Mansplaining in Climbing

Mansplaining: manˈsplān/ verb

1.) (of a man) explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.

Mansplaining, though not a new phenomenon, is a relatively new word that seeks to illuminate one way sexism can subtly (or not so subtly) infiltrate our experiences and daily dialogues. It is most commonly referred to when someone–usually a man–will tell a woman something about a topic she is already well educated or competent in. The outdoors is just one of many arenas where this can be overwhelmingly present. This post does not pertain to all men; many men feel unchallenged in championing and respecting women as equals. Others find themselves responding with anger, critique, complaints and belittlement of the idea.

Climbing, while being an incredible built in, supportive community is still not immune to the societal pressures and Stone Age notions that exist today. With the increase of social media usage and online dialogue, women are overwhelmingly sharing instances of “mansplaining” or situations where men (and in some cases, even other women) are found attacking and discrediting their knowledge, competency, strength and ideas. I found my own personal experience and those of the women around me to reflect this in disturbing ways.

To illustrate an example of this, let’s talk about the Moonboard…

The Moonboard is a tool largely used in climbing for building strength and raw power. The wall rests at 40 degrees and is decorated with a very specific alignment of holds so that climbers and commercial gyms on an international scale can build the exact same wall and repeat boulder problems set by Moonboard app users.

In my own training sessions, I use the Moonboard in one of three ways for my outdoor climbing goals.

(1) Limit Bouldering: I pick a problem that I can maybe only do a single move on, and work it by trying to do individual moves or link multiple hard moves. Sometimes I finish the problems, most of the time I don’t. The focus is on strength and power.

(2) Execution: I consider this a type of mental training. I pick climbs that might take a session or two and work them with the goal of finishing them. I noticed that I had some anxiety when climbing outdoors and coming close on a project, so this allows me to practice handling myself on a climb when all of the moves are done. The focus is on breathing, relaxing and executing.

(3) Power Endurance: I pick climbs that are just plain fun and do them back to back with little to no rest. (3x3s, 4x4s or just climbing with very little rest.) In these sessions, I don’t care how I get up the wall, just that I develop a nice pump. The focus is on fitness and technique.

Why does this matter, you might ask? It absolutely doesn’t. The way I train is specific to myself, my climbing and my own personal outdoor goals within climbing. However, after beginning to share videos of Moonboard climbs via social media, I’d received dozens of private and public messages voicing disdain for the way I use the board. These comments were all from men. When I tried to explain how I used the board in a variety of ways for my own goals and did not care about the rules when using the board for different purposes, I was met with anger and constant correction.



It’s no secret that using heel hooks or toe hooks help take off considerable weight and strain from our muscles while we climb. That did no surprise me. What surprised me is that these men were so insulted by my approaches and techniques that they felt the need to tell me how I was wrong or didn’t understand how the wall worked. Cue as many eye rolls as I gave my sweet momma from ages 7 to 15 (that’s a helluva lot, folks.)

Don’t get me wrong, constructive criticism is good. But I wasn’t asking for feedback. Nor was I confused about how a toe hook worked. I post videos because I love talking about training and seeing what others are doing too. I found it interesting that only men chimed in with any sort of negativity or judgement. Why were these men moved to message me, and why did my actions hurt them so deeply that they felt I invalidated them and their climbing by doing something hard with a different approach?


I firmly believe this is an example of frail egos and mansplaining. In my mind, insecurity is the only reason someone would be motivated to explain how you are not strong enough and not doing it “right” by someone else’s standards. The Moonboard does have a set of established rules, but it is a tool like anything else that can be used in a variety of ways pertaining to the user’s needs. The real questions to ask are: why do others care so much (especially concerning indoor climbs,) why are these opinions pushed onto people who haven’t asked, and why are women so often the subjects of this rather than other men?

When I asked other women via a Flash Foxy online forum if they had also encountered moments like these in person or online, I received so many responses from women who each felt they had plenty of experiences to share. For a very small moment in time, I felt relieved that I was not alone in my experiences. This was immediately replaced with anger and sadness after realizing how many women had, have and continue to feel underestimated, belittled, bullied or continually have excuses made for their accomplishments because of their gender. There were stories of men making comments about the size of womens’ fingers being the only reason for climbing harder routes or boulders, or men assuming a man must be present in the group to plan and guide trips, having advice offered on their warm ups, assuming only the men were trying harder projects, even having to ask men to stop giving beta while climbing on the warm ups! It is exhausting to continually feel like you have to answer to a society that feels you are never competent, strong or good enough.

This needs to be discussed, and men who feel inclined to troll or belittle women need to understand this: You’re not going to get stronger by putting down the women around you.  You’re not climbing V12 because you opted not to use a toe hook and told the women around you that they couldn’t use it either. You are not achieving your climbing objectives by nitpicking the way other women around you train for their outdoor objectives.

And not that this should even be something I have to say, but I need to say it: Ladies, it’s okay to say no. It is reasonable and acceptable to disregard advice that isn’t necessary, helpful or contributing to your growth as a person or climber. You decide what this is. You decide what is helpful for you, what is insulting to you and what you do or don’t like, not someone else. I hope we can collectively be okay with saying “no” in these situations and not retreat when “mansplainers” attack us in person or online. I’ll  admit that I don’t always handle these situations with grace myself, but here is my last response to someone I felt was off base in offering an unnecessary comment about (*you guessed it*) the Moonboard:




My response was long, but I hope this illuminates how exhausting it is to have to constantly explain and defend yourself against some men who feel the need to comment in person or online about your climbing. Climbing is extremely esoteric and ambiguous; it seems absolutely silly that something so meaningless and abstract could be taken so seriously and even aggressively by men towards other women.

Take a second to think about yourself and the feedback you get in your climbing. Do you get private messages about how wrong you are while training for climbing? Do people at the gym congratulate you for doing your warm up? Are others visibly upset if you cruise their projects but *you’re a girl?* Do people look at a double digit problem in front of you and look to the men in the group and say “good luck boys!” without considering maybe only the girl is trying it? I think it’s important to think about our experiences and understand how vastly different those might be for men and women, and what we can do as a community and as individuals to challenge some of those notions.

And if none of this applies to you, man or woman, remember that it still happens to so many women. (I hate to say this, but nearly every single climbing experience I have is met with these sort of interactions.) Next time you’re about to “spray,” offer advice or make an assumption, just ask. Spend some time getting to know the person you’re talking to instead of immediately making assumptions about their ability, knowledge or goals.

Heel hooks ftw on The Practitioner V11 😉



24 thoughts on “Mansplaining in Climbing

  1. Why the gender division? Its not a black and white topic. People being stingy about how to do a climb is across the board. Climbers get upset when anyone does their project. Youth climbers, tall climbers, short climbers, muscley climbers, wirey climbers, etc can all cause irritation and complaints. It’s not a polar issue. People comparing themselves to others is the overarching reason for this conflict


    1. Hey there, thanks for the question. I guess I agree and disagree with what you say. Climbing is such a personal and individual sport, yet…you’re right…it is SO easy to compare yourself with those (men or women) around you.

      The reason I took the time to illuminate how this feels different for women is really just the anger and assumptions made towards women.

      As an example: My boyfriend climbs a lot of hard problems, yet men always say “you’re inspiring!” or ask him how he trains for climbing. When I do the same types of climbs, I get comments like “oh well your fingers are small, so that’s why it’s easier for you.” “You weigh like 120? Gosh I wish I was that small, this would feel doable then.” Or someone tries to point out some way that it irritates or annoys them because I’m a girl. This isn’t me creating a gender division, these are literal comments I’ve received from men. I’ve had men storm away from problems I did because they said “gosh, even a girl just climbed this shit.”

      To iterate, I think you’re right; people do compare themselves a lot in climbing. The way people tend to do this with men versus women seem vastly different though. I think another big issue outside of the comparison aspect is the assumption some men make when seeing other women at the crag or gym. Many women who are insanely talented and competent will have men go up to them and explain how to use a gri-gri, or how to do a route they’ve done 20 times, or try to talk them out of a route because they think it will be too hard for them, etc. I don’t know of many of my male friends who have experienced this from other men, but my female friends report experiences like this nearly every time they take a climbing trip.


    2. “…” I’m going to assume you are male? It’s hard to not feel defensive when reading articles such as this. It’s quite normal and is a great way to turn a monologue into a conversation. Yes, it is not a black and white topic overall. I encourage you to write a post about issues that you’ve observed and feel compelled to share and discuss with others. Pull from your personal experiences. Because that’s exactly what Melise did. And from her perspective, which is shared by a plethora of women, there is a distinct difference between how males and females are regarded and spoken to in climbing. Not always, but sometimes. Enough she felt the need to shed light on this topic. Which I, as a reader, appreciate. People with strong voices need to use them to support those whose voices are softer. Everyone has their complaints and struggles, in climbing and in life; that doesn’t make Melise’s point any less valid.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. This is a really interesting video. Thanks for sharing. AND in no way does the existence of a strong man with wizard anxieties change the fact that Melise has experienced sexism in climbing. 🤦🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. thank you so much for writing this. I believe that speaking of our experiences and our truth will help to educate some and thus allow them to perhaps learn to treat folks equally and not based on gender, race etcetera….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much, Susan! I was nervous in sharing this post, but I hope it is helpful to both men and women. All too often I think women who deal with these sorts of experiences don’t feel comfortable sharing them, as I felt, so I hope this also helps other women feel okay sharing their experiences too!


  3. Dude! Sweet article. I feel your pain, truely.
    Have you ever read ‘The Four Agreements’? Its pretty hippy-dippy but agreement number two is about never taking anything personally. I have found it to be pretty solid advice and use it almost daily.
    The logic is that you shouldn’t take anything personally because anything anyone ever says to you, or about you, is never actually about you, its always about them. Someone’s thoughts, views and actions are enshrined in all the experiences they have had through their own life leading up to that moment and they are projecting them onto you, is what the book suggests.
    Whether that’s actually scientifically legit logic or not who knows, but I personally find it pretty useful if I find myself being drawn into having defend myself. It helps me chilllllll, like a lot. And it makes it way easier for me to be like, ‘meh, you don’t even deserve a response, so I’m going to ignore you’ to people that are being a little bit demanding.
    I think there’s always this feeling that we have to justify ourselves when ever someone demands something from us, in this case the person is demanding a response to their view of the way you do your training or to the fact you were sarcastic to this person.
    But you dont have to justify shit! You climb like V-a-million! in my eyes that makes you basically amazing. Is this person offering anything positive in return for your time and energy to respond? Do they have a right to demand interaction? Do they have a right to have their questions answered? No, no and no.
    If people don’t add value then get rid. This would hold for real life people who try to connect with us so why would it be any different with people who connect through tinternet?
    Okay I’m done, thanks for reading my ranty-unsolicited-advice 😉 Use it or disregard as seems appropriate.
    Hugs, snugs and elbow licks, Jen xxxx

    Ps- this is the first Ive ever seen you blog and I am loving it. I will be following the shit out of it from now on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jen, you are so incredible! I am so floored and grateful for this comment. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this, you have truly made my day! I seriously loved reading this and the concept, we wouldn’t tolerate stuff like that in the real world so why do we spend so much time responding to every single naysayer on the internet? I also truly believe that the way people act is a representation of themselves, not you, but that logic sometimes still doesn’t make it completely painless when people are rude.

      Anyhow, I’m rambling, but thank you so so much for this. I can’t wait to check out the Four Agreements and let me know if you have a blog too! Would love to follow, I can already tell you’re an absolutely stellar writer! XO – Melise

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t say I have experienced mansplaining much in climbing, and for that I’m thankful. I’ve climbed mostly in Duluth/Minneapolis, Minnesota and Tucson, Arizona in pretty small communities and have found everyone to be supportive, helpful, and always ready to push you forward. In my experience, whenever someone talks about someone’s small fingers it’s not an excuse to hate on them but a reason to figure out new beta that works for their body. I complain about not being tall incessantly, but use it as a reason to junk certain beta approaches. I get called a “power nugget” because I’m short and thuggy by one of my guy friends, and I think I would flip out if anyone ever told me I was a “lady power nugget” or “pretty strong for a girl”.

    I’m sure I’m forgetting blunders though. I did have someone explain to me how to belay him while he seconded a top rope climb…but we were in a group of newbs and he didn’t know me at all. I take no offense to that. I think new climbers are trying to figure out how to deal with their own failures and feel like critical experts that can tell you what you’re doing wrong based on suggestions in a pamphlet. What I think they don’t realize is that climbing isn’t an exact science. There are best practices and safety standards…but honestly…and especially with bouldering and training…you’re just trying to find something that works for you.

    To be honest, and sorry to change the subject, I think what drives me more crazy is the girl power/wooo lady climbers/#girlswhoclimb /lady climber trips/ etc. approach I’ve seen in some women. When I’m out climbing with a group of girls I don’t really notice a difference than when I’m climbing with a group of guys. I just want to be out with my friends, and my friends aren’t jerks that treat me a certain way based on my gender.

    That said, your experience with nit picking trolls is so dumb. My boyfriend and his friends razz each other constantly over dabs and whatnot, but I don’t think any of them would consider trolling someone they don’t know like that. I guess some people didn’t learn about growing up to be decent…oh fragile ego and suggestion pamphlets…


    1. Hey Julie! Thanks for your comment and different perspective. I had a long chat with some of my male coworkers today about “mansplaining” and sexism that exists across fields and hobbies (neuroscience, climbing, etc.) It was really interesting in that I think we all prefer not to use the word “mansplain” (it even irks me to use it, but what it signifies or encompasses makes it useful) but it stands for a basic condescension towards women. I am trying really hard not to overuse the word, or suggest that EVERY bad thing that happens is a result of men or my gender. I know sometimes people are just jerks, and that sometimes bad things might happen to an African American woman and it has nothing to do with race or gender. I totally get that.

      I think it’s awesome you haven’t experienced this much or at all. I used to climb with a group with mostly guys and found them to be super supportive and incredibly great friends too, some of the best friends I’ve ever had. Then and now, with equally amazing male and female partners, I have consistently heard and gotten the same types of comments in my climbing. When I posted a poll on the Flash Foxy website, and even in posting this blog, I have had received countless stories from women sharing the same types of harassment, belittlement, creepy spots, condescending statements, etc. I think that even if it doesn’t happen to you, it’s hard to deny that it isn’t a reality for a lot of other women.

      Why do you dislike the #girlswhoclimb and “lady trip” groups? I’ll admit I was a little hesitant years ago when I first started hearing about it, but for the most part it seems like a fun way to meet and climb with other women. Female friendship is really tough, and though I don’t think that every single woman should befriend every other woman just because of their gender commonality (there’s a lot of people we just don’t gel with, and that’s okay), it can be a cool way to enjoy a very different climbing experience (for some women, an experience that feels safe from the critiques or pressure that come with climbing with only men) and work on breaking down some of those deeply rooted hints of sexism that exist even among other women.

      Sorry for the long winded answer, too much coffee for me at work today! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As a guy, I’ve seen this and probably done it myself. I appreciate your perspective and would encourage more articles like this. One thing I would ask is for you to encourage others to engage guys that are doing this to them and explain why it’s not appreciated. If more guys can understand the situation from your point of view, then the culture will change. One note – dudes do this to other dudes as well, so I would say this isn’t just directed to females even if it feels that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Brian! I loved your comment, thanks so much for sharing and including how important it is to have that dialogue. One of the hardest things to show or convey to people is that feminists do not hate or try to attack men; asking for more respect and consideration should not be seen as threatening.

      I think it’s so valuable what you said; to engage people who are doing this (yes, this includes men engaging other men) and create space for that dialogue to happen. I do think men will also act condescending towards other men, but I think the frequency that this happens to women is greater. (Does that make sense? It’s hard to word that. Basically, I think it is a problem both men and women face, absolutely, but it also feels like a byproduct of deeply rooted sexism that has existed for generations…thus I think women will receive these sorts of behaviors and interactions collectively more so than men will.)

      Thanks again for the nice comment and openness to the article. Cheers, Melise


  6. Yes, 100%. You describe mansplaining in climbing better than I ever could (I mean, you experience it, I merely witness). To add a thought, I’m often floored by the amount of work that women are supposed to do in these types of situations. Not only are you supposed to put up with a half dozen men giving unsolicited critiques of your climbing, but then you’re supposed to manage their feelings about being told to stop.

    I often imagine what a good response is to being told to stop mansplaining, sarcastic or not. To me, it’s something like “I’m doing that? Damn, so sorry! I wasn’t intending to give a gendered critique of your training, but looks like I did anyway. Thanks for pointing it out.”

    This helps me put the actual responses in perspective, and you know… they’re usually far, far away from this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alan, thank you so so much.

      You hit the nail on the head. “Not only are you supposed to put up with a half dozen men giving critiques of your climbing, but then you’re supposed to manage their feelings about being told to stop.”

      This is such a powerful sentence and something I could not empathize more with. This happens with gender, it also happens with race. Often when confiding to others “This is how it feels to be a brown woman and experience racism or microaggressions,” it is often our responsibility to nurture and protect the feelings of people who are clueless or at fault for microaggressions and swear “but I’m not racist!!” It’s exhausting when you just want to be heard, nothing more.

      You said it perfectly too. A perfect response would be someone just apologizing or saying “hey, I didn’t mean to, my bad.” Instead it is usually an aggressive response or plain hateful. OR like one man declared, in need of an apology for being rude. How is that possible?

      Thank you so so much for this. You’ve helped me so much and I really appreciate you taking the time to write! Have a great day,



  7. You’re probably mostly right about all of this. I disagree with some of it, but I’m not going to talk about that. Based on past experience any disagreement I point out will not be weighed on it’s own logic or merit, but will be weighed by the fact that the idea was suggested by a man. This leaves me in quite a pickle, since treating you differently than I’d treat a man (if you were a man I’d tell you exactly what I disagreed with) is the definition of sexism, but if I were to tell you what I disagreed with I’d be accused of sexism simply because what I said might disagree with the zeitgeist.

    I agree with you that mansplaining DOES happen and it is a problem that women face that they shouldn’t have to deal with. I just hope you realize that when you write an article like this you’re rarely going to get any differing perspectives that cause you to rethink and evolve your positions or viewpoints in a healthy way. Those voices have been (or are being) silenced and all that’s left are the trolls and the “yes-women”.


    1. Not at all Jesse. I realize the conundrum and appreciate you laying it out like that. I’m not going to assume that since you disagree with me, you are inherently sexist or out to get me. Already you’ve won my respect by saying that my experiences are valid, and that’s more than some men would even admit to. You can disagree as much as you want, respectfully, but my issues are when someone who hasn’t lived in this world as a woman offers their opinion that my experiences aren’t real or valid, just because they themselves can’t feel them.

      And yes, I do realize that my liberally minded friends are in full support of my article and ideas. I have gotten quite a few differing perspectives (see blog post link below) and comments that disagree wholeheartedly with what I say. I’m curious, what sort of ways do you think my viewpoint or positions could evolve? Has anything I’ve said seem retrogressive or stifling to my growth? In saying that woman have a vastly different experience than men, and to have other women agree with me that this is their shared experience too, I don’t see exactly how this could be so damaging.

      Here is the latest response to my blog post. Wouldn’t mind hearing your thoughts on it:–newsletter/mansplaining-and-wonder-woman

      Thanks for the respectful comment and thoughts, I really appreciate it.


      1. First of all, I hadn’t seen your instagram account before I made my previous comment. In order to better write up this comment and get a bit more context about you and your life I visited your instagram account and now I’m not sure why I’ve never heard of you before, you’re clearly world class strong and I’m super impressed by your commitment to training for this sport and for the sport itself!

        That article is how I found this post in the first place, so I actually read the rebuttal before I read the original article. I agree with some of what he said but certainly not all of it.

        I hope you don’t mind if I lay out my thoughts in points, it helps me organize my thoughts, I hope you don’t see it as an attempt at “education” or anything like that.

        1.) I guess the way I see this whole issue is that you have a pretty large following on instagram. Statistically speaking with 3000 followers you’re bound to get some negative comments, and that’s only going to get worse as you get more and more followers. This is going to be true regardless of your gender identity or your biological sex. Haters gonna hate.

        2.) By putting yourself out in the public sphere you expose yourself to the criticisms of the public. The tradeoff to exposure is a lack of privacy. If you post your workout routine online then you open it up to public criticism. This will be true regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman, and I’ve seen lots of guys post workouts that have gotten eviscerated online (Daniel Woods’ 4×4 training video, Sean McColl’s campus board workout, etc).

        3.) In a world where sexism does exist, the more interactions you have with men the more often you’ll encounter sexism. If one out of ever 10 encounters with a man ends up being somehow sexist, and you increase your encounters with a man by 10% then the encounters that are sexist will also have increased by 10%. This might leave you with a perspective bias. It seems that you see it all the time because you are seeing it more often than most women, but you also are having more encounters (online interactions) than most women. I think this is the same reason why many guys don’t see sexism as an issue, they don’t see it as often and so they think it’s rare, whereas a woman will see it much more often simply by virtue of being a woman.

        4.) The video with the moonboard problem had no explanation as to why you were doing the toe-hook. You did explain this in the comments after someone asked about it, but it’s entirely possible that subsequent commenters didn’t see that first explanation and so were asking the same question. I don’t think it’s fair to assume that people asking why you are using a training tool outside the standard set of rules for that tool is sexist. I think those are perfectly valid questions, just as it’s perfectly valid for you to use the tool differently than the standard way it’s used. If I had posted a video on my instagram account doing that exact same thing I guarantee you I would have gotten comments from people saying that the side is off. In fact, my friends like to bust my balls so that’s probably all I would have gotten.

        5.) The above point leads us into something that you wrote above which is absolutely true: ” I found it interesting that only men chimed in with any sort of negativity or judgement. Why were these men moved to message me, and why did my actions hurt them so deeply that they felt I invalidated them and their climbing by doing something hard with a different approach?” As I said above, I firmly believe that if I’d posted a video doing the same thing I would have gotten the same responses as you, and I agree with you that it would have only been men who would have said anything. I have no idea what the answer to your question is but I can only speculate it’s that men are generally competitive, and any chance to prove their superiority is deeply hardwired into our DNA. This is why I always get ball-busting comments about my form, about dabbing, about using holds that are “off” from my male friends, and never my female friends. But that’s my next point. If I get these same comments and I’m not a female is it really sexism? Maybe. Maybe not.

        On the one hand, the fact that they said anything indicates that they felt threatened by you and your strength. On the other hand, if you believe that they would have said this to any guy who had posted the same thing, then by calling you out the same as they would have called out a guy they really are treating you equally.

        Your next comment was “I firmly believe this is an example of frail egos and mansplaining. In my mind, insecurity is the only reason someone would be motivated to explain how you are not strong enough and not doing it “right” by someone else’s standards.”

        Again, I agree with that second sentence, but not the first. Frail ego’s? Sure. Mainsplaining? Not so fast. Guys get this all the time too (“You dabbed on that rock.” “If you use that hold it’s only V7.”) it can’t be mansplaining in that case can it?

        Sorry for all the long thoughts. I guess the bottom line is that you either believe that this sort of thing happens exclusively to women (or at least more often to women) or not. If it happens more often or exclusively to women then the argument can easily be made that it’s an example of mansplaining. If however you agree that this sort of calling people out does happen to men as well, then I fail to see how it can be mansplaining when you call out a woman for doing something you think is wrong, but perfectly normal for calling out a man for doing that same thing. That’s a double standard, and I don’t think you can have it both ways. You’re either treated equally to men, or your treated different to men.

        Obviously arguments can be made further about this, and I’m sure you’ve encountered plenty of examples of mansplaining in real life and online, I guess I’m not just entirely convinced this is one of them. I’m not trying to invalidate you or say that it doesn’t happen or hasn’t happened to you, I just don’t think this is the strongest candidate for it.


      2. Hey, thanks so much for so many great points and such a nice comment.

        I agree with a lot of things you said, and I’m so sorry to give you a super short answer (I’m at work and crunched for time.) I do think these things happen to both men and women, and the moonboard might not have been the best example to illustrate a phenomena so many women experience in their climbing. I should have gone into more detail about the stories other women shared with me concerning mansplaining outside; they revolve mostly around assumptions men make when approaching other women (she is probably weaker than I am, less experienced, needs my help, etc) and then respond aggressively or get offended if the woman denies that help. When I told these men I didn’t care for their opinion and tried to explain how I use the board, their reactions seemed really hostile. You’re right in that I am likely very heightened to things like this, having experienced them so often in my climbing experiences. I hope that we can stray away from some of the finer details (if the moonboard is in fact not the best example) and let the larger point remain: women as a whole seem to get heavily critiqued, have excuses made for their successes, are assumed to be weaker and *sometimes* when they prove themselves to be the opposite, *some* men respond angrily.

        The difference I see is that these men weren’t asking why I was doing something differently; they were telling me I was wrong and stupid for doing so. Even so, I am more than willing to admit that this is a hard example because the Moonboard is a tool with a set of rules, and I didn’t mention the toe hook in the post because I just don’t care! I do not train to be a better indoor climber.

        I guess that’s one thing I also don’t understand. Why do people care so much concerning indoor climbs? Part of me also feels that, as a strong woman, *SOME* men are also so upset that they can’t do problems that you can that they are sometimes willing to be aggressive or go that extra mile to put you down. This could be by making excuses for you (ie: If I had small hands or weighed 120 pounds, this would feel easy!) or a number of other ways. If I interpreted all of those messages incorrectly (and at this point I’ve received maybe two dozen, all from men) it would be because this is something I’ve experienced all too frequently in my climbing. I’ve had problems I’ve done called soft afterwards (even though they were normal or pretty hard for the grade before..) heard the *small hands, light frame* excuse all too often when I do a climb, had men stalk me in the gym and try to copy me after every climb I do, get butt spotted 3 feet off the ground, asked if I was sure I wanted to do climbs because they might be too big for me, etc etc etc.

        Also, I’m wondering why aren’t there women who are doing this to men or other women? Everyone seems to argue that “mansplaining” doesn’t exist because men do it to men and women alike, but to me it feels really odd that, if it were so equal, why aren’t more women messaging me telling me how wrong I am? Or telling me my boulder problems are soft? I don’t think men are hardwired to be this way; I think it seems a little more socially acceptable for some men to act this way and they will continue to do that unless others chime in that this is not socially acceptable and should stop.

        Gotta run, thanks for sharing these points.


  8. Sigh… woke woman decides the problem is men, when the actual problem is just rude people who happen to be men. Next she’ll decide it’s their race that makes them act badly, or their sexual orientation. Can’t people be jerks regardless of their identity groups? Just call them out for being jerks and move on ffs.


    1. Jake, why does this upset you so much? Why do you care so much?

      Saying that women, as a whole (even disregarding my one, singular example) have vastly different climbing experiences than men, and that we feel we are often assumed to be weaker, critiqued heavily (especially if climbing v8-10) and talked down to or hit on at the gym makes you upset. Why?

      This is not every single woman’s experience, but it is too prevalent to be “coincidence” and not related to gender at all.

      There are countless people alive today in the US who have experienced second class citizenship due to the color of their skin. I don’t need to go into this, but race is not a determinant of someone’s inherent good or evil, but there are trends that show us race is very clearly associated with power, of influence or of oppression. There are abysmal statistics that show how inequality exists and is pervasive in our society. Yes, there are trends that show who benefits from this and who does not. Again, not a prerequisite for who is more prone to do evil, but race does often paint a story of who is most likely to be a recipient of that evil.

      Again, I ask that you understand why the need to confront the topic of sexism at all makes you so uncomfortable and dismissive.


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