Judging gym-goers helps nobody

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By Megan Allard, Third year Neuroscience

In light of a recent Comment piece, it must be noted that mocking those who already workout is not a helpful move towards gym inclusivity.

After reading the article ‘Judgement should not be a member of the gym’, I thought how important it was that this increasing issue was finally being addressed.

I hear too often of how people, especially females, feel uncomfortable using the university gym. As someone who uses, and thoroughly enjoys the University gym, I believe everyone should be in a position where they feel comfortable to go there regardless of their ability, strength, fitness level or gender.

the article read as one big micky take of people who already use gyms

Gyms often are male dominated areas, and this can make females feel nervous to go to the gym and train as they wish. The University gym is trying to tackle this issue with the introduction of their ‘This Girl Can’ sessions, where the free weights area is reserved exclusively for females to use. I thought the Epigram article, written by Nikki Peach, would be addressing these issues.

However, the article read as one big micky take of people who already use gyms.

The opening sentence ‘The university gym should be a place where all students are welcome, whether they drink 3 litre protein shakes or not’ straight away takes a tone in which mocks people. She talks about ‘smelling protein powder being poured into Love Island bottles’ and people ‘lifting 300,000kg’.

Comments such as this run throughout the article and I think it makes a mockery of the important issue in hand. I use the gym often, and I do not drink three litre protein shakes, own a Love Island bottle or lift 300,000kg- and I am sure most people in the gym also don’t fall into these categories.

An article that was meant to be inclusive of everybody, ended up being exclusive of people who do use the gym by making stereotypical remarks and implying gym goers are simply vain, supplement-filled males.

Inclusion of Bristruths and interviews from people who have felt the gym is not an inclusive environment was valuable - it highlighted that this is a real issue that people experience on a regular basis. I would however like to argue that I don’t think this is an issue only seen in the University gym.

Often, rightly or wrongly, gyms do have a masculine energy. I don’t think the nature of the university gym is any different to other gyms, and so I think this is a bigger issue than just addressing the gym on campus. As mentioned, the Indoor Sport Centre is trying to tackle this with their females only weight training sessions.

An article that was meant to be inclusive of everybody, ended up being exclusive of people who do use the gym

I really do believe inclusivity within gyms is something that needs to be emphasised both on campus and across all gyms, however the blame does not lie with people who already regularly attend.

Featured image: Epigram/Ffion Clarke


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