The whole night was fantastic, it was full of talented women from all areas and all sports and I was absolutely honoured to be a part of it.
Below were the questions asked of myself and the panel along answers I wrote after the event, with a bit more clarity.
A greater representation of women in all extreme sports will always contribute to a greater number of people talking about sports like climbing or snowboarding and hopefully taking them up.
I am so passionate about the lifestyle benefits of climbing; the way it has the ability to change so many peoples’ lives in a positive way. Climbing is a perfect vehicle for people who may be struggling at home, in school or within themselves to gain more confidence, improve their health and outlook on life.
So to me, it’s not that the representation of women because they are women that is important, it is because women represent such a huge amount of people in the population that extreme sports could help if they were to become involved in them. To help women join into extreme sports we first need an improved and greater representation of the women already involved in those sports.
I know its cliché to say this but role models are such an important aspect of any sport. However, you do not get role models until you have a huge base of grass route athletes, so actually I believe the biggest factor to helping voices to come through is the size of the core or base.
The number of novices forming the base of a pyramid really has to be strong and diverse to help elevate and push role models to the top – role models do not rise up on their own. The average athletes or hobbyists really drive them up by liking, sharing, and often literally crying out for someone to lead them.
This highlights why the beginnings of sporting lives are so important. Building up that base level, increasing confidence and hunger to try hard and importantly being seen to try hard is crucial to building a pyramid that is stable enough to keep those role models and their voices to the top.
Secondly, after recently talking to Holly and Sam at Bloc I have once again seen sadly (or at least considered) the idea that women’s voices simply are not always heard in the same way as men’s, where a suggestion from a woman in a group of men may go unnoticed and a man’s exact same comment will be acted upon.
Now I’m not sure of the accuracy of that and I struggle with thinking about it because I am a man and I’m fairly confident – I do not do that (but perhaps I do, I guess that’s the point they were making), however it does make me think that while we are trying to work out what women can do to help get there voices heard and how and what to create that perhaps it’s not the fact that women are not shouting loud enough, or not making the right films, or doing the biggest jumps or hardest climbs, but that we need instead to start educating men about the realities of the way women feel about us and way we act around them, react to them and dare I say even stifle them and their ideas (hopefully without knowing, if at all).
Nights like the shextreme.tv film festival, more specific sessions and women only events is key to the success of diversifying the media. I know many who dislike the idea that women specific ‘anything’ is needed however I absolutely believe that women firstly need their own arena until the playing field is levelled.
I mentioned this earlier, but I believe that the base or participation is the crux of the situation. We need a huge and growing base of women in each sport to make sure that nights like this and other similar events always sell out and continue to grow.
Online we also need the equivalent, with the internet and social media as it stands now it has become so easy to lose people and lose their great achievements in the mix of streams of social media pages and sites and life. However, with a large base of active members who are talking, shouting about and sharing what they see and love, you cannot help but create a media landscape that is more diverse.
We of course need those who are skilled, talented, and with enough drive like Ruth to put on events like Shextreme festival and others to create these beautiful films and other works but without all those aspiring people they would get washed away and stay unseen. I guess what I am saying is it’s just called ‘support’, support to actively improve diversity in the media. We have to support it and every possible occasion in every possible way.
[fusion_text]After the recent competition at Bloc (9/9/15). I recorded myself climbing all the problems with the intention of releasing the videos to help out all those struggling with the solutions. However life got the better of me, it got really busy and I actually forgot I had produced them, I was tempted to leave them unseen as the problem numbers have been taken down but thought it was a shame not to share some of them. I have added the 4 climbs that most people asked me for help with.
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Matt Cox (Sponsored by RedChili) has done it again, in between working hard, creating babies and not much climbing, has, after a few visits completed the Deepwater solo climb Adrenochrome which goes at the solid grade of 8a.
Not only did Matt complete Adrenochrome, a must do project of his, he did it “ground up” or I suppose sea up. Climbing a route “ground up” means to climb the route with out looking at the top out holds, abseiling to look at the route or top roping the line, the only way you know where and what the holds are like is from what you can see from the ground or as you climb the route, that means that as you hopefully reach a high point on each attempt you still have no idea what is coming up and on a 8a thats is a big task.
No matter how it did it, it is was ace to be there to watch him and put together a little video of the route in between my falls of a lot of other routes.
New Bristol based charity kicks off with great promise. ClimbUp Bristol is an idea inspired by a group of local climbers to give young people in danger of social exclusion a route back into mainstream life.
Visit us at @ www.climbup.org.uk
The charity offers students one to one mentoring from an experienced climber, the simple aim being to offer the young person a new life passion, a new peer group and a new set of values.
Anyone involved with climbing or bouldering will tell you that this is one of the positive side effects of the sport, with its focus on trust, physical strength and mental endeavour.
Bristol is the ideal city to open this new venture. It has recently become the foremost city in the UK for the sport of climbing, there are now four purpose-built indoor centers and the area is surrounded by natural cliffs such as Cheddar gorge and the Avon gorge.
The aim of ClimbUp Bristol is to be completely life changing for few individuals rather than giving lip service to everyone.