Let’s face it. As women, we are taught that other women should be viewed as competition or rivals. Instead of being psyched and inspired when we see women doing cool things, we often see it as a mirror unto ourselves pointing out how we are not doing cool thing. Maybe this is not just a thing with women, maybe it happens to men too, but I am a women so this is the only perspective that I can share. This is also obviously not how all women feel, but I think it’s a message that our society instills in us from the time we are kids, and it can carry with us throughout our lives unless we address it and consciously put a stop to it. I have seen this thought process magnified when it comes to climbing.
Climbing is different from other aspects of life. Our climbing successes and failures are outward for the world to see, especially with social media, and how strong or good at the sport you are is literally graded on a scale, so often times our jealousies and insecurities are also out there. I know that when I first started to feel like I was getting stronger in climbing, I definitely felt competitive with the women around me and wanted to be the best. I then found out that this is the worst possible way to approach climbing… not only will it make it not fun for yourself because there is always going to be someone better than you (unless maybe you’re Alex Puccio), but it will also not be fun for the people around you. Climbing is such a personal thing and I think it’s so important to realize that how strong other people are has no bearing on your personal successes as a climber. Not only that, but if you change your perspective, it can be super inspiring to watch someone who is better than you!!
And then there’s social media… People often use it as a place to share their accomplishments (and maybe their failures) and I have seen a wide variety of responses to this. Social media is something I struggle with for sure. I have an Instagram and I use it pretty exclusively for posts about climbing (and sometimes pastries!). I like to share my climbing journey with the world, but I have often questioned whether or not me posting my successes is too braggy or possibly is having a negative effect on others… but for me, I know when I see a badass women climbing cool things, it’s so inspiring, and so I would hope that people would feel the same about seeing my stuff. Women are definitely rising through the ranks in climbing, but it is a traditionally male dominated sport, and so I think its super useful for women to publicize what they have done! It shows other women, women who are maybe just getting into the sport, what is possible. So please, keep “spraying” your successes!
We all have had different climbing journeys that have gotten us to where we are, and all had different assets and obstacles that we had to deal with, so comparing ourselves to each other isn’t really a useful measure of anything anyway…
This post is not meant to call anyone out, I just wanted to share my thoughts and things that I have learned since I became a climber. I am so grateful for the wonderful and supportive women that I have met through climbing, and this is a shoutout to all the ladies, keep crushing!!!