What can climbers teach us about #elevatorgate?

I've refrained from commenting on #elevatorgate snafu, mostly because I feel like I can't add anything original and neither side is making any sense any more. Or at least, the extremests on both sides are drowning out the people who are making sense. For my part, it seems to me like everyone did some things wrong. Elevator dude acted a bit creepy, he probably shouldn't have done that. Watson called out a student who dared contradict her and lumped that student in with misogynists when she couldn't defend herself, Watson probably shouldn't have done that. I'm not sure why people couldn't just walk away with some lessons learned, but there it is.* But all of this was on my mind when I saw this thread on Reddit last week:

Jessa Younker bouldering. Phew! I think I'm in love

Which linked to this picture:

Jessa Younker bouldering (Source for all the photos in this post)

I clicked the link, and my first thought was, I admit, "wow, hot." The first few comments were predictable affirmations of her actractiveness, and then I saw this exchange:

Screen Shot 2011-08-09 at 12.57.08 PM.png

... and other responses ranging from the asinine to the thoughtful. For those of you unfamiliar with reddit, users can vote up or down on posts and comments, and that comment about the locker-room atmosphere currently has the second highest rating (right behind someone who posted a larger-resolution image for people to use as their desktop image). And at this point, a lot of the comments that just say "wow, hot" were down-voted. So that's at least progress right?

The major criticism was that this photo is just a glamour shot showing off cleavage - not really showing her skill. By all accounts, Younker is a fantastic climber, so why not show off her climbing ability, especially in a forum about climbing? Like this one:

Jessa Younker works the Corkscrew (V6).jpg

My impression has been that climbers in general are the coolest community of people ever, and I think this was reaffirmed here. A bunch of people made great points about wanting women to feel comfortable in the community (climbing in general or that subreddit), and there was some good debate about whether or not the reaction was appropriate. Hopefully some consciousness was raised, and of course there are going to be guys who won't get it, but most of the discussion was thoughtful and civil. Why can't people bahave this way everywhere on the internet?

PS - Some pictures of awesome female climbers doing retardedlyincredibly hard stuff (also from that thread on reddit) after the jump.

Plus, a video.

Emily Stifler: Emily Stifler and The Corkscrew (V6).jpg

Jen Vennon: Jen Vennon on the Big Easy boulder.jpg

Dumpster Barbecue, 5.13c from Rock & Ice on Vimeo.