Stop Over-Sexualizing Females At The Gym

Stop Over-Sexualizing Females At The Gym

Females should feel powerful, not objectified.
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Google "girl at gym" and instead of finding images of strong women, working out and achieving their goals showing off their bodies that they have spent hours in the gym sculpting in a modest way, you will find nothing but over sexualized and honestly quite pornographic pictures of females at the gym. They'll be in scantily clad clothes, with their skin oiled and bent over. And, better yet, pictures of men at the gym bent over females or quite clearly 'checking them out.'

Here are some of my favorites.

This one came from a website with a thread entitled 'Post a better hot gym girl than this.' Classy. First off, what gym are you at that you post a picture like this? Second, why pay for a gym membership so that you can post this type of pornographic content? And to the people who posted more picture on that thread (all of which are disgusting) you too, are disgusting.

This next picture came from an article titled "How to Talk to Women at the Gym." The answer is "don't." Please don't come to the gym for the sole purpose of hitting on girls at the squat bar. If your goal is to pick up women, you're at the wrong kind of bar.

Ah, yes. This is definitely my go — to outfits for the gym, as I'm sure it is for many other girls...

Furthermore, when you search for "girls at the gym," Google gives you that list of words at the top to help narrow your search. Do any of them help you narrow your search to help you find images of regular girls working out, not nearly naked? The answer is a hard no. The 'suggestions' Google gives include "short shorts" "yoga pants" "bra" "tights" "knickers" "locker room" (because all girls who go to the gym clearly spend all that money so that they can walk around half dressed in the locker room with other girls) and my favorite "shower" — and yes, it's exactly what you think it is.

Now you can make the argument that all or some of these pictures are staged or even photoshopped. But that isn't the point. I have been an avid gym-goer and lifter for the past four years now. I am fully dressed, I have absolutely zero interest in being 'hit on' and the only reason I go the gym is for myself. I go to get stronger, to feel good about myself and there's nothing I love more than seeing progress and the difference I've made in my body. It's hard to build the confidence to go to the gym, and stand in the weight section — something that has been stereotyped as 'for men only.' The last thing any female needs is to feel like the gym isn't for her, or that she's only there to entertain the men.

Any young girl, or girl of any age really that becomes inspired to start going to the gym and sees these type of pictures isn't going to feel empowered or inspired. She's going to feel like a piece of meat. The over-sexualization of female lifters and gym-goers needs to stop. It's time to start inspiring women to maximize their potential, feel strong and powerful and confident both in their bodies and in the gym. Believe it or not, women don't go to the gym hoping they'll be hit on. We're there to workout. To make progress, to feel better and live a healthy lifestyle. So to all the men and to the media that think this is how women act/look in the gym and that we just flit around hoping to be hit on, bye. Don't come near us while we're working out, that's not what any of us are there for, and we could probably kick your a** anyway.

P.S. It took me a long time to find an appropriate picture to put as the header of this article, and it's a picture of Sarah Bowmar who is an exceptional athlete and female role model.

Cover Image Credit: mulpix.com/instagram

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Internet outraged at Delhi Aunty for Sl*t Shaming

Public outrage - justified or an overreaction?

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When the topic of sexual violence against women arises, women are often held responsible - because of how they dress, or how they behave, or even if they have a voice. A recent incident in Delhi showed that the mindset of people has not changed. In a video posted by Shivani Gupta, a middle-aged woman is seen defending her claim, "Women wearing short dresses deserve to be raped."

This backward mentality surrounding rape and rape culture is horrifying to see. The middle-aged woman first shamed them for wearing short clothes and when she was confronted, she told them "they deserved to get raped." She made things worse when she told other men in the restaurant to rape such women who wear short clothes.

Shivani and her friends later confronted this woman while taking the video. They wanted a public apology for her statement and followed her around. The older woman stood by her statement. Fair enough. They felt threatened by her statements and wanted an apology for her actions. The older lady, however, was brazen about her ideologies and refused to apologize. In fact, she threatened to call the cops for harassment.

The woman who made the regressive statements. Shivani Gupta

While the anger and outrage by the women who uploaded this video are justified, several questions are being raised on whether the older woman was later harassed for her statements. Public shaming is not the way to solve this issue.

"We cannot dismantle a culture of shaming by participating in it." - Rega Jha.

Now, I believe that nobody must engage in victim shaming. Nobody has the right to police the outfit one wishes to wear. It is astonishing to believe that even in the 21st century, people still believe that an outfit determines the morality and character of a person. That older woman was wrong to sl*t-shame the girls for wearing what they want. That being said, even though what that woman did was horrible, public shaming will not work. It will not change the mindset behind these ideologies. What that older woman did was akin to bullying. Publicly shaming her, stalking her facebook account or posting comments or by coercing her, you are also behaving in the same manner of bullying.

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