Why Does Sex Sell?

As I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on my couch this week, I’ve likely read every single article, link or blog post published within the past month.

Don’t get me started on all the movies I watched!

In my medicated searching, I stumbled across this post on GrindTV’s website. Take a sec to check it out.

With a title of “The Coolest Mountain Babe Video Ever,” I had high hopes. Would this be similar to Linsey Dyer’s all-female ski film, Pretty Faces, released later this month? I mean, sure, they used the word babe in the title. Not promising, but I can handle that. I have my feminist beliefs but I like to think I’m realistic. Besides, I call Will babe! Assuming this is a wicked outdoor film featuring some kickass women, I could easily overlook the word babe. And besides, maybe it would be a clever play on words, similar to Pretty Faces? {Dyer cleverly named the ski film Pretty Faces for two reasons: to showcase the fantastic female skiers, but also because they shred some gnarly mountain faces!}

But then I watched the clip that GrindTV posted. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

Apparently #MTNBabes is both a somewhat-popular hashtag on Instagram and a website , showcasing women shedding their clothes in various outdoor locations. The Bivy, a production company full of adrenaline junkies, took that as a cue and produced this film full of scantily clad women flaunting their goods.

Do you sense the disdain in my voice? I think The Bivy is a talented group of individuals and I like the other video clip included in the Grind’s post. But what I don’t like is the gratuitous ass grabbing and boob shots. Don’t tell me that you, “don’t want to lose that appeal of beautiful girls out in nature doing awesome things,” when you are only showcasing them jumping off a paddleboard in their bikinis and sexually dribbling water down their cleavage. Call me crazy, but that is not even remotely close to a celebration of outdoor women!


I guess where I get most riled is the juxtaposition between the blatant sexual vibe and the demand that it be classified as a glorification of women. Why can outdoor women only be celebrated half naked and shaking their breasts? Better still, how is that any type of celebration at all? Just because you call a spade a spade doesn’t make it so.

As I said on Twitter, I’m not someone who is typically offended by this stuff. I love ESPN’s Body Issue and think the photos they feature are classy, tasteful, and a pure celebration of some beautiful athletic bodies. To me, they deserve credit for keeping it on the level.

On the other hand, I think The Bivy missed the boat. In fact, I’m not entirely sure what they were trying to accomplish. They mentioned that “it’s hard to argue that sex sells,” but I guess I don’t get that either. If sex sells, who is buying this? Are there women out there who think this is a classy display of outdoor achievement? And for the men: I’d love to hear your thoughts. Is this more appealing than watching some bomb female skiers carve down a mountain face or rip up some waves on a surfboard?

Edited to add: I want to make it clear that while MtnBabes was the inspiration for this video by The Bivy, they had nothing to do with the creation of the film. I’m not thrilled with the idea of MtnBabes in general, but I definitely want people to realize that they are NOT this clip!



  • Reply Dave Sandel at

    So, I tried to watch that video. I had to turn it off with a full 40 sec. left to go.

    But to inject some realism as I do, to your question above: Are there women out there who think this is a classy display of outdoor achievement?


    You already said it, “check out the hashtag on Instagram.”

    There are topless women saluting the mountains, women shredding pow naked, and limitless amounts of scantily clad yoga poses at summits.

    This video, as horrible as it was, simply took what was already out there to the next level…as anyone trying to gain notoriety does.

    And while were on the sexification of what doesn’t need to be sexy, what about crossfit? Never before in my 18 years of gym going have I seen so many booty shorts so short that they look like underwear. Each rep of squats look like their shorts just got swallowed. Shirts? What shirts?

    Before fitness became such a huge “sport”, the only people that deemed it ok to go workout in public looking like that were bodybuilders/figure athletes. And we all thought they were f*cking WEIRD. But now you crossfit, and sexy bodies everywhere, and the limitless marketing machine of the sport. No, they’re not producing clips of a slo-mo ass grab or having models do hip thrusts in bikinis, but they are perpetuating the exact same issue you’re against here. So is it just the level of extremism you’re against, or the overall objectification of women?

    Deep thoughts at 7am are deep. :-p

    • Reply Dave Sandel at

      Oops. Typo towards the end. It says: “and now you crossfit,…” I wasn’t calling you out specifically. I meant it to say, “and now you HAVE crossfit, and sexy bodies everywhere…” It was meant to be in general, as a society. Sorry for any confusion. 😉

      • Reply heather at

        Ha, no worries– I knew you weren’t personally attacking me 🙂 CrossFit is a good example, although I’m not one who strips down to workout so I can’t really attest to it. Truthfully, I don’t have the confidence to workout in a sports bra so that’s not my thing. But, I do dislike how HQ has a tendency to exploit the sexuality in the sport– something they have received heat for. Did you read about all the chaos at the last Games? They took a photo of a competitor climbing a rope, and it was more-or-less a crotch shot. People got PISSED at the exploitation!

        For me, I think the main difference is that this video straight-up says that they are trying to show beautiful women in nature doing awesome things…when it’s not even close to that. There is nothing close to awesome or badass or outdoorsy in this video. Don’t try to sell it as something when it obviously isn’t! Sex sells, and to some extent, I think we have all accepted that. But for the love, please provide some content with it if you’re going that route. Yes, some CrossFitters wear skimpy clothes but if they’re going to try their best and work their asses off, good for them. (Not saying they have to be good– effort is great!) If these girls were doing something awesome instead of grabbing asses, I think I may feel differently.

        Not even sure that’s a coherent thought….I blame the meds 🙂

  • Reply Daniel Podobed at

    Great post. This is a tough scenario when you think about it. Personally, if I ever came across something like this I would be really confused. I see this as a group of beautiful women trying to feel empowered while at the same time being exploited. And that is a huge turn off.

    I was ready to begin my diatribe, but I had to think about the reverse position for a minute. Shouldn’t men or women be allowed to be naked, or dress any way they want without us labeling it as selling sex? Isn’t the passion for the outdoors here sexier than their lack of clothing or the sexuality within the scenes?

    I think in this particular case, the focus was on the sexuality rather than the passion for the outdoors, and it comes across as shallow.

    • Reply heather at

      I agree, Daniel, and I think that is what bothers me. They claim the focus is the outdoors but it so clearly isn’t. You could completely replace this backdrop and put them in a bathtub and it wouldn’t change a thing. Outdoors has nothing to do with this video (in my opinion!) and it bothers me that they try to sell it as such.

  • Reply Cathryn at

    I had to giggle. I found that hashtag recently and was so surprised to see women getting their kit off outdoors. Apparently ‘#Naking’ is a thing too. I just don’t get it. But if I got my boobs out, I don’t think many people would notice!

    • Reply Heidi Nicole at

      I’ve seen people doing what I assume is similar to #naking…but it was just a topless chick hiking in Boulder. I mean, when it’s Boulder you don’t even bother giving the side eye…

      [now if that isn’t a stereotype I don’t know what is, my bad!]

    • Reply heather at

      #Naking?! Off to check that one out!! I’m learning so much today 🙂

  • Reply Heidi Nicole at

    Would I strip down in the wilderness? Sure, why not…it’s nature. But would I take a bajillion perfectly timed and strategically posed photos then post them on the internet? No, because that is just SCREAMING for someone to like me…for all the wrong reasons.

    I think that is the big difference. There are people [women and men] out there that are completely comfortable and confident in their own skin who have no problem hitting up clothing optional hot springs in the middle of the day or lounging in a mountain lake all nudie-like after a long hike. And then there are people [again, women and men] who really, really want to the entire world to believe they are oh, so confident in their own skin and strip off their layers on frigid mountain peaks just for a photo to put on the internet…in hopes of getting all sorts of “you’re badass” and “dat ass” and “wish I was on that mtn” and “so brave” love from the internet.

    [side note: not shaming anyone who has taken or posted said photos, that’s just my take on the *trend* not necessarily the *individual* person doing it.]

    • Reply heather at

      I think you identified something here– I don’t have a problem with people being naked in the wild. It feels freeing and liberating. I get that. But by posting it to social media and then putting some caption about “how awesome the climb today was” or “how wicked the summit” is misleading. You didn’t post your boobs so that people would focus on your outdoor adventure just like this video didn’t focus on that girl’s butt so that we could see how cool SUPing is. It’s exploiting women by classifying it as a “love for the outdoors.” That’s like cheating!

      • Reply Meg at

        I have to agree. I’ve recently been noticing the social media trend of taking your clothes of for a ‘brazen’ summit shot (meant to resemble feminine empowerment?), or I even saw the unfortunate instance of a female who brought a club dress and heels to a summit for what could only be described as a senior photo-style shoot at the top, posted online for that positive reinforcement she inevitably received. Ironically, the comments usually boil down to some women saying ‘Right on, you go girl,’ and then some men making sexual comments, the original women getting angry that the female is objectified, and a fight thus ensues. It does seem like these things are happening for the wrong reasons, to gain that boost in confidence that they’re lacking by posting it online, and not really to further a point or a cause (I’d love to see a group of men and women up there with some #HeForShe signs!!) We can’t discount that these women are part of the problem, as they are exploiting themselves and willing participants.

  • Reply Jillian at

    I thought about this video a lot last night after our Twitter discussion. I kept trying to think about where I wanted to draw the line between empowered bad ass women and objectified sexual presentation. I think there is a pretty clear black and white to the topic, and a whole lot of gray.

    I’ve never thought of myself as the “pretty girl”, and let’s face it – I should never ever wear the booty shorts David mentioned (I just don’t have the thighs for it). I tend to get pretty critical and almost green with envy when I’m around the stereotypical pretty girl, especially if they’re a total bad ass outdoors woman. It’s just jealousy, but I think it makes me draw the line of “not cool” way further up than most. I want to see all women of all shapes, skill levels, and activities feeling empowered to keep on trying new stuff. Not just the pretty girls who can surf and ski and confidently wear thong bathing suit bottoms.

    Oddly enough though, I don’t have an issue with the whole #mtnbabes concept. If you get to the top of a 14er and want to expose yourself as a celebration of your achievement, go for it. I mean, I usually just give my dog a hug and my husband a high five when we summit or survive a crazy experience – but everyone celebrates a little differently: jumping, beer, praying, selfies, etc. I’m willing to bet that if you asked any woman who has done the crazy topless IG shot, they’d tell you it was out of enthusiasm, adrenaline, and celebration. And that is so okay with me.

    But, frankly there is nothing empowering or positive about videos like this. The women who volunteered for this video should be ashamed to have promoted women in this way. All it does is further promote the idea that women must look good and feminine at all times, even when functionality and safety should be a primary concern. It’s the catalyst for why so many women AREN’T getting outdoors. And it’s the catalyst for why finding functional well fitted outdoor gear for women is STILL so friggin hard. These chicks, The Bivy guys, and GrindTV just added to the struggle. Thanks, guys. It wasn’t already hard enough.

    • Reply heather at

      You and I talked about this a lot yesterday, but I do want to say that I appreciate your candidness here! Acknowledging what you did in the second paragraph is pretty open…so thanks 🙂 Takes a lot of guts!

    • Reply Katie at

      OK, I do workout in a sports bra and usually shorter shorts (it’s comfy and I don’t care) Notice I do NOT post this stuff on my Instagram! It terrifies me that you are opening yourself up to all sorts of crazies to hunt you down (I’m a chicken)! I don’t want to be known as that sexy half naked girl strong sure, living life hell yes, but I will NOT post many if any pictures of me in anything compromising for my own safety. Not only that it’s trashy and I may be goofy, blonde and sometimes a fan of thats what she said, but I will NOT be considered trashy I am far above my looks (or most lack there of!).

  • Reply Beth at

    So I like being naked. Maybe that’s a weird thing to admit on the internet but it’s true and my filter level is set to low this morning.

    I also happen to like being naked in nature.

    But this is different. It’s a little bit “I love my body and I love nature” but it’s a lot “I’m doing this for attention.” I sort of bristle at that because I feel like the outdoors is the place where I’m totally allowed to be a sweaty, not-cute, totally me mess. You know?

    (This started out as a lot more thought out but then class happened so…yeah.)

    • Reply heather at

      Agreed. I like being naked too, and while we’re on truth time, I walk around naked all the time. Will is always yelling at me to shut the blinds 🙂 But, I just don’t like the exploitation of women while trying to hoodwink people by classifying it as a “celebration of awesome outdoor enthusiasts.” In this case, it’s insulting because there is the assumption that we don’t see the truth: this video has nothing to do with outdoor women. Put them in a pool and they could be doing the same thing 🙂

  • Reply Erin @ Her Heartland Soul at

    Omg that video is pure ridiculousness. I am not a fan.

    • Reply heather at

      “Pure ridiculousness.” Succinct and to the point; love it!

  • Reply Kelly at

    I’m all for being free in nature, but there definitely is a “look at my body, not my awesome outdoor experience” feel to these photos. Unfortunately, with the growth of social media and technology, I feel like this is only going to get worse.

  • Reply RFC at

    It reminds me of the REEF girls. I never understood how thong bikinis sold flip flops… oh wait. Thongs. I get it now.
    But I digress…somehow sex does sell, it’s an unfortunate reality of marketing 🙁

    • Reply heather at

      Wait, what’s a REEF girl? Like the sandals?

  • Reply Art at

    I would like to be able to say the most profound thing on the comment board, but I’m afraid I’ll come up short. The first thing I’ll say, being a red-blooded American male, is that I like the pictures. I love the backdrops and I think the girls being all gung-ho to do things so they can take their pics is pretty cool. However, I do realize that it’s a gimmick, and not a very clever one. I’d love to hear about some woman who saw the MtnBabes and it inspired them to climb a peak so they could have their own picture, and this in turn sparked a love of the outdoors which is durable and lasting. The tagline of the website (which I peeked at) is to “inspire as many mountain ladies as possible,” but methinks the target is painted around the arrow here. It is as likely that the pics will turn off as many as it turns on to the outdoors.
    I recently read a post on Huff-Po, and a reply on grindtv.com, regarding the social networking pics of yogi’s…with their downward facing dogs in front of a sunset. These pics turned the original writer off to yoga because it gave her the idea that stepping into a studio would make her extremely self-conscious, expecting to encounter a horde of tight-bottomed enthusiasts while she’s just learning the ropes. I have to think these pics can have the same counter-productive effort.
    I think, in conclusion, good on the creators of the website for finding an angle to give themselves a platform to do the things they want to do and, hopefully, earn some money. It’s an honest enough dollar. But, I think the phrase Heather used earlier, “let’s call a spade a spade,” applies to the mtnbabes. The popularity of the mtnbabes is not in their adventures (though they are great adventures) but in the scantily-clad photos.

  • Reply Lynn at

    I’m all for being naked in nature and celebrating human bodies! But being naked in nature isn’t slomo t&a shots – which is, frankly, what this is. Also, it’s very obviously celebrating only one type of body. Athletic, thin, young, etc. If there was some sort of body diversity promoted, I would probably have less of a problem with it.

    • Reply heather at

      Valid point. If it was more diverse, I *may* be more accepting of the film as it is….maybe.

      • Reply Lynn at

        Yeah, I should say “maybe” instead of “probably”.

        • Reply Beth at

          I’m willing to go with “probably.” I mean, who cares what the backdrop is…there isn’t much that celebrates body diversity out there so yeah, probably more accepting.

    • Reply Laurie at

      In addition, those women look like party girls hanging out at the lake. Trying to impress guys. I definitely don’t want guys thinking I’m just waiting to take off my clothes when I hike or kayak or paddleboard. That’s a dangerous idea. I’m there to take in nature, not men.

      • Reply Firewalker at

        Man, that final sentence had me crack up good 🙂
        Fully agree with you.

  • Reply Steve at

    If sex sells (true) in the outdoor industry (not as true) then I’m getting completely naked and making the best selling ski video ever. Since that would work for a guy. It’s such a sustainable business plan…

    • Reply heather at

      I think you’re onto something there, buddy 🙂

    • Reply heather at

      Wait, I actually got distracted though….you don’t think sex sells in the outdoor industry as well as in other industries? Interesting. What makes you say that?

      • Reply Steve at

        To clarify, I think it’s short lived success in the outdoor industry. Everyone can smell the bs that you don’t have that “wow” factor of skills in the mountains and you rely on your appearance. But once people get bored of staring at that, what are you left with?

        • Reply Julie Trevelyan at

          Have you ever been to an Outdoor Retailer show? Quite a few of the companies hire conventionally pretty (young, thin, smiley, long hair) girls to display their products, try to hook retailers & media into stopping at their booth, and basically just be pretty girls as far as I can tell. These girls (and they usually are basically girls, teens and early 20s from what I can tell) are not athletes, either. First show I went to, it really wigged me out, but now I’m used to it. Which I suppose it what happens to us consumers! I don’t think using sex to sell is necessarily short-lived in the outdoor industry, I think it really must work for at least some companies targeting certain markets. Although I agree that if an athlete, even if considered “hot,” who may be representing the company isn’t the real deal, buyers eventually will turn away.

          • heather at

            I go to OR every season (except for this last summer!) and you’re right; I’ve noticed those gals. I’ve also noticed that they don’t seem to be popular at the show. People kinda look at them standing there like they’re aliens or something….dare I say, like that type of sexuality doesn’t belong there…am I crazy? Maybe it’s for the same reason Steve mentions above?

          • Julie Trevelyan at

            Trying to reply to Heather’s comment, but not sure this will land in the right place. 🙂 I think some of the OR attendees look askance (I so love that word) at the underdressed girls hawking booth wares. And, I think some attendees love it. At least some of the male attendees I’ve known have mentioned their appreciation to me. I sure don’t think that type of bodily objectification/sexualization belongs at that particular trade show! Makes me crazy, plus every time I walk by a booth with one of those girls, I feel like they might be ignoring me because I’m not the target audience, which I’m guessing is mostly likely male. But again, who knows for sure what the though process is behind it. Now, of course, I’m curious. I need to see if there are any articles about this, and ask some long-time attendees about the reasoning behind using “OR show booth girls.”

          • Steve at

            As someone who’s worked in the industry on both sides, media and company, I agree with you that certain companies can make it a long term marketing plan but for me, repetitive marketing tactics tend to fall short after a certain amount of time passes. But then again, beer companies seem to do just fine with their sexual commercials so maybe I’m wrong. I think companies do get the girls to just get people to their booth. Saga at SIA last year had THE Back to the Future Delorean at their booth. That made a ton of noise at the show.

          • heather at

            Wait, I wasn’t at SIA. What was the Back to the Future Delorean?! I’m slightly terrified to ask….

  • Reply rachel at

    the comment section here is filling up – not sure if i’m adding anything, but wanted to chime in regardless.

    mtnbabes and the video both gross me out. as one among many awesome women that live and love the outdoors, i devote almost every free sunny weekend in the summer to climbing, mountaineering, and pushing my limits. doing those things can frankly be intense; for me it involves being vulnerable, scared, sweaty, exhausted, and so incomparably happy and content on such a personal level. somehow, hashtagging it #mtnbabes would, at least for me, cheapen it. and as for the logistics, the last thing i want to do on a snowy summit, roped up and wearing crampons, is rip off five sweaty layers, gloves and hat to bare my boobs to my iphone.

    the video – it’s fine with me if naked women want to play around on a paddle board. personally, i spend little time slapping the bare asses of my female friends, but i don’t think realism is what they were going for. for me, the problem is that it’s not a fair portrayal of the awesomeness so many women get up to outside. it draws attention away from stuff we *actually* do – be it camping, hiking, climbing, backcountry touring, or whatever else. i could be wrong, but my guess is that bivy will feature more men than women really engaging in the outdoors, and that’s a bummer.

    • Reply heather at

      Another good point– wonder if they will make a counterpart filled with muscle-covered guys hanging out? Doubtful!

  • Reply misszippy at

    I don’t get it. And honestly, I get annoyed at women who do this kind of thing–it does set us back, does it not? The reality is, sadly, that sex is always gonna sell. I watched a great ESPN documentary on women in sports and one of the things they pointed out is that in order to draw a widespread male audience to female sports there has to be some sort of “sex” hook. i.e. WNBA has never caught on with the male audience b/c they don’t wear sexy uniforms. I can’t stand that it’s 2014 and this is reality!

  • Reply Survive & Thrive Cancer Programs » Friday Links at

    […] Why does sex sell? A great post from Heather – a girl I would LOVE to shred with on a powder day or hike with into the mountains or adventure with…anywhere! We are on the same wavelength about this topic and are enjoying life in the outdoors in our own Rockies (Colorado for her, Canadian for me) on different terms than the "MTN Babes" she references…worth a read! […]

  • Reply Kaitlyn at

    I was introduced to the original mtnbabes a year ago. They are a group of homegrown Colorado girls out of Telluride. They wished to spread the sense of adventure that had inspired them to grow more confidence in themselves and their bodies. So they started a social media group on Facebook started using the hashtag #mtnbabes. Their premise resides on reaching your destination in the wild. Then yes, for better or worse, you take however much of your clothes off, turn around so you aren’t facing the camera. As someone with body issues I could never bring myself to do it until this summer when I went backpacking for a weekend with an original telluride mtnbabe. On out second day we dropped our 25 lbs packs and summitted the highest peak in the Big Belt mountain range of Montana. My friend called for a mountain babe picture and I resisted. Then she said take a look around. Look at where your body took you. Look at your health and strength and celebrate it. So, I took off my shirt, turned around, threw my arms up and celebrated.
    In the end, I’m not ashamed of what I did, but I am completely turned off and disgusted by this film. It’s a party. Not an adventure in the backcountry or a day of hard exercise. Visit the mtnbabes Facebook page and you will h

  • Reply Kaitlyn at

    Sorry…hopefully you will get a clearer picture of the original mission of mtnbabes that these film
    Makers clearly distorted.

    • Reply heather at

      Hey Kaitlyn! I definitely understand that the mission of MtnBabes is a far cry from this video- I definitely think The Bivy team kinda abused that. However, as for mtnbabes itself, I’m still torn. I guess I don’t understand why removing clothes has to be the step that empowers women and encourages them to celebrate their outdoor accomplishments? (And you’ve been a reader for a long time, so I’m hoping you realize I’m honestly ASKING these questions!) To me, it seems like that is distracting from the cool stuff these gals are doing by pushing the focus to something else, namely their bodies?

  • Reply Kaitlyn Watts at

    Ya I hear ya and see where you are coming from. Knowing these girls and how they started their message gives me a know how of the perspective that they weren’t trying to incite anything provocative. They just wanted to inspire women to get out more. And it doesn’t always have to be without clothing or an item of clothing. But, the idea being when you see women in epic backgrounds in the backcountry it inspires you to get out and find the same adventures for yourself. Given this, I am sure that it is buried somewhere in their facebook page. I refused to be tagged and will not post it on my page or have my friend post it on hers. With my job and personality, I don’t find it appropriate. So, there is that contradictory aspect of my experience with mtn babes. That being said, it was a once in a lifetime thing for me. So, I don’t really have an answer.

    • Reply heather at

      Fair enough 🙂

  • Reply James at

    The video seemed like intentional absurdity to me… They took everything #mtnbabes to the extreme, on purpose, showing goregous scenery and goregous girls, and hyperbolizing the “idgaf, I am in nature and I am a wild human and I do what I want” spirit of the #mtnbabes sentiment. I think they hit the nail on the head. You might not like what you see, but the whole point is that they are doing what they want, and owning it. They are in nature and aren’t looking for approval.

    • Reply Beth at

      I think the thing that weirds out a lot of outdoor ladies is that it DOES feel like they’re looking for approval.

    • Reply heather at

      I guess I can see that…but what describe it as something it isn’t? Why not call it what it is instead of putting it under this umbrella of supposed outdoorsy-ness? (And yes, that’s a word.. I checked!) 🙂

      • Reply Laurie at

        Exactly!! This is not pushing their personal limits and feeling exhilarated.

  • Reply spence at

    This version of mountain babe’s is a joke.

    The real, authentic version focused on female empowerment outdoors can be found at http://www.mtnbabes.com

    Take 30 seconds to read their mission

    • Reply heather at

      Hey Spence! Thanks for the comment. I agree that people are tying together MtnBabes and this video when they are not the same thing; two different issues for sure. However, I’m still not a fan of MtnBabes– I really enjoy what their mission says but (in my opinion), wish they would go about promoting badass outdoor women in a different manner. *To me*, taking your clothes off is pointing the attention at the nudity, not the awesome feat that the woman just completed. I just don’t see it. But, to each his own, right?!

  • Reply Julie Trevelyan at

    Wow. To jump into the convo a bit late, my unsugar-coated two cents are

    1) the video is a bullshit, wet-dream representation of women in the wilderness,

    2) the Mountain Babes Facebook page made it very clear they were not in any way associated with the video and did not find it very inspiring,

    3) personally, I’m not remotely interested in getting naked or just partially naked in the wilderness *for a camera* although I don’t mind it if I’m sure no one else is around,

    4) to answer one of your questions, I don’t remotely think this video is a classy display of outdoor achievement–because really, what particular outdoor achievement was displayed in it?

    5) Wes Coughlin and his Bivy or whatever it is may possibly have some intellectual property issues on his hands, since he blatantly ripped off the Mountain Babes wording and ideas,

    6) the Bivy.tv page states it is “The most awesomest action sports comedy dirtbagin’ show in the world,” which aside from the typo in there also indicates perhaps they saw this video as comedy????

    and finally, 7) Watching a video like this would have intimidated the hell out of me when I was in my 20s, as it would have preyed on my bodily insecurities as well as steered me into thinking a woman can only play outside if she’s in a bikini and grabs her friend’s ass. Which…really? Watching it now, all I can do is smh and be very f*cking glad the way I play and work in the outdoors looks nothing at all like that ridiculous beer commercial ripoff, but instead is representational of a real woman who sweats, has hat head, dresses for the activity at hand instead of the gaze that may be upon me, and really enjoys the wilderness without needing to share pics of myself in it without my shirt on. (Remember, my personal two cents, not slamming anyone else’s personal decisions or desires to do that. The clear exploitation in that video is what really bugs me.)

    Anyway…that’s what I think. Lol!

  • Reply Sandi at

    So after I watched the video this morning I headed into the mountains on an absolutely perfect fall day to run my favorite loop in the Indian Peaks. I ran through alpine meadows, on ridge lines, jumped from rock to rock on the technical bits, cruised on the smooth dirt sections and was surrounded by majestic mountains, alpine lakes, cool rock formations…pure beauty! I smiled as I ran because I was so grateful for my body for allowing me to do what I loved, where I loved. During the loop I passed other women of different ages and sizes, some hiking together, some solo, and I realized that they were also on the trail to appreciate nature and their bodies, which has a positive effect on their well being. Because of this, they can also make a more positive impact on the world. Suddenly, I was appreciating that their bodies took them to share some beautiful mountain trails with me. These were the mountain babes I wanted to be with and I want to be shown to the world. Unfortunately, the way the girls were portrayed in the video showed that they liked to party, not that they loved being in the mountains, where there bodies can take them, and what their bodies are capable of. I think it makes a joke of women being in the mountains. I’m not judging the girls (that helps nothing and I’m sure they are probably beautiful people inside and out)- maybe the money they made doing the video helped them to do what they love? But it’s sooooo much sexier to have a woman pushing herself to her limits and appreciating the mountains than to see a girl pouring beer on herself. (As my boyfriend pointed out, it’s really a PBR beer commercial (wondering if PBR gave some money for the video?), not a video on empowering women to get outdoors.)

  • Reply Laurie at


  • Reply guri singh at

    If this video is all about Gender Equality, then it is time.
    I am almost 95% sure that this movie/clip was made by a man.

    There is something spiritual and naturally ecstatic about the location and the clip made it a bit sexualized.
    I might be way off, i don’t have much of a clue what is normal nowadays.

    I was expecting something beautiful and sadly it showed me a version of what i call is a waanabe 90s beer commercial.

    The last few seconds, the comment about sports illustrated issue was not cool either.

    *I am pleasantly surprised at my reaction, self pat and kudos*

  • Reply Brett at

    “Is this more appealing than watching some bomb female skiers carve down a mountain face or rip up some waves on a surfboard?” No. They could have shot this entire thing at a frat party and just called it Babes. There’s not much of Mtn in there, and it almost couldn’t be less authentic if it tried. I’m pretty sure literally every single result from Googling Ingrid Backstrom or Melissa Arnot would be more attractive to me. I’m 33 so perhaps I don’t fit the target audience, but still, like you said, where’s the mountain achievement here?

  • Reply Kate at

    Listen, there is a difference between celebrating bodies and what they can do. First and foremost the bodies here are not really ‘athletic’ and the only real thing they have going for them is emphasis of easy sex appeal because they are clearly not perfect. The ladies here are selling that easily approachable and easily bangable vibe. They aren’t Giselle Bundchen or Adriana Lima who are clearly unapproachable. They have cellulite on their backsides and a nice lil beer gut. Just enough imperfection to make guys think they have a chance. They are selling the “cool girl” who will drink beer with the guys, climb mountains with their tits out and get their ass smacked by their girlfriends for a little bit of attention. Welcome to 2014 y’all…where the hookup generation and the party girl thrive. No substance and looks that will fade quick…good luck to these girls in the future when their subpar looks fade because they sure are behind the curve as far as dignity and self-respect.

  • Reply The Buddhist Cowboy at

    I love the beauty of the female form as well as the beauty of the outdoors. Having said that, the promo looks like a cliche’ Superbowl beer commercial. I see virtually nothing empowering nor inspiring to women in it.

  • Reply Heather at

    Wow, this is one of the most intentional, respectful and honest threads I’ve ever seen about a topic like this. Cheers to people who can have constructive debates without descending into name calling and trolling! 🙂 If you want to check out a film that is trying to change the current climate of how female athletes are portrayed, go to our website at http://www.drive2change.com. We are traveling across the US to film rad female athletes in adventure sports, to tell the deeper story behind why they chose to make their sport a central focus in their lives.

  • Reply The Virality of Women Empowerment - Just a Colorado GalJust a Colorado Gal at

    […] go viral! But sure enough, thousands of people weighed in across multiple platforms, discussing why sex sells. MtnBabes received so many complaints that they were forced to remind FB followers that they were […]

  • Reply Dawn at

    Thank you for sharing this. This reflection of women who love adventure is so wrong it makes me sad that our society, even a portion, is going to that level. Seeing this, reading the comments, etc. makes me want to get my Wisconsin adventure blog up and running even more. To help our future girls realize the joy of outdoors and the girls are not like that we are tough and beautiful always longing for adventure.

    • Reply heather at

      Let me know if you get that blog up and running- I’d love to check it out! (I’m guessing it’s different than the one you have now? Our Life in the Sack?)

  • Reply Georgie at

    As some of the posts above have stated, starting your own blog is an awesome way to drown out some of the horrible portrayals of women on the internet. In the wake of the Roxy Pro Barritz trailer fail of last year, I was lucky enough to stumble across Cori Schumacher’s blog. She has done an awesome job of explaining why sex doesn’t sell to women and why the portrayal of women in action sports matters. Here’s the link if anyone is interested: http://www.corischumacher.com/

    • Reply heather at

      I checked out her site– thanks for the heads up. A) The vid is awful but it sounded like the backlash aided in making this year’s better? B) Cori is badass C) Looks like Roxy’s response was about on par with The Bivy’s response. Lame.

  • Reply Is This What Empowerment Looks Like? | The Gription at

    […] women in bikinis have frolicked in front of a camera, and it won’t be the last. But as Heather at JustAColoradoGal.com pointed out last week, sex sells, but what exactly is being sold? Apparently the women behind […]

  • Reply Tamara at

    As a 53 year old mom of a 20 year old daughter who was raised in the outdoors, I may not have a place in the conversation. I am likely old enough to be your mother.
    I grew up and discovered myself hiking and skiing before there were really any female role models. I hung with the guys because there weren’t any girls who could keep up. I have since admired the inroads young women are making in athletics and sport, however, the persevering path for success of many of these young women is still that sexuality will sell. Really, that has never changed. And will not change until young women either see it for what it is an exploitation of the male dollar or exploitation of themselves and make peace either way. If you don’t make it, they (males) won’t have that to exploit for financial or whatever means.
    I found it interesting that the Warren Miller movie for 2013-2014 showed some women skiers. Awesome, except when Sierra Quitiquit took off her clothes and skied (not terribly well ) in a bikini. Their highlight of her as a skier was so far off, she is a want to be model. I kept thinking it was a Warren Miller joke that there are so many talented women skiers and they had to show one skiing badly in a bikini as a jest (which made it even worse).
    Even Lindsay Vonn and Julia Mancuso have fallen into the sex sells. Google female skiers and the first thing that pops up is http://guyspeed.com/hottest-professional-female-skiers/ and bared bodies are front and center. Is that bad? If Julia and Lindsay have made a ton of money from it, maybe not (I think they are smart women who have figured out how to exploit their sport and the wallets of men).

    Michelle Parker and I had an email conversation discussing just this type of thing. Her perspective was one of wanting so badly to be accepted in the world of big time skiing that she had to weigh the pros and cons of disclothing. Youth and hunger plays a role but ultimately, by persevering and maintaining a savvy business sense she has found a way to be a true mountain babe.
    MSP films informed me that until BIG sponsors supported female skiers they would not be a focus in their films. So perhaps the focus should come back to the business side of nature and athletics and sport and the focus should be on the corporate world. Instead of women trying to make their way into a male dominated endeavor, women should just make their own endeavor or boycott those companies that have still not seen the value of women.
    If taking your clothing off at 14,000 feet is empowering to you, or dribbling PBR (now Russian owned) down your breasts is empowering then the power has been centered. But to declare that this is how mountain babes want portrayal is not accurate. I don’t think the young women are financially benefitting from the movie above. Men for goodness sakes were filming it.
    Maybe if the women in “The Coolest Mountain Babe Video Ever” had real corporate sponsors who are willing to invest in the female side of sport, the false portrayal of what true mountain babes are about would be realized.
    Seeing my 20 year old finish a 6 mountain pass , 38 mile backpack trip with another 22 year old young woman, brings the true meaning of mountain babe to reality. If they bared their breasts at 12,500 feet, then all the more power to them, the good news is that they didn’t make any money. They reflect what women want to see, strong bodies, strong minds, and a true sense of self.

    I would love to see this same scene replicated by the 50 year old women I know who are hikers, bikers, skiers, kayakers with sagging breasts, soft butts, dimply thighs, and flabby arms. We are the women you will become. And the men who honor you at that point are the true sponsors. I wonder how many corporate sponsors we would get ( I actually think that would be a great parody, who’s game?).
    Might suggest http://www.doglotion.com/shredding-sociology-worlds-intelectuals-explain-state-skiing-part-one-sociologys-new-school-dr-holly-thorpe-phd

  • Reply Alyssa at

    I finally got around to reading the famous post! I have no idea about the answers to your questions and I’m in no state to be doing serious thinking, but well written and congrats for it going viral!

  • Reply Kelley at

    I’m really late to this conversation but had to weigh in. Heather, I totally agree with your take on this video. I was appalled within two seconds. Anything with slow motion is instantly creepy and the sexual innuendo while that can of whatever was being poured in that girl’s mouth…SHUDDER. I think there is a stark difference between celebrating human form with nudity that is artful and the opposite which is objectifying and demeaning. It’s not always easy to figure out what’s what. Even as a woman I find it hard to decide how I feel about certain things that could be harmless, like the #mtnbabes hashtag. Is it just freewheeling fun that I shouldn’t feel so uptight about or is it completely moronic for someone to reach a summit and feel the need to strip their shirt off and pose? (I tend to think the latter.) I recently read Caitlin Moran’s “How To Be A Woman” (a book which I’m also conflicted about…being conflicted is my shtick) and she said the trick she uses to imagine if something is sexist is to reverse the genders and picture the sceanrio happening with men instead. In the case of the Bivy video, no men would be stripping. They’d be killing it athlectically. Both the video and the #mtnbabes hashtag are not conveying women’s accomplishments or our stake in outdoor adventure. They’re posing us as Barbie dolls with a pretty backdrop. The Bivy video is frat-inspired babe fodder for guys who dig bikini clad chicks and mountains. It’s no celebration for us.

    I hope the tides start to change and that female athletes–and females in general–start to get the respect and equality that they deserve. Looking forward to seeing your interviews and I hope they get that ball rolling.

  • Reply Going Topless In The Name of Female Sports. | She Verbs. at

    […] I had to wonder about the sexual component of the MtnBabes movement. I’m not the only one who has questioned the impetus of a social media site using half naked women to try and empower […]

  • Reply Calling All Women: We Want To Feature You! {#JustAnOutdoorGal} - Just a Colorado GalJust a Colorado Gal at

    […] all started one year ago. At that point, I hopped up on my soapbox one afternoon and ranted and raved about a topic that truly riled me up. I sometimes do that: don’t think before I write and […]

  • Reply Elle at

    I am a female. A female who loves the outdoors and is out there backpacking, camping, hiking, paddling, climbing, photographing as much as I can. I am also a female who loves to be naked. I love being naked outdoors. I also love the female form. And I love my female form. My body is far from perfect but I love it, which took a lon time to learn to do. And a huge part of me learning to love my body was learning to become comfortable naked.
    But it’s not easy to become comfortable with your body as a female. Not with so much body negativity constantly spewed by our media and peers. So for me to see girls who are comfortable enough to get naked in front of a camera gives me hope that more women can become comfortable enough to love their bodies as well. Not everyone has to get in front of a camera to do it, but to each their own.
    Yes I personally believe the video should have been made by women and should showcase other types of female beauty than just the all American white, thin, athletic, able bodied l, mainstream beauty type. But the actual substance of the video is empowering to me. It’s a message of, be free, enjoy yourself, enjoy your fellow woman and you can do that even in these beautiful natural places. One beauty showcasing another.
    To quote Sasha Grey my favorite feminist adult film star, “what one person sees as degrading and disgusting and bad for women might make some women feel empowered and beautiful and strong.”
    Just my own thoughts on the topic

  • Reply Sexism: What Are You Going To Do About It? - Just a Colorado GalJust a Colorado Gal at

    […] rampant in the 21st century, but whining about it has yet to accomplish much for anyone. When I whined about it last year, he asked me the same question. That’s how the #JustAnOutdoorGal series began; it is my […]

  • Reply Art at

    Your type of trolling is not appreciated or welcome. You certainly did not have to come to this website, nor did you have to comment. There are plenty of people who do appreciate this website, and this message. And, there are plenty of men who like their girls however they want to dress. Leave this alone

    • Reply Art at

      I was replying to a comment which seems to have thankfully been deleted. On the phone i didn’t notice it had already been deleted

      • Reply Heather at

        Hey Art, thanks for commenting! Yes, for the first time in the history of this site, I marked a comment as spam and removed it. There is no place for that type of racism or misogyny on my site, so I thought it was better deleted 🙂

        • Reply Art at

          I totally agree. I was shocked to see that in my inbox (I follow the comments on this thread).

          • Heather at

            Gotcha. I’ve always had a no-delete policy on comments simply because I think everyone has the right to express their own opinion….but not that one!

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