Pretty spot on. Ego, fear, jealousy, sexism, naïveté… it’s all part of it.
I know you touched on it, but to me the strongest point in this argument is the obvious reality of business and social media. Giving away equipment is not at all about rewarding people’s accomplishments, it’s about driving up brand value through promotion by strategically increasing visibility. Running a profitable business is hard and sending hard routes doesn’t produce money. It makes way more sense to sponsor people who are good at creating content than people who are the very best at climbing. I understand that it seems “unfair”, but in reality I think it’s pretty fair. Money and free gear is a reward for helping a company make money.
Also the sexualization for sponsorship argument is just foolish to me. Let’s face it, man or woman, hot people are hot. In a game where people are being rewarded for creating beautiful or inspiring content, how can we ignore the fact that there is beauty in the human form (male or female)? Beautiful people look better in photos than people who aren’t as beautiful. Beautiful person on a beautiful route with beautiful lighting and a big obvious BD logo and 20,000 likes? That makes money for BD. Even if that person is totally not intentionally trying to be beautiful, implying that a person is somehow “cheating” at sponsorship by displaying their body aesthetically is a fundamental misunderstanding of the climbing sponsorship reward system.