Joan Walsh has a good article up at Salon on a man in London suing his gym because they restrict hours to male patrons to provide male-free time to female customers but still charging the same fees. Walsh concedes he has a point, this is sexist discrimination, but where her article shines is she goes through all the reasons for this kind of discrimination and rejects them.
Note about the article on Peter Lloyd. Yes it’s in the Daily Mail and yes I am aware of what people say about the Daily Mail. But the Daily Mail is exactly where this sort of thing should be published, because this is about broad cultural change. This might be published in some publication with a little higher tone perhaps, so that the “right people” would read and consider it, but in this case the “right people” are the voting masses of people who read the Daily Mail. So that’s where it should go.
Lloyd is quoted:
“Several weeks ago, I formally complained to the general manager, asking him to change the policy with one of three alternatives: A) maintain a women’s hour but introduce a men’s alternative for fairness, B) keep women’s hour (and only women’s hour) but annually charge men less, or C) scrap single-gender sessions altogether.
After all, if demand for women-only sessions is so great then the gym should put their money where their mouth is and fund it themselves.
Unsurprisingly, they declined.
‘A report by the Women Sport and Fitness Foundation showed that a significant proportion of women (26 per cent) “hate the way they look when they exercise”.’ they replied in an email.
‘This takes on an even greater significance when you consider that women feel even more self-conscious when taking part in sport and physical activity when men are present. If you are wondering who or what [we are] it’s a charity that specialises in increasing women’s physical activity levels.’
Translated into plain English, this means that a group of agenda-driven feminists say a minority of women ‘feel’ bad about their bodies. And because heterosexual men are naturally attracted to women, their very existence makes it worse, so they should be banned.
That’s like trying to clean a dirty face by rubbing a mirror.”
In one of the comments a commenter named “Brittany Elizabeth” displays the smug and witless lack of empathy we associate with sociopaths:
“Please excuse me while I fetch a box of tissues and my tiny violin because this story has made me tear up. It’s so hard to be a man in this world. I don’t know how you all do it.”
You are so right, Brittany, my dear little spider – you have absolutely no idea how we do it. It would probably break you if you tried to do it.
Walsh points out:
“For many of us, there’s a vulnerability that comes with fitness training, with exposing our bodies and moving them in ways that may not always be perfect or graceful or deferential to the world at large. The appeal of safe, supportive, private environments — to both men and women — is understandable.”
Understandable but toxic. That sense of vulnerability is a problem in and of itself. It is not healthy, it is poisonous. And it is surely not something that should be honored and enabled. One of the female commenters makes this point.
Walsh sums up with:
“God knows I missed my Boston health club tremendously when I moved back to New York and found myself briefly at Club Juicehead, where the equipment room perpetually rang out with the EAAAAAAGGGGGHS of thick-necked musclemen.”
Well it couldn’t have been any worse than a gym perpetually ringing with the slap-slap-slap of hammy thighs (once again we see this trope of women’s bodies being inherently benign in a way men’s are not) but can’t we all just get along????
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