Why A UK Man Suing A Gym For Reverse Sexism Because Of Women-Only Workout Sessions Is Complete “Rubbish”

April 24, 2013  |  

Peter Lloyd, a journalist from the UK, is suing his gym for reverse sexism and writes in the UK Daily Mail about the situation:

When I became a member of my local gym, it was to exercise my body – not my human rights. But that’s exactly what I’m doing with the Kentish Town Sports Centre in north London. The venue, owned by fitness company Better in association with Camden Council, attracts hundreds of people from all sections of society: religious, atheist, male, female, young and old. There is no dominant demographic. Everybody is welcome and everybody gets on. But not everybody is equal. Because, in an age of political over-correctness, they ban all men and boys for 442 hours every year – simply because they are male. Adding insult to injury, they still charge them the same full-price membership fee as women, but refuse to offer the equivalent option of male-only sessions. Not only is this an outrageous business model, but it’s also sexist. Especially given that council officials base it almost solely on women’s needs. Fair? I think not. But, because we live in an age of acceptable misandry, most people are too polite to say anything.”

Speaking of things that folks are too polite to say: The last time I was in a gym, a dude puts his balls in my face.

This happened in my late 20s, while I was going through this fitness phase. I used to hit the gym about an hour a day, get it in on the treadmill and do strength training with the weights. There used to be this guy that would be in there working out too. What time would he be there? Doesn’t matter. He was always there. This dude was in the gym like it was, seriously, his damn job. And that’s what I initially thought the first time he showed up in the woman’s section of the gym (a smaller room in the gym, which I’m sure was office space in its previous life). He gave me advice on how to use the weight machine correctly and then he left. Despite how helpful he was, I found out later that he didn’t work there. He was just a member like me. Nevertheless, I figured he was harmless enough. The most he had ever done was smile, wave and do the whole polite, “Hey, you’re back” type of conversation.

And then one day, I was in the main gym area using this hamstring machine, where you have to lay flat on your stomach and curl your legs back. My chin is rested on the mat and I’m staring down at the floor. In the middle of me trying to count off a second interval, I became distracted by two pairs of black sneakers. I liftted my head slightly from the mat and looked up. That’s when I got a face full of crotch. “Mmh, mmh, mmh, girl…” It was the gym rat. He was standing directly over me, shaking his head and ogling at my backside. “You know, you really don’t need to be in here working out. From what I see, you look good the way you are. I’m for real!” Gym-rat dude thought he was sending me a compliment, but all I remember is a semi-lewd comment and a man’s crotch in my face.

Shortly after, I stopped going to the gym – not because of this incident. I stopped working out because I got bored and then got lazy. But I will say that his presence did make my gym experience awkward from then on out. Now I’m all conscious of how I’m running on the treadmill, and if my double D breasts are jiggling too much. Lord knows, I’m not trying to get a rise out of him because then I would have to curse him out or something. And then you become, that girl.

The funny thing is that this is not the most awkward and inappropriate thing to happen to me, nor is it the craziest story I have ever heard. I know that there are women reading this, who have crazy tales of their own about the ways in which they have been approached by men in public – being it in the gym, supermarket, on the streets, at your grandmother’s funeral, etc… It can be pretty uncomfortable as many men are not as Rico Suave as they think they are. Some just come off as creepers. However, learned women know how to maneuver around these situations by doing a few things, including using headphones; gauging properly when it is and when it’s not safe to tell a dude no aggressively; and if needed, avoiding certain public places all together.

I agree with Lloyd that the “ladies’ night” promotion at the gym is a bit misguided. It does nothing to address the overall culture of the gym environment, which often condones inappropriate, lewd, or harassing behavior at times, particularly to women and girls. But to champion this cause as some sort of misandry is equally misguided, ignorant and quite frankly, dismissive of the very real and justified safety concerns, which are often a product of this culture. The charges of reverse sexism are just as hollow as the charges of reverse racism. As far as I am concerned, if men like Lloyd want to be compensated for the 442 hours they are “excluded” from the gym every year – or whatever else they claim reverse discrimination on – they can take their gym membership fees and version of “equality” out of the 23 cents on the dollar (in upwards of 21 percent in the UK) we ladies earned in wages in the workforce but have yet to receive.

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