Feminism in Climbing, some compassionate thoughts from Melise Edwards

Jan 22 • Locations • 4278 Views • 3 Comments on Feminism in Climbing, some compassionate thoughts from Melise Edwards

by Melise Edwards (banner photo of the author on Bum Boy, Horse Pens 40, Alabama. Photo courtesy of the author.) 

There has been a lot of recent discussion on feminism in the climbing community and our society as a whole. This has been an amazing opportunity for reflection and I’d like to offer a few thoughts:

The climbing community is not a magical bubble void of more widespread societal issues.

Women actively trying to fight for equality should not be seen as threatening. Women trying to cultivate support for other women does not suggest that in the same breath we would like to tear men down. Raising my voice does not mean I have the intention of silencing another.

It is incredibly demoralizing to tell others that they are being too sensitive, that our society is too sensitive, when the real issue is that you fail to empathize and understand what it might be like to be in someone else’s shoes. It is shameful to tell another person that their unique experiences are too difficult to unpack, too questionable or plainly imagined.

Lastly, it’s hard to respect emotionally heated arguments or points made with anger, regardless of intentions. With any challenging topic, engage in constructive conversation and empathize with your listeners if you would like to be genuinely heard or understood.

photo by Stefan Baatz

Melise Edwards  has been climbing for over seven years and originally hails from Hendersonville, North Carolina. You can read more of her work at her website. She works as a lab technician at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, Washington. 
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3 Responses to Feminism in Climbing, some compassionate thoughts from Melise Edwards

  1. Valerie Welbourn says:

    Well Said!

  2. Ann Bradley says:

    Dear Melise,
    Great to “see” you again and thought your article was spot on. Keep climbing; keep writing.

    • Melise says:


      Sorry for the late reply, but thank you so much for your comment! You are so wonderful! Hope you are doing well!


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