October 15, 2009

"Don't take this the wrong way, but it was like watching the hippo ballet in Fantasia.”

A description of a fat woman rock climbing in an article about how rock climbing is the one true gender-neutral sport.

56 comments:

Sheepman said...

Chess should be a gender neutral sport.

Salamandyr said...

Fencing is gender neutral. Upper body strength is useful, but considerably less important than speed, accuracy, and flexibility.

Height and reach are more often the deciding factors than strength.

Brent said...

Careful. A lot of guys like the big girls.

t-man said...

I find the the hippo ballet pleasingly hypnotic. I also like to jiggle my jello, though.

Bissage said...

Men have superior grip-strength but that’s mostly a function of informal training.

TMink said...

See, there is no gender neutral anything. Gender is an inherently powerful and beautiful aspect of the human experience.

Denial is futile and foolish.

Trey

TMink said...

Good one Bissage.

Really quite subtle and droll.

Trey

Expat(ish) said...

@Bissage - ROTLF

The actual article is worth reading - the quote makes a lot more sense in context.

I was struck by her comment that the luge was not neutral b/c women start from a different place. Same in golf for women, but once past the start the course is the same.

Somehow that seems different from the regular co-ed rules that bend the game/sport in an attempt to furnish false equality.

-XC

wv: mulanted. When you mylantum bottle breaks in your gym bag.

PoNyman said...

I think a potential definition of sport might be kept to steroid enhanceable activities.

Salamandyr said...

As I like to point out at times like these...

words have gender

people have sex.

TRO said...

"As I like to point out at times like these...

words have gender

people have sex."

Bravo!

chickenlittle said...

I guess I missed the memo on why is it important (or even interesting) to have gender neutral sports.

Kris said...

The most sex neutral sports are equestrian events. Men & women compete with and against each other at every level, all the way to the Olympics. So, the wall isn't the great equalizer, the horse is.

Shanna said...

I would think the difference in upper body strength would be a factor in rock climbing.

Roger J. said...

What Kris said--I would specifically include polo (definitely equestrian as you suggest). I have watched polo matches with "coed" teams and there appears to be no difference between men and women's play.

PoNyman said...

According to a friend of mine, women have a distinct advantage in water polo. There is a lot of underwater action and it can get pretty nasty and painful.

DADvocate said...

We took my son's Boy Scout to an indoor rock climbing place last spring. They loved it. There were quite a few females there who were quite good, including one who may have been better than anyone.

teenager Tori Allen is an amazing female climber and has won many championships. She has the grip strength of an NFL player. She lived in Africa when younger and learned to climb by climbing trees with monkeys. Really. She's also tiny. She's now a pole vaulter at Florida State.

Robin said...

The part about the hippo ballet isn't nice, but it is funny. I don't get the "Don't take this the wrong way", though.

It insults while commanding the target not to notice she's been insulted: "Don't take this the wrong way, but you look like a tub of lard."

AllenS said...

Rock climbing is usually done in a single file up the rock face. Which brings me to think about the old adage: If you're not the lead dog, the view never changes.

Schorsch said...

Rock climbers and marathon runners are the last bastion of anorexia among my academic friends. There is a social competition to be the skinniest girl on the cliff face that draws in otherwise reasonable, educated, intelligent girls. Sad.

TosaGuy said...

"I would think the difference in upper body strength would be a factor in rock climbing."

The majority of rock climbing is lower body. You use your arms for balance and to put your body in a position so your legs and core can do most of the work. Even those with the strongest upper body cannot climb very long relying on upper body strength. In advanced climbing with dynamic moves and capturing projecting wall faces then upper body strength is needed.

The great thing about rock climbing is that most climbs offer a variety of novice and advanced paths. Each climber is different and all can be successful with their own method.

chickenlittle said...

Rock climbing is usually done in a single file up the rock face. Which brings me to think about the old adage: If you're not the lead dog, the view never changes.

Explains why some men might be willing to surrender the lead in this sport and perfer to stay behind. :P

MadisonMan said...

Rock climbing is like Hot-Air Ballooning without buoyancy.

I'll pass.

knox said...

Trey, glad to see you back!

peter hoh said...

One of my former students found her niche in climbing. I found a picture of her on flickr doing something called a heel hook. Looks like she's defying gravity.

She never did have much use for the rules.

Pogo said...

The search for the elusive Gender Neutral Sport, the Holy Grail of minor recreational activities, has finally been solved.

Peace breaks out in war-torn cities, cats play with dogs, rainbows spontaneously erupt in cloudless skies, Yoko sleeps with Paul, Taiwan forgives China, and Liz Taylor remarries all of her exes.

I can now sleep the restful sleep previously known only to post-coital males and sociopaths.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Shooting sports strike me as gender-neutral.

Elliott A said...

Mr. Spock told Capt. Kirk that "you must become one with the rock".

rhhardin said...

Gender neutral sports meant sports girls weren't interested in, in my day.

What do the girls do about the welts in fencing sabre?

Joe said...

What a dumb article: toward the end after making all the neutral claims, the writer then admits that the top levels of the sport are dominated by men.

Any sport is gender neutral at the low end. Most are even age neutral at that level.

As for fencing, it's not gender neutral. I fenced in college. Our best women fencer could easily beat me, but simply wasn't in the same league as our best male fencer. Yes, there are a handful of women who could do very well against the best men, but it's a minority.

Salamandyr said...

What do the girls do about the welts in fencing sabre?

In the case of my wife, return them and probably doubly so.


As for fencing, it's not gender neutral. I fenced in college. Our best women fencer could easily beat me, but simply wasn't in the same league as our best male fencer. Yes, there are a handful of women who could do very well against the best men, but it's a minority.

Maybe so, but my experience hasn't born that out. Other than size, I have not noticed any particular advantage a man has over a woman on the piste. There may be some psychological factors, but I don't think psychological differences are what we are talking about when we start discussing gender neutrality.

DannyNoonan said...

Ultra-running. As the distance gets longer, women get closer to men. There is a point at which they get better.

Larry J said...

Competitive aerobatics is gender neutral. Men and women compete against one another as equals. After all, the plane doesn't know or care who is flying it. Some women - such as Patty Wagstaff have done extremely well. Patty has won 3 US aerobatic championships as well as winning gold, silver and bronze medals in international competition. Anyone who has seen her perform in an airshow knows she is an extremely talented pilot.

chickenlittle said...

Gender neutral sports meant sports girls weren't interested in, in my day.

"in my day" as a disclaimer really deserves an acronym for convenient internet usage, sort of like IMO has.

Pogo said...

Birth and death are gender neutral, but there's little sport in it.

Pogo said...

In my day, "in my day" was a phrase spoken only by the superfluously aged.

TMink said...

Well thanks knox!

Trey

DADvocate said...

DannyN. - Last year in the Western States 100 the male winner beat the female winner by over 2 hours. In this article that shows the percent of difference in male/female world records, women come closest in the 100 meters run with a 7.37% difference.

J Lee said...

The guy who animated the hippos dancing also animated this two years later. As far as I know, there was never any rock-climbing animation involved, but I really would have liked to have seen it...

rhhardin said...

The welts from fencing sabre are from inexperienced opponents, not something you'd retaliate for.

If you slash as beginners tend to do, the blade hits you even if parried, just from bending, but it doesn't count as a score.

A room full of beginners winds up with everybody having welts.

David said...

Pick up sticks.

Skyler said...

In amateur sports, there will often be women that can compete with men. Billy Jean King beat Bobby what's his name in a tennis game (that was probably thrown, to be honest and he was about 20 years older I'm guessing), but in the rest of the world of sports that are taken seriously, men always, always outperform women at the highest levels -- Even in race car driving, for Pete's sake, and that has very little to do with strength or size at all.

Eli Blake said...

Chess should be a gender neutral sport.

I once knew a girl who could play pretty good chess but her real ace in the hole was that she was buxom and she'd beat guys because she'd lean over the board with her cleavage on full display and they would get distracted.

I think she knew it too.

Photog714 said...

Ann, predictably, ignored the leading clause: "Don't take the wrong way."

Don't take this wrong way, but sometimes I think Ann's blondness goes a little deeper than the roots.

Shanna said...

In all the examples given where women are even, there is an equalizer (whether it be a gun, plane or horse). Physically, at the top levels, men tend to beat women in sports.

I'm not stressed about finding a sport where that doesn't happen. Who cares? In regular, run of the mill sports you see women beat guys all the time, just not at the very top. But the very top is not where most of us live.

Skyler said...

But the very top is not where most of us live.

Speak for yourself. :)

Joe said...

Bill Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in a match set up so lopsided, Riggs didn't stand a chance. Shame really since I think King stood a good chance beating him anyway, at least in three sets, perhaps not five.

Joe said...

Okay, I caved: You might say the matched between Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs was rigged.

Aahh.

kentuckyliz said...

Oh lovely. Pick on overweight ppl exercising.

I say good for them. You're better of fat and fit than thin and unfit.

I hope you dance!

Let the hippos dance!!!!!!!!!

kalmia said...

Gender becomes less and less important the older you get.

ironrailsironweights said...

in the rest of the world of sports that are taken seriously, men always, always outperform women at the highest levels -- Even in race car driving, for Pete's sake, and that has very little to do with strength or size at all

With the exception of drag racing, women don't seem to compete very much in auto racing despite the existence of the vehicles as "equalizers." In particular, NASCAR - which in America is increasingly synonymous with auto racing - is a men's club. I'm not sure whether this is due to cultural factors or whether physical strength in more important than one might think.

One admittedly fringe sport in which women outcompete men is long-distance ocean swimming. Lynne Cox is the top competitor in the world, male or female. It is likely that women's inherently higher bodyfat percentages give them an advantage in this sport. This may also hold true in ultramarathoning, though I believe men still have a (slight) edge.

Peter

Evan said...

The reason the much-maligned instructor added "don't take this the wrong way" is because it was a compliment! Maybe my knowledge of Fantasia isn't as deep as some others, but aren't the dancing hippos the paradigm of,for lack of a better term, oversized grace? The quote is completely in keeping with the rest of the article (Joe might be interested to know that there is in fact a second half; what he calls "near the end" is actually halfway through). Climbing ability depends on lots of things. Upper body strength helps, as anyone who's tried to get past an overhanging ledge can attest, but there're lots of other factors. Lynn Hill is a perfect example: I bet I can bench press more than she can, but her flexibility, power-to-weight, and creativity make me look like the total poser I am.

Deb said...

Gender becomes less and less important the older you get.
Alas, so does sex, or so I'm told. :-(

wv: mustr. Along with catsp, what i like on my hambr.

Kirk Parker said...

Pogo,

Procreation is not gender neutral, and there is plenty of sport in it. Hmmmm, they say correlation is not causation, but maybe we're onto something here...

k*thy said...

Rock climbing, more than anything else, involves core strength and flexibility.

I love the visual I get with the hippo quote.

kentuckyliz said...

I rock climbed while overweight.

Gives great balance. The more you do it, the more you trust yourself.

Fave moment, jamming my thumb knuckle into a crevice and hanging from it. Weird moment.

You develop great quad strength because you make really large steps up--you have to push your quads hard and center your body weight over that leg quickly.

You can climb without a lot of upper body strength.

You develop ways of gripping barely perceptable swellings in the rock--that takes outer grip strength and sensitivity, past the last knuckle.

WV conin
the barbirian