This is how we want to represent women climbers?

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AnnaV
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This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby AnnaV » Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:21 pm

I've lost my rag, and the reason is the latest “rock bunnies” post on the Rock Chicks website (http://www.rock-chicks.co.za/index.php/ ... nnies-2013). I’ll absolutely grant that the intentions of the site (as I understand them, anyway) of getting women out there, and into climbing, are good. And I’ll happily applaud the effort at growing the climbing community. I’m just not sure that it is being done in quite the right way.

The very name “Rock Chicks” has had me biting my tongue ever since I came across it. (Why on earth refer to yourself with a diminutive widely regarded as derogatory?) But I can live with it. I do, however, take quite serious umbrage at the byline: “Girls climbing in a man’s world”. Dear women climbers involved with the site (and I will grant you adulthood) what do we gain by classifying ourselves as perpetual juniors clamouring to get into a world that we indicate (by our own language) that we do not really belong to? We’re doing ourselves a disservice.

But back to the crux of my current annoyance, because that is what this is really about. Last month’s photo shoot is of a group of women dressed up as “bunnies”, with ears and fluffy tails. There was some climbing involved, but most of the pictures emphasise lashes and pouts, and breasts and arched backs. Whether it was supposed to be an Easter theme or not, the references to playboy bunnies are far from subtle. And I just can’t see what message it is trying to give, other than “we’re fuckable”, which, admittedly, it does rather well.

Women climbers (as with any climber) should be valued for what they achieve, and for what they bring to the sport and to the community. I worry that this recent post on Rock Chicks implies that the best thing we bring is our sexuality. Surely we can do better than that?

Ps: I've only gone public with this discussion because a private conversation was declined, and I think a conversation - at some level - should be had.
Last edited by AnnaV on Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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emile
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby emile » Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:11 pm

Personally I think you're taking it way too personal.

They're doing what they like. Do what you like.

Big up to them for pulling off the "we're fuckable" look with the bunny ears. I have worn bunny ears a couple of times and I don't think I ever quite pulled of the "I'm fuckable" look.

Ok, maybe just a little :mrgreen:

Ag, who are we kidding - I owned it without even arching my back. It's a man thing. :bom:

Maaak
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby Maaak » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:07 pm

I just love it when heterosexual males - I'm going to assume that with a username like Emile you are indeed of the male variety, and the odds are you're also straight as I think I know all who all the gay climbers are (all three of us) - dish out advice on how others (especially minorities or the oppressed) ought to feel. Buddy, you guys run the world. Own most of it too. Mainstream media panders to your preferences. Society's structured around your world view. Based on that, you informing Anna how she should react to this issue is like me telling Sharma how to climb.

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Faffy001
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby Faffy001 » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:12 pm

Anna, I personally, as a rock climbing gal :p....think that you are incredibly jealous. I think Delaney has done an absolutely brilliant job at portraying climbing girls and guys and does not deserved to be attacked...I absolutely enjoy visiting the site every chance I get...and as far as I am concerned (yes who am I)..you should not go onto the rock chicks website....because this is a choice you make!!!!!! get over yourself....rock bunnies was awesome!

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Jones46
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby Jones46 » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:16 pm

Yea Freaking love the whole idea of Rock Chicks :) people need to stop Spazzing out over nothing.
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gregkriel
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby gregkriel » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:27 pm

My gosh some people have really nothing to do and need to fill their time with trivial BS. We all love what Delaney is doing in general and she is involved with so much more in the climbing community and we are all grateful for all of her efforts in so so many regards. The people like you (Anna) that don't want to be part of Rock chicks simply don't have to be... its that simple. Also it seems that the bulk of the female climbers do support it anyway. Also personally I think its quite funny that someone like you (the only person) thats debating the core of rock chicks image in general is making the comparison to Playboy over an Easter shoot.

Quite silly in my opinion. We got Delaney's back

Take a look at stone nudes and that's considered widely as art.....
"an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind"

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emile
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby emile » Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:28 pm

Maaak:

Your assumptions are mostly right. I must add that I've been called Emily to my face many times - never ceases to amaze me.

I was just thinking that one can really tire oneself taking on the actions of others as a reflection of oneself, hence the dishing out of advice. Like up here behind the boerie-curtain I can get my two-tone khaki jocks in a big knot if I were to worry about the boerseuns and their actions being a reflection of me personally.

Some of them even climb too.

If I was gay I'd probably be upset about those guys that develop a lisp when they get within a block of the club, but at the moment my biggest gripe is that my chick uses the word "zoosher" as opposed to the proper term "hand blender" in front of family. FFS, we can at least pretend to be a little more upper class.

:wink:

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DamageINC
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby DamageINC » Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:45 pm

Hi Anne - I think you definitely onto something here & we should put an end to this madness as soon as possible. Maybe we can join forces in our crusade to stop anyone who's views and opinions we disagree with by defaming them on open forums...just as it is your right to speak - it is also your right to keep your opinions to yourself or at the very least speak to owners of the website first, to see where they are coming from...maybe you will learn something...your comment is the only oppressive thing here - as you are dictating to people how you expect them to act.

So back to our crusade...you can contact all Climbing magazines and tell them, men climbing topless is demeaning & may also be portrayed in a sexual light. We should also ask all route names that make any sexual reference to be immediately changed as not to offend the minority here (and by minority - I mean only you).

The reality is that it is a "man's world" when it comes to top climbers...life can be disappointing at times, you will get over it.
What Rock Chicks are doing is creating their own identity & adding their own feminine flare to it...if you dont like it, I can suggest you start your own website...with your own following.
Who Dares...Wins (SAS)
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Forket
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby Forket » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:04 am

I only invite girls to come climb at our gym, because the guys will follow, its the market. Girls sell, look at any product you buy, it probs has a half naked female on it. Its life.

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Millejoh
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby Millejoh » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:10 am

Anna,

Clearly you have strong opinions that, as a woman commenting on a website that caters specifically to women, are valid and worth discussing in private.

But by bringing your opinion into this forum you've actually made a very public (and in poor taste) personalized attack on Delaney, who as most people know, is the owner and creative force behind Rock Chicks. As much as you couch your post in feminist rhetoric, ostensibly to drum up support for your "cause", all you're really doing is spreading negative energy amongst a wider audience than you otherwise would have.
Unfortunately you'll find that, 1) your viewpoint will be overwhelmingly disagreed with, and 2) you will open yourself up to retribution in the form of verbal attacks and insults from other users (actually, this has already happened!)
What's the end game here? If you're attempting to become a martyr, you're on the right path.

Your argument ]with the Easter bunny shoot is that Delaney (and by extension, the models, and by extension, myself as the photographer) don't realize that what we're doing is contributing to the propagation of oppression and patriarchy through our imagery. Right?
But whatever happened to fun? To dressing up (for EASTER) like a bunny just because its silly and goofy and (you'll really hate me for this one) festive?

If you met any of the models you'd know that they are all paragons of feminism: Wickedly strong, intelligent, funny, charismatic, and yes, sexy. The pictures of them climbing surely came across that way to myself and to everyone I showed them to.

The pictures you're referring to with the "arched backs, pouts, and breasts" were shot in the spirit of pin-up girls partly because its funny seeing these awesome climber girls acting like vampy burlesque dancers. It was shot tongue-in-cheek, the photos are meant to be tongue-in-cheek, and moreover, they aren't carrying any political message, no matter how much you attempt to add one to them. If anything, the message is that these women are paying homage to a time when models couldn't express themselves through strength, elegance, and grace. They needed to rely on their "pouts, lashes, and breasts".
That's why the juxtaposition of the climbing photos with the portraits works so well, and also totally negates your whole argument.

I'd recommend you check out an essay titled "Throwing Like A Girl", by Iris Young, and tell me you still feel the same way about Delaney's climbing shoots after you read it. Rock Chicks' message is a clarion call for post-feminists both young and old, those who wish to inhabit their own bodies as something besides just a "fragile encumbrance" (Young 1980). Instead of getting hung up on irrelevant details (bunny ears, the word "chicks") take a look at the body of work that Delaney has produced lately…calendars, apparel, blogs, photos…and ask yourself whether these women - strong, capable, lithe women who climb ferociously and are having FUN doing something healthy - are sending a good message to South African youth.

My answer is resoundingly yes.

LauraE
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby LauraE » Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:23 am

As I see it, Anna’s criticisms are not a personal attack on Delaney but a serious attempt to engage with the way that women are represented. I don’t agree that Anna should keep her ‘opinions’ to herself, for risk of ruining the ‘fun’ of others. As a woman who climbs, she has the right to make her thoughts known on this forum and should not be silenced by the aggressive machismo that gives climbing a bad name. Neither is this stuff ‘trivial’: we are talking about the assumptions and representations that underpin entrenched forms of social gender inequality.

I make the following comments in the same spirit, on the basis of the material that is in the public domain, and certainly not as a personal attack on the website’s founder or writers.

On the Rock Chicks website there are a number of pieces by women climbers documenting their climbing accomplishments, some of which register in the climbing world for that fact that they are significant achievements regardless of the gender of the climbers involved, and for this the site should be commended. While I, too, admire the intentions of the website’s founders to promote women’s climbing, and second their understanding that the sport is largely dominated by men, I think that the message conveyed by an editorial line that objectifies women as ‘sexy santas’ and ‘easter bunnies’ has precisely the opposite effect of that intended. I disagree that it is harmless fun, a joke, because we all know really that we believe in gender equality. The sentiments of ‘sexy santas’ and ‘easter bunnies’ reproduces the chauvinism and misogyny characteristic of men’s magazines and misrepresents the climbing world to those outside it as one in which women are merely sexy accessories. (The reference above to Young dismisses this point as ‘irrelevant detail’ and in doing so misses the essence of Young’s argument about the social reproduction of gendered modes of comportment that define and limit women’s freedoms. By publishing such stereotyped images the website is shooting itself in the foot if its intentions are to promote positive female body image and a full and confident sense of comportment. I think there is only a weak sense of irony contained in these images on the site.)

In publishing this particular kind of material I believe that the editors of the Rock Chicks website are out of touch with the way that many women climbers perceive themselves and their sport, and with the gendered realities of the sport. Women do not climb because they want to pull men with hot bodies, nor to show off their powers of seduction. I climb because of the sense of freedom, escape, and accomplishment that it brings, and the camaraderie and friendship that climbers share.

I have been climbing for ten years, and I have never been made to feel by my (predominantly male) climbing friends that I am just some girly hanger-on. Surely there are more accurate, progressive and productive ways to engage with the masculine nature of the sport and the barriers to women entering it than simply reproducing these kinds of images? (For those who are interested, Victoria Robinson has published a sociology of the sport entitled Everyday Masculinities and Extreme Sport: Male Identity and Rock Climbing [Oxford: Berg, 2008], which seeks to understand these issues).

I love South Africa, but I hate the prevailing attitudes to gender in this country. At worst, they advocate aggression and violence towards women and at best they are conservative and stifling. These issues have been recently thrown into the international media limelight and it really is time to get with the programme.

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Thermophage
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby Thermophage » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:08 am

Wow....Anna...
Rather touchy. I know my opinion probably doesn't hold much weight as I am a guy.
But really...?
People who read more into things than are actually there are a pain in the butt.
Anyway, I'm going to stop now because just thinking about this is actually making me grumpy and I don't want to be grumpy for the Rock Rally tomorrow!!!
Speaking of which...girls, you'd better cover your ankles if you dress up for the rally or Anna will think we're all objectifying women :roll:

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Hann
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby Hann » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:13 am

Thank you ladies (includes you emile) for leading me to the Rock Reveal gallery.

My big question is the following:

Where can I get a poster size printout of some of these photos.
I would like to pin one up in my office, and perhaps frame another for above my TV.




Perhaps these are relevant too .....

Image

and

Image

NickT
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby NickT » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:20 am

wow...a complete over 'intellectualisation' (excuse the spelling) of a trivial matter in my honest opinion. Why don't you try and put your energy into something that matters. There are far more pressing issues out there that require more attention than 'the rock bunnies photo shoot portrays women in a sexual light'. Damn right it does. Rock climbing women are beautiful!

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Faffy001
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby Faffy001 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:20 am

dammit Hann!! ...Now I went and opened that pic up..twice!!!..in my office..glass windows next to me...lol...

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gregkriel
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby gregkriel » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:23 am

Hahahaha Cuan nice one pal Yup this kind of thing just makes people grumpy but I guess that is her intention. Why else would something so trivial strike such a nerve other then maybe jealousy! :lol:

Yes ladies cover up those ankles Anna might throw a fit... no flesh or tight pants and pls wear a bra while you climb. Come to think of it maybe just wear a veil while you at it... also i think pink and deep purples should also be avoided just in case. You'll need to be very careful as this is a dress up event this weekend and could cause a major upheaval :) We dont wanna offend anyone :puker:
"an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind"

NickT
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby NickT » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:31 am


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gregkriel
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby gregkriel » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:34 am

Hahaha Nic buddy that is one of the funniest things ive seen in a long time :) made my day shot bud i needed that after this forum post :)
"an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind"

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Faffy001
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby Faffy001 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:37 am

hysterical! thanks Nic...LOL

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tygereye
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby tygereye » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:42 am

Troll!

Clem
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby Clem » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:10 am

I usually don't read forums and I definitively usually don't post on forums.
But must admit that I was rather annoyed when I saw the bunnies photo gallery. Enough to get me to write here.

Not shocked by the content, fluffy tails and all, but because it looked like the models weren't quite aware of the underlying visual references contained in the pictures.

I love climbing for many reasons, but in particular because I don't feel that women are treated differently because they are women.
Not at the crag, not in magazines. None of the surfer girls in bikini stuff there.
What I see around me are feminine women climbing hard and having fun.
That feels good and that's precisely why these pictures upset me.

Faffy is asking a very relevant question: "why going on the website if you don't like it?"
Maybe the reason why we go on this website is because it is one of the only platforms in this country for women climbers by women climbers and as such, I wish it was (or at least this specific photo shoot) representing women climbers in a less stereotypical way.

Without blowing things out of perspective, I think this is opening an interesting discussion around representation of women in sport in general and in climbing in particular.
Maybe what Rock Chicks needs after all, is a forum for this kind of conversation to take place.

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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby Oakley » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:13 am

'Have a look at Bikini boulderers on FB, Its a personal choice of what you want to show the world, some women prefer to show more than other(stone nudes) , maybe to attract the opposite sex, but its their choice if they want to or not!

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Thermophage
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby Thermophage » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:18 am

Then of course there is always Rock and Ice's Stone Nudes gallery :)

http://www.rockandice.com/photo-galleries/stone-nudes

I just had a look at the bunnies gallery again....and showed a female colleague of mine...She also thinks you haters are overreacting ever so SLIGHTLY!!! :pig:

Andy Davies
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby Andy Davies » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:20 am

My incredibly hot wife and dear friend Beth Higgins dressed up as bunnies at the one Boven Rock Rally. It will remain as on of their most memorable days out [in a positive way]. They are also very succesful and independent young ladies who are treated as equals in the boardroom and the crag. So my question is, if they wore some fun costume that Heugh Hefner would approve, that brings some fun and spark to the BRR, should we not take them seriously?

Come on guys & gals lets just go climbing and have a good time. If you guys & gals don't behave I'm go to the MRR only in bunny ears and a fluffy tail! :lol:

PS has anyone done any good routes lately?
AndyDavies

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gregkriel
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby gregkriel » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:24 am

Exactly maybe if certain people don't like the way Rock chicks is portraying women then maybe some of the haters should go start their own website... if they can find the time in between all the complaining that is :mrgreen: Seems there are waaaaay more for it then against. Just go climbing have fun and keep your judgments to yourself. Last I checked this was still a free country :roll:
"an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind"

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Xenomorph
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby Xenomorph » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:32 am

Oakley wrote:'Have a look at Bikini boulderers on FB, Its a personal choice of what you want to show the world, some women prefer to show more than other(stone nudes) , maybe to attract the opposite sex, but its their choice if they want to or not!


Thank you for The Bikini boulderers link, you are a fine gentleman!

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gregkriel
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby gregkriel » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:42 am

Some old skool advertising :) just fort he hell of it ;)
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Mad
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby Mad » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:43 am

Okay, so I hardly ever manage to check out the climbza website these days, let alone the Rock Chicks website and I have to say: If anything, this forum post made me so curious as to what the fuzz was all about (plus I am having a slow day) so I had, had, had to go check out these notorious bunny pictures.

And boy oh boy, I was looking for ‘dem arching backs and exposed boobies and...Nothing...Huge disappointment! :( I actually thought the pictures where cute. I really struggled to associate sexual promiscuity with those pictures. Haha – even the pouting....you can see the girls are trying to hold back their laughter. All and all it looks like a fun photo shoot in the spirit of Easter.

Anna, Laura and Clem, you are fighting the good fight babes, but I think there is a bit of an overreaction here.
Tasja – you gotta work on that pout girl! Hahahahaha!
Oh and Emily....picturing you with bunny ears...the image will be stuck in my head for days to come. It makes me laugh and cry at the same time. Still using those draws you gave me and paying it forward all the way. :thumright

AnnaV
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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby AnnaV » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:44 am

Hey,

This is not about hating, it is about opening a debate, which the comments indicate, is one that needs to be had.

Thanks to all who have engaged (or are engaging) solidly. Jonny, even if I don't like them, I usually find that critiques of my work help me think about it in different ways, even only in terms of how to defend it more robustly. I hope you find the same. If you're up for it, I'm totally open to having a conversation with you over a drink. (We could, of course, just glare at each other across seminars in the department, too!)

Anna

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Re: This is how we want to represent women climbers?

Postby LCD » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:57 am

@DamageInc
"The reality is that it is a "man's world" when it comes to top climbers...life can be disappointing at times, you will get over it."


Gosia Lipinsky? (just my personal favourite since ADK, lots of others out there)


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