A rock climber has called out men for making “sexist” comments about her strength and abilities, while making excuses for their own capabilities, while she recorded herself climbing outdoors.
In a video posted on Monday, Jess, who goes by the username @hiker.jess on TikTok, where she regularly shares videos of herself rock climbing, could be seen preparing to scale a boulder.
However, as she began climbing, two men began commenting on the strength required to undertake the activity, with one man heard telling the other: “I’ve been interested in this but I don’t have the strength.
“Now this has gotta be harder for women because women carry more weight in their [unintelligible]…”
The comment prompted another man to add that “a lot of people think that it’s just about upper body,” but that it’s “also a lot of thought too”.
“Yeah, thought and body positioning too,” the men could be heard continuing, with one adding: “Yeah, because, like, she’s probably not stronger than me, I could [lift more] than her, but look at her go.
“And women normally carry more weight… they carry more weight…”
The conversation was then interrupted as Jess made her way back to where her phone had been propped up to film her climb.
In a text caption placed on the video, she wrote: “This is the most sexist thing that has ever happened while climbing. Don’t be that guy.”
In the video caption, she reiterated: “Just don’t be that guy,” before hashtagging #sexist, #toxicmasculinity, and #strongwomen.
As of Wednesday, the video has been viewed more than 2.8m times, with viewers horrified by the men’s comments.
“How do you stay silent? I’d be screaming by the time you were done, ”one person wrote, while another viewer said:“ ‘ella She’s probably not as strong as me.’ But sir, you can’t do what she just did.”
Someone else added: “They weren’t talking to each other, they were making sure she heard them. Toxic men seek to undermine strong women.”
In a follow-up video also captured by Jess’s phone, the men could be heard continuing to discuss the strength required for rock climbing, with one suggesting that he would need to “drop 30 pounds” before joking that he thinks “smoking helps”.
The man then proceeded to attempt to climb the rock in question before acknowledging that he is “too weak” and exclaiming: “This sh*t’s hard!”
In the comments, viewers continued to criticize the sexist comments, with one viewer writing: “Men are so violently and publicly insecure then wonder why we don’t take them seriously.”
“How humiliating for him to just exist like that,” someone else wrote.
In response to numerous questions from viewers regarding whether Jess confronted the men, she explained in another follow-up video that she didn’t feel “confident or safe enough” in her surroundings to say something to the men.
In the video, Jess also noted that the man wasn’t a climber, but rather “just a bystander,” which she said made it even worse when “nobody in the climbing community turned around to say anything”.
While Jess added that she didn’t think of something she could have said to the men at the time, she said she felt in the moment like she was “on display”.
“And anything I would have done was going to be criticized by this man,” she continued. “Out of fear of falling from not having a spotter, and also not wanting him to feel like he was right, I got my stuff, moved to a different part of the park, and ended the day with a fun send.”
In the caption, Jess added that there are “a lot of things I could have said,” but that her “safety in the situation was the most important [thing] take”.
The explanation prompted support from viewers, who applauded the TikToker for her acknowledgment and handling of a situation she didn’t feel safe in.
“I’m sorry sis I totally understand you staying silent. You’re so strong! I’m proud of you!” one viewer wrote.
The Independent has contacted Jess for comment.