a man that would make him a better photographer than a woman, but the fact that you are thinking on the gender issue shows insecurity (in my opinion). Clearly you are concerned what the men around you think (and perhaps you are assuming what they think).
Stupid or naive?
Nope. Neither one. It might go much deeper.
And I'm surprised your friends in the camera club are so eager to loan you their equipment. Dirt and WD40 are both kind of bad for electronics.
I'm not imaging the male/female thing - some time ago, I was hiking with my husband carrying my camera (long lens). He was far ahead & I said to the couple coming the other way "he is a lot fitter than I am!".
The man looked at my camera and said - "yes - and he has got you carrying his camera as well!"
I just stood there stunned - couldn't believe what I had heard!
As a photographer, I am as good and better than many in my Club and have had acceptances in Internationals & other external competitions.
re the Loan - the photog went to the event with me- so knows how bad it was.
Agreed about insecurity - I think the younger women today are a lot more self confident than I am.
Men do seem better at b...****ting than women.....and I tend often to say nothing rather than publicly disagree.
Product of my age & upbringing I'm afraid...though I am working on it!