By Sharanya Dutta
Did you see GQ magazine’s recent shoot in Joshua Tree, California, with “three premier climbers and a couple of cute friends”? Never mind if you didn’t. It’s a series of sun-kissed photos with the men attempting planks and impossible acrobatics amidst a rugged desert landscape, while the women — in star-spangled cowboy boots, cute denim shorts, bikinis and less and less clothing, one of them finally ending up being hosed down wearing only side-boob and a look of delirious happiness — look on, or just exist as accessories.
This portrayal of men being Marlboro men and women ‘letting loose’ (this is actually a real caption for one of the photos) has been so excellently parodied, we will love Outdoor Research forever.
The whole sun-drenched photo shoot, with the music album cover vibe — as well as the generous sprinkling of shirtless men in the article, complete with the man getting hosed down in his awkward half-sitting pose — really hits the spot. It is topped off with quotes where the actual climbing is an afterthought to “being really, really, ridiculously good looking” and “cute boys” who keep your beer cold and your ovaries warm. Just for gags, OR has captioned a photo of the man hanging out uncomfortably from a car window with his face stuck presumably mid-orgasm – “Ruffled dress shirt (part of previous Halloween costume, $15)”.
Making an even sharper point, the women in the Outdoor Research shots are seen in exactly the same kinds of athletic poses as the men in the original GQ shoot. Rock climbing is an exciting sport, and Indian women, too, are entering bouldering and climbing competitively with a drive that is awe-inspiring. Nehaa Prakash from Bangalore — who has a plethora of medals to her name and participated in the IFSC Climbing World Cup (the first of its kind in Bouldering), held from the 13th-16th of May in Mumbai this year — says, “It’s not tougher for women, they just don’t attempt it.” Reportage around this within the country is pleasingly functional and achievement-oriented (well, duh), but check out the details on this page.