Your Body

Barbells, Perverts, And Equity: My Afternoon Spent At The Gym

By January 29, 2016 0

I love working out.

I’m kind of obsessed with it, actually.

There are very few feelings comparable to the enjoyment I feel after completing a workout(#endorphins). It relieves any sense of stress and tension I might be holding onto. It’s one of the only things I can always count on to make me feel better, even after I’ve had the shittiest of shitty days.

So that’s why the story I’m about to tell you really pissed me off.

Yesterday, I went to the gym, as I do almost every other day. It started out as a normal sweat session: I was focusing on my legs, which is my favorite body part to workout, because who doesn’t want a perky butt?

The gym was exceptionally crowded for a Monday afternoon, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I grabbed a barbell and found a sliver of space to do a round of hip lifts. I probably looked slightly ridiculous, relegated to a teeny corner in the back of the gym, but I was too focused to care. I was annoyingly close to one of the weight racks, which meant people kept having to pass me to grab weights, but there was nowhere else for me to go. As I was mid-thrust, a guy at least 10 years my senior approached me to grab a set of weights, just as multiple people had done before him, but as he reached down to grab the weights, he squeezed my thigh, smiled and said something along the lines of “keep up the good work.”

I immediately shot up. Who did this guy think he was? He was a complete stranger, so what made him think he could touch me? If I had been a guy, I can guarantee that wouldn’t have happened.

I was furious but also devastated.  It was shocking how quickly a place I usually feel so comfortable in, became a place of unease.

I don’t go to the gym for horny guys to stare at me, and I definitely do not go to be touched by creepy perverts. I am just as entitled to a good, peaceful workout as any man and I should not have to feel like a spectacle when I’m at the gym.

All-female gyms, like Curves, only exist because they prevent any male-intimidation or possible insecurities that women might experience at a regular gym. And  I think it’s pretty sad that there are women made to feel like they have to resort to such options to feel comfortable. 

I can’t really call for equality here because it could easily be argued that the existence of all-women gyms provides women with an equal opportunity to workout. What I want instead here is equity. Because while equality is about sameness, equity is about fairness.

Because while equality calls for justice, that only works if everyone starts from the same place, and in this case, that place was the slither of real estate I claimed by the weight racks. Equity gives us stock in the same opportunities, absent a need to start-up a private gym.

We need equity to achieve equality.

We need it in the gym, in the workplace, and everywhere else.