Thursday, April 5, 2007
I ended up in a discussion today with the guys at work about female-only gyms. They were arguing, partially to be devils’ advocates, but I don’t think entirely – that it was unfair there were female-only gyms, while a male-only gym would be considered discriminatory. I disagree. I think that women are more systemically affected by body image issues, and that physical fitness institutions are traditionally male-dominated spaces, such that many women would not work out at a co-ed gym. So then, the guys argued that men might be uncomfortable working out at a co-ed gym, and need a male-only space. It seems to me that men who are honestly feeling self-conscious would not feel any better in a muscle-head testosterone male-friendly environment. The argument was put forward that maybe men should be able to have a safe space where they could “be guys” (referring to a case about male-only golf course being found discriminatory, whereas a female-only gym wasn’t found to be). It seems to me that having a safe space to smoke cigars and be vulgar, which seems to be what they were referring to, isn’t quite as legitimate as having a safe space to work out and not be judged or be exposed to a situation that leads to self-judgement. Am I being a reverse-discriminatory uber-feminist here?