If you haven’t heard about “Female Power Hour” here at Gustavus, you’re in for a treat.
An email sent from the Health and Wellness Club to students and faculty gave details of the up and coming weight room segregation hours. Women now have their own times to work out here at Gustavus, and no boys are allowed…yup we’re back in middle school. Monday and Wednesdays 7-8p.m., and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30-3:30 p.m. This time is designated for females only, faculty and staff members included.
John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 (AKA the people who supported this change) have devised this much-needed, comfortable, safe, exercise environment for females. Research indicates that many females tend to work out for less time if not at all, when males are around.
So Gusties, it’s great to see how far we have come that we must now revert back to old ways of segregation. Now some of you may be thinking, did he just use the word segregation…why yes, I did. What else are we supposed to call it? Oh yeah…Female Power Hour.
Let me be clear. I am upset because I expect more from Gustavus to include its students and faculty. I think that instead of rushing to such a drastic and offensive measure we need to come together and find out what exactly is making the female community at GAC not feel safe, whether it be in the gym or outside the gym. Makes sense right?
Look at it this way, when I hit the gym I can admit that it is jam packed at times with various sport teams, both male and female, using the facility at once. At times I even find other people working out to be intimidating or I get caught off guard by the loud sounds of someone dead lifting 415 pounds. IT’S A GYM! As Gusties and a community we are all here to better ourselves and boost each other up, not put each other down. I personally feel that telling the women at Gustavus that they need their own workout times separate from men in order for them to feel safe and comfortable is sending the wrong message to the entire community. Is this women’s power hour condemning women to be depicted as being weak and too fragile that they cannot work out at the same time as men? Maybe women should get their own time slots for the blue mats upstairs in Lund, or their own time slot on the track because “men run too fast and it may be intimidating.”
The fact is that weight lifting and gym environments are intimidating—to everyone. If the real issue is that women are intimidated by the nature of the gym because they are unfamiliar with safe and proper lifting procedure, if they want to get more into lifting or just have no idea where to start, then why not start a lifting club? In a cross training, cross-fit, or bodybuilding club, among many other possibilities, women with a common interest of gaining muscle and promoting fitness can support one another to get physically and mentally stronger both in and out of the gym. And they can do it without reinforcing the stereotype that women are too weak to share the gym with men, a notion I personally don’t agree with supporting.
Rod Strozier—An avid gym lifter and feminist alike