Sunday, February 19, 2006

Things that Make You Go "Hmmmm...."

The local mall is renovating and plans include a fitness centre just for women.

I wonder how, in this age of equality this can be justified? Under what pretext can men be excluded? I believe this is a Charter of Rights issue.

If the rationale has got something to do with women not wanting to be gawked at when they work out, I must ask if lesbians will then be excluded as well. And on that point of logic, should gay men be therefore allowed?

Which brings me to the subject of public washrooms. Should we have four different types of washrooms - gay, lesbian, straight women and straight men? Recently I was having this discussion with some family members (yes, we do get onto strange topics) and the point was made that if we go this route, then there should be private washrooms for each gay or lesbian person, to avoid the prospect of leering and gawking. So we need one for straight men, one for straight women, maybe a few family washrooms, and a whole bunch of private ones. Hopefully the transgendered and bisexual people could identify with one of these options.

Otherwise, let's make that a unisex gym at the mall.


kelly said...

LOL! A very interesting post! I am a user of a "women's only" facility - curves, and I really enjoy that it is for women only. I like being in a female only environment as I felt intimiated by the men in the facilites that I have previously attended. I like the fact that I can choose which enviromnent I prefer. I think we need to get back to having men's only, women's only and unisex places. I don't believe it is discrimination, because there are lots of other options. ( I also believe that we should go back to teaching sex education for grade school age children by sex.)
As for the washroom debate....I'm not worried as I have a stall to use for privacy when I can finally get to a bathroom. I'd be happy if they just made MORE women's washrooms!

Steph said...

Personally I have no use for a "women only" fitness club. I can't believe there is a market for it. I would think there would be a large percentage of the population who would like to work out with their significant other and in the case of a "women only" club, it would only be lesbian couples who would be permitted to do this! That's not really fair.

I think that most of the time, if someone is in a gym thinking negative thoughts about how another person looks, it is usually a woman looking at another woman and comparing herself. I think that when men look at women in the gym they are only thinking that the woman looks good. So I'd rather workout around men than women.

Joe said...

I work out at the "Y" which is mixed men and women. I don't think there is a lot of learing going on either way. In the evenings, there are certainly young guys there that like to "check out" the hot girls and also some "hot girls" who are obviously "strutten their stuff". But for the most part, people seem to be focussed on getting fit and chit-chatting with their friends.

I don't have a problem with women-only gyms. In fact, my free-market libertarian leanings would lead me to say, heck, if there are enough Botswanian tap dancers that want their own private gym, let them organize it and pay for it. Does that not follow from our right to freedom of association?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Wow, what a variety of opinions! So do we need a Botswanian tapdancer-only washroom at the mall too?

BTW, I did a little investigative reporting, and the reason that one company said they have women-only clubs is (a) the equipment is designed for women, (b) the gawking factor, and (c) more of the gawk factor because a lot of their clients are Mulsim women, and they want to be able to uncover their heads when they work out. More things to make you go "Mmmm..."

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Ooops.. That would be Muslim; not Mulsim.

Leanne said...

That was a really interesting (and confusing) conversation that we had there. In a world where people are keeping each other at a greater and greater distance, privacy is a big issue. But then they might call those gender and sexuality specific washrooms segregation too, since they would consider this cutting off "sexual diversity" from the general populace, or those most people would consider normal. Though it would offer more privacy for all members of society, there would probably be many against it. And a lot more janitors... Crazy that we came up with all these ideas when we started with women's fitness clubs!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Yeah, Leanne. It just shows you how ludicrous this whole "rights" thing can become.

Which is the greater right: privacy or freedom of association?

Sydney said...

Everyone makes very interesting points. I have worked out at both "musclehead" gyms and health clubs. I think that the type of environment plays a big role into the type of people that are brought into the gym. Some gyms seem to encourage gawking more than others. Then there are others that are family oriented. By separating out gyms I think we're essentially making the larger picture worse.
How can we learn to exist side by side and respect one another if we keep separating ourselves? What's next? Women's and men's only swimming at the public pools? Perhaps this already exists....

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Great to hear from you again, Sydney! Another interesting perspective.

Yes, I guess that's true that some gyms would be ideal venues for singles to meet, whereas others would be intended for actual workouts and family activities.

I have been in fitness classes with the odd male present (o.k. the men weren't "odd" but there weren't very many..) and I felt uncomfortable. However it was only for them, not myself.

Sometimes the instructor would forget that she had men in the class and say something like, "O.K. ladies, now we're going to work on those chests". With women only, you tend to horse around a bit more and relax.

On the other hand, I would love to have a gym nearby that my husband and I could join together.

Gerry said...

Every since I was a child my parents warned us about using public washrooms,and this was at a time when gay meant being happy. Shopping Malls were never a big concern, but Parks and downtown public factilites were never used.

Your four types of washroom suggestion is cute, and as strange as it sounds, someday it could be considered normal - yikes!

God forgive us, for we know not what we do!