Why I Post Pictures of Women

The best thing about this post is that it’s illustrated with tons of kick-ass chicks having fun climbing. Like this lady.

Roberta Resende Loureiro on Bam Bam 7c, by flickr user Ricardo Cosme.

Or women on the rock just having fun, like this gal.

Greta, climbing in her Halloween costume. By flickr user _Tawcan.

So, why do I only mostly post pictures of girls?

It’s nice to see men doing impressive fitness things, but it doesn’t seem relevant or attainable to me. Women and men have very different physical builds and capabilities. In the same way that I can watch an olympic gymnast or a ballet dancer–and appreciate the beauty or strength of what they do without wanting to become like them–I can watch men climb and not get particularly pysched or inspired.

How many guys do you know who can bust out a pull-up at will, whether or not they’re in shape? If you’re a woman who wants to be able to do pull-ups, what’s more inspiring, this, or this?

Laura Griffiths in Stony Point, CA. Photo by flickr user Susanica.

There’s a gender disparity in the climbing media. Consider the number of ground breaking ascents (for males) that make it onto film vs. the number of ground breaking ascents (for females) that make it onto film, or the quality of the resulting films*. I’m not trying to point a finger here–on many levels, I get why this disparity exists. There are more men who climb than women. More men than women make first ascents, and most hard routes or problems women climb have pre-existing video of men doing the same climb. It’s not surprising that sometimes the ladies don’t get as much camera time as the men, especially outside.

Don’t get me wrong. I love watching climbing videos, even the one with guys. I can still observe technique and get inspired to climb harder.

But becoming inspired by a movie or a picture is about so much more than just being impressed or fascinated. It’s about feeling excited and feeling a connection, a glimmer of possibility that stays with you all day, until you hit the gym. The glimmer grows into a resolve that helps you bang out the last set of reps or make the sketchy clip or pull past the crappy hold. And for me, watching other women climb will always make a brighter, longer-lasting spark of inspiration, even if the woman in question is climbing on something that hundreds of men can do as a warm-up.

Jess at Norwa, by flickr user Daniel Pertovt.

(All images in this post are CC-liscenced images by users on flickr. The featured photographers have many other awesome climbing photos–you should check them out!)  

*I am in the process of collecting and analyzing quantitative data about the representation of men and women in the climbing media. When I wrote this post, I got curious about the disparity I perceived. This data will be posted within the next week to a special page on the blog.

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One thought on “Why I Post Pictures of Women

  1. Pingback: Climbing Infographic: Gender in the Climbing Media | One Girl, On the Rocks

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