Captain Tits Out: everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask

Ahoy. Captain Tits Out reporting.

Let me take you back to that defining moment when I’ve decided that I do in fact want to take my shirt (and sports bra) off for the camera, with the intent of publishing the result.

This one.

Captain Tits Out climbing completely shirtless for the first time. Photo by Jonathan Littauer.

No, I don’t identify as someone who’s seeking attention or approval of their actions and/or being (even though sometimes I may get emotionally affected by certain reactions; awareness and inner work help me sort it out though). If you read that into my digital or analog social presence, maybe look inwards.

And no, my shirtless photos do not imply that from now on I will ALWAYS post shirtless photos. Or that I am always shirtless whenever I climb or do other sports. I just want to be able to take the damn thing off when I feel hot and sweaty. Like any guy out there can.

Or when I feel like it in an environment that calls for it. Such as fishing in a quiet place at a lake. Photo by Jonathan Littauer.

However, I do identify as someone who is tired/angry/annoyed/perplexed at the fact that “a thing X” is ok to perform for someone who is biologically different from me.  Or that their opinion is somehow more worthy to listen to. Or that they get paid more for the same type of work/job similarly performed. Or that somehow my biological make up means that I belong to an inferior species.

For me, it’s not always, not across the board, and I am blessed with A TON of friends, collaborators, and co-workers, that happen to be male, and fully appreciating and respecting other sexes and genders.

I consider myself quite privileged, at that, because I don’t have to battle the constraints of other UTTERLY BAFFLING AND NONSENSICAL social constructs such as race or sexual orientation. I also don’t have to struggle to find a sip of clean water and food for the day. I have shelter and live in a safe enough area that I don’t have to face the daily possibility of rape, assault, or death. I don’t love this word (because I do believe that the reason I am where I am and who I am is because of the choices I made, work I put in, and, well, opportunity I had the sense to notice), but I’m lucky.

Captain Tits Out is not about showing off my climber’s back (even though I do like the way it looks, it’s a by-product of the lifestyle that I chose to lead);

Captain Tits Out is not about exhibitionism;

Captain Tits Out is not a call for nudism.

Captain Tits Out is one of the many ways to showcase the ridiculousness of inequity, injustice, and human clinging to power.

Captain Tits Out is one of the many ways of appreciating one’s body for what it does, not for just the way it looks. And even if it WERE about the way it looks – that there is beauty and purpose and love in all the different types.  Not the sexualized consumerism approach to a FECKIN’ HUMAN BODY!

Do you know how long it took me to come to terms and start to love my own body (a not-tall-enough, not-curvy-enough, too-muscular, too-flat, and a bunch of other bullshit from the “beauty industry standard” (wtf really) perspective)?

30-some years.

To not give a feck about what others might perceive of my appearance? If I’m honest about it, still working on it.

I might be coming across to most (? some? who knows) as this strong, steady, willful female trail blazer. Roar.

For all those concerned – this is how far my nipples are from the wall. So no, not afraid they would get all scratched. Conversely, I would not climb on slab with my shirt off. Photo by Alex – a chance encounter at the crag.

In reality, every time you see that photo of me with that shirt and bra off? – I’m grappling with the ingrained messages dating back to infancy, that a woman can’t do this, can’t do that; a woman is modest, pretty, and needs to keep her mouth shut; a woman knows her place (specifically – kitchen, laundry, and kids); a woman doesn’t have opinions, much less acts on them;

in reality, while I would like a world where socially, a woman=a man=any combination of the genitalia, gonads, and chromosomes, I’m battling with “not-good-enough” because “a woman=a man=any combination of the genitalia, gonads, and chromosomes” DOES NOT FIT into what’s considered “GOOD” in our wonderful developed world; and on that note, WHY ARE WE STILL OPERATING FROM “GOOD-AND-BAD” BINARY in our wonderful developed world????

In reality, while my nipples are still unscratched (thank you very much to those who have expressed their deep concern with me climbing shirtless; again: if it didn’t serve the purpose of the activity, I wouldn’t have taken it off), inside, I’m bleeding – sometimes on the outside: one of the perks of being female – bleeding from all those stabbing wounds of being a misfit. And I can’t even fathom the pain I would have felt had I been not hetero, or had I been born with a different skin color, or if I had a body much more outside of the above-mentioned “standards”.

At the end of the day, all I want is to have the freedom, the choice, to take my shirt off when it’s hot, and I’m sweating; and for my body to not be sexualized. Is that too much to ask?

Beautiful human and a kindred soul Sissy on a wall in Tirol, in the Austrian Alps. @redpoisonfox

Don’t answer that, it’s rhetorical. Clearly.

Of course, there are many nuances. There is a nuance of sexualizing male bodies as well. Trans bodies. Any body can be sexualized because we have us here a system that views human (and any living being) bodies and human (and any living being) lives as an expendable commodity.

There is a nuance of “sex sells”.

There is a nuance of “nurture and nature”.

There is a nuance of “to each their own”.

There is a nuance of comfort, stability, and status quo.

There is a nuance of power. Of Power to (do something) and Power over (someone).

There are many nuances.

And there are many people who are feckin’ tired of this, fed up, had enough. There are many more who would just like to take the damn shirt off on a hot day and not have to worry about scars, size, rolls, wrinkles, stretch marks, and the various social implications. Like my friend and conspirator Zof said in her own post: “Maybe when I get my tits to have the same tan as most of my body, we will move closer to equal pay and better gender equity”.

I may not be doing this in the best way possible (for someone else), but I’m doing it in the way that I resonate with the most and that helps me re-write the messages. And I feel others, resonating with me. Here’s to the ripple.

Co-founder and the mastermind behind Women’s Bouldering Festival at Fontainebleau: bare-torsoed and bare-souled, wrestling a boulder, named, fittingly, Behemoth. Photo by the inimitable Andy Day.

 

Captain Tits Out – out.

 

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