Women And Rock Climbing

Category: Education

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REC 3202 Leisure Activity Project


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Charlene Evangelista:

Charlene Evangelista Leisure Activity Project Women and Rock Climbing

A Historical Perspective:

A Historical Perspective Climbing has been around since the early 1800’s The first climbers recorded were men who hardly spoke about their female counterparts that accompanied them on their climbs because it didn’t seem masculine to write of the women climbers At the turn of the century, men brought climbing into popularity and it became more common By the 1920's, climbing became a social event where women were drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and rock climbing In the 1930's and 1940's the women in climbing was still rare and most had been introduced to the climbing by their boyfriends or husbands In the early 1970's Bev Johnson was a strong female force, as she was the first female on the Yosemite Rescue Team The 1980’s were a time of increase in the number of women climbing and many of these women were leading routes, making all-female ascents of mountains, and pushing beyond the levels of difficulty previously achieved by the pioneers of female rock climbers Moving into the 1990's and the present, Lynn Hill became the first woman to redpoint .14 in 1990 in France

A Current Perspective :

A Current Perspective “Increasing female athleticism represents a genuine quest by women for equality, control of their own bodies, and self-definition, and as such represents a challenge to the ideological basis of male domination” Today, women climbers are still pushing into new levels of achievement and the performance difference between men and women climbers has been steadily decreasing Although the actual number of people climbing, and the gender breakdown of the climbing community is extremely difficult to obtain, the number of women climbers is higher than ever and their performance levels will certainly continue to progress Taking a look at the past two hundred years, one can see how climbing has drastically changed: Women pushed their limits, set records of their own and opened doors to the women who have taken the opportunity to rock climb

Current Issues:

Current Issues Climbing magazine is a leader in the rock climbing and mountaineering media and reaches the largest audience in the climbing community. The way that female climbers are represented in Climbing magazine is important because other climbing media may potentially follow this leading publication and because Climbing magazine In a recent study by Vodden -McKay and Schell, they analyzed representations of women rock climbers in Climbing magazine and explored the possible effects such representations may have on women rock climbers and the climbing community Of 421 feature articles analyzed, 13 (3%) were dedicated to women climbers and the first feature article about a female climber appeared in 1991 With regard to photographs, of the 114 issues, 18 (16%) female climbers appeared on the cover page, 16 (14%) were shown in the “Gallery” section, and 14 (12%) appeared on the table of contents page In the textual analysis of the 13 feature articles, the foreground against which the narrative was present is the fact that rock climbing is a male dominated sport Eight out of the 13 feature articles mentioned the climbers romantic relationships with men or raising their children thus emphasizing their heterosexuality Through emphasizing the women’s heterosexuality as wife, mother, or girlfriend, highlighting their physical appearances, and infantilizing the female rock climber, the female climbers were “pulled back” into patriarchal ideals of proper feminine behavior

Historical Changes in Women’s Rock Climbing Participation:

Historical Changes in Women’s Rock Climbing Participation As with many athletic endeavors, rock climbing and mountaineering are often thought to be unfit for female participation as many believe that women do not possess the requirements of physical strength or mental fortitude to participate in such a demanding and dangerous undertaking There have been increases in women’s participation but it is hindered by the assumption that men are better built to withstand rock climbing In a study,  39 world-class climbers (21 males, 18 females) were assessed immediately prior to competition at an international World Cup sport climbing championship Values for the height-weight ratio and sum of seven skinfolds in the female finalists were very near those of the male finalists, which may indicate that reduction of body mass and percent fat are primary adaptations in these female athletes and females can be just as adapted to rock climbing as men Women bear possible fears of not being physically fit enough to participate or being unladylike, which hinders leisure participation At the same time women have broken the societal boundaries of what is traditionally male and have dominated in rock climbing

Traditional Ideals:

Traditional Ideals The fact that rock climbing is a traditionally male sport relates back to the crisis of masculinity Due to a loss of masculine identification during the 19 th century shift from an agricultural lifestyle to one of industrialization and urbanization, men dealt with this “crisis of masculinity” through sports Men felt they were able to reclaim their masculinity through sports and physical activity because it was lost in their home and work life Victorian men disciplined themselves through strict physical exercise while men outside the middle class took a more informal approach to sports Sport has developed as a male preserve, a domain in which men expressed and cultivated masculinity through athletic competition Rock climbing is an activity that fits in with the male claim to masculinity

Rock Climbing and the Victorian Ideal:

Rock Climbing and the Victorian Ideal Throughout many historical periods, women have been perceived as the weaker sex and it was believed to make "running, throwing, striking, and climbing activities more difficult for her than the typical man” Women were believed to be physically and biologically incapable of participating in physical activity and sport and girls were instead usually confined to the house and not allowed to run, jump, and play actively because the emotional strain of physical leisure experiences would be injurious to the mental well-being of women In a study performed by Watson and Pulford , test scores suggested that people who are attracted to high risk sports tend to be at the extroverted and emotionally stable end of the scale, with a tendency to exhibit Type A characteristics which conflict with the Victorian ideal of soft-spoken women Such conflicts between the cultural and social ideals of a woman and rock climbing suggest the male domination of the sport Women may not participate in rock climbing because their idea of their body image may lead to restraints in leisure participation Me climbing 

Personal Challenges:

Personal Challenges I had participated in rock climbing five years ago, but have not participated until now due to fears of how I would appear to others, the fear that I would fall, the fear of being high off the ground, and the fear of harming myself While rock climbing, I felt slightly anxious and out of control of the situation when I reached the top I challenged myself to push myself to make it to the top and pushed myself to continue trying other walls In a study, The Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule were administered to all climbers just before a competition. Analysis indicated that the mean Negative Affect score of women climbers before the difficult competition was higher than the mean Negative Affect scores of men before the competition, which points to the fact women are generally more anxious before rock climbing A qualitative study of a community of rock climbers indicated that self-determination was an important element that determined satisfaction within the rock climbing experience, particularly for women climbers, which points to the importance of determination when rock climbing We we were all apprehensive at first  Me climbing and reaching the top

Personal Insights:

Personal Insights I realized that I was able to push myself to participate in more rock climbing than I thought I was capable of Although there are many stereotypes about the abilities of females to participate in male oriented sports, it can be done just as well as men, and I even saw young girls rock climbing Rock climbing builds trust between you and your partner, and is a great bonding experience as seen from the families participating

Rock Climb Again?:

Rock Climb Again? I would definitely go rock climbing again because it was rewarding to meet a personal goal of reaching the top It was definitely a bonding experience with my sorority sisters because we all were successful in reaching the top and overcoming our fears In addition, findings suggest that a climbing program with higher volume of meters climbed can influence grip strength, upper body muscular endurance and the amount of relative body cellular mass In a study it was found that indoor rock climbing is a good activity to increase cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular endurance Overall rock climbing is a fun and challenging way to get exercise and build endurance


References Baláš , Jiří , BarboraStrejcová , TomáasMalý , Lucia Malá , and Andrew J. Martin. ”Changes In Upper Body Strength and Body Composition After 8 Weeks Indoor Climbing In Youth." 2009. Web. 18 Feb. 2011. Cahn, Susan K. "The New Type Of Athletic Girl." Coming on Strong: Gender and Sexuality in Twentieth-century Women's Sport . New York: Free, 1994. 7-30. Freysinger , Valeria J., and Susan M. Shaw. "Many Voices: Historical Perspectives on Women's Leisure." Both Gains and Gaps: Feminist Perspectives on Women's Leisure . By Karla A. Henderson. Venture. 27-68. Print. HulyaAsci , F., GiyasettinDemirhan , CananKoca , and S. CemDinc . "Precompetitive Anxiety and Affective State of Climbers In Indoor Climbing Competition." SPORTDiscus . Apr. 2006. Web. 18 Feb. 2011. Kiewa , Jackie. "Control Over Self and Space in Rockclimbing ." SPORTDiscus . 2001. Web. 18 Feb. 2011. Mermier , C.M, R.A. Robergs , S.M. McMinn, and V.H. Heyward. "Energy Expenditure and Physiological Responses During Indoor Rock Climbing." SPORTDiscus . Sept. 1997. Web. 18 Feb. 2011. "Petticoats and Harnesses: Women in The History of Climbing." Women Climbing . Web. 18 Feb. 2011. <http:// www.womenclimbing.com/climb/essay.html >. Vodden -McKay, Sarah, and Lea Ann Schell. "Climbing High or Falling Flat? Representations of Female Rock Climbers in Climbing Magazine (1991-2004)." Journal of Research on Women and Gender (2010): 136-51. Print. Watson, Alison E., and Briony D. Pulford . "Personality Difference In High Risk Sports Amateurs and Instructors." SPORTDiscus . Aug. 2004. Web. 18 Feb. 2011. Watts, P.B., D.T. Martin, and S. Durtschi . "Anthropometric Profiles of Elite Male and Female Competitive Sport Rock Climbers." SPORTDiscus . Apr. 1993. Web. 18 Feb. 2011.


Images http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61HVEPSX5ML._SS500_.jpg http://www.climbing.com/photo/image/1990covers/climbing-magazine-120.jpg http://kazrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/rock-climbing.jpg http://www.climbandmore.com/upload/Image/training/Lynn_Hill.jpg http://www.sportsposterwarehouse.com/catImages/rockclimbdetermination07pp-1.jpg

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