To the boy who told his friend that he was taking a "woman's bar" at the gym the other day,
When you looked over at your friend who picked up a smaller bar and told him with a face that it was a "woman's bar", I heard you.
As I was squatting with my own bar and weights I heard your comment and I saw your eyes glare at me.
And I didn't appreciate it. And I'm sure many of the girls who work out at the gym have heard similar sly remarks, about how somehow certain things at the gym are more for boys than for girls.
Now I'm not going to deny that some girls do indeed use the bar you were referring to.And that the bar you referenced is lighter. Or that according to science (and popular opinion) women just aren't as physically strong as men.
None of that is my problem. My problem is that you gave a gender to an inanimate object.
Bars, weights, cars, occupations, sports, all these things that are not alive, do not have a gender. There is no right or wrong gender attached to anything because naturally inanimate things are simply not gendered. By you saying that a lighter bar was a "woman's bar", you assigned it a gender that it didn't formally have and therefore created an unfortunate sort of segregation between things for women and men.
Maybe your comment wasn't directed at me. Maybe it was just a passing comment. Maybe it doesn't really matter to you what I'm saying because to you it will always be a girl's bar.
But why is that?
Because you were not born knowing that lighter things are meant for girls. Society influenced your opinion and you just confirmed what society told you.
It might only have been about a bar this time, but what about when you start thinking the same way about other things?When suddenly certain sports are "woman's sports". Or certain jobs become "woman's jobs". Suddenly, we have started a trend where things without a natural gender assigned to them, now have one.
Not only is this extremely limiting, but it simply isn't right.
You don't get to decide what gets assigned to a girl and what doesn't, just like I don't get to decide what belongs to a boy and what doesn't. Especially when what you claim is a "woman's bar" enhances the stereotype of women as weaker, less athletic and not as capable.
Now I know we are all guilty of what you did the other day at the gym. But I just hope that maybe next time you won't say the lighter bar is the "woman's bar". That maybe next time you'll just call it for what it is: the lighter bar, or the 35-lb bar, or something that marks it as inanimate and describes characteristics it actually has. Maybe next time you'll think about how if a little girl heard that the smaller bar was the only bar for her, how that might affect what she thinks she is capable of.
Maybe next time you won't fall into one of our society's favorite pastimes, giving gender to things that don't have a gender.