Last week, the Stanford Daily posted about new women-focused weightlifting hours in one of Stanford's many gyms. This week, a triggered little boy filed a filed a Title IX complaint to the U.S. Department of Education; a gender discrimination complaint to California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which enforces the Unruh Act; and an Act of Intolerance report through Stanford’s Student Affairs office.
“Am I hurt from women’s-only anything? Probably not,” Adam Behrendt, the survivor who filed the report, told the Daily. “Does it sort of bother me that it sort of undermines the gender equity push? Yeah.”
First of all, Adam, I am so glad that your major requires so little of you that you have time to file all these reports and complaints over something that "sort of bothers you."
Quick piece of advice, though, in the slightly-altered words of Christina Hoff Sommers:
Want to close the wage gap? Step one: change your major from meninist weight lifting therapy to electrical engineering.
Don't get me wrong. I totally get why it "kind of bothers you." It kind of bothers me, too, I guess. It's very funny and weird and a sign of the times that a so-called "inclusivity committee" would design an exclusive program for women and trans-women.
But, honey. Did you read the article before commenting?
They're not taking any resources away from men. In fact, they're actually opening up spaces in the gym by using a private space that is normally reserved for personal training and has never had open fitness hours. No equipment has been taken from the main fitness room to accommodate the pesky womenfolk.
Do I, personally, understand why women and trans-women in the community feel uncomfortable in the weight room due to "lack of privacy, pressure to hurry and religious reasons, among other factors"?
No, not really.
Like, it was vaguely annoying, back in the day when I was into weight lifting, when men would offer to help me take plates off my bar because they didn't think I'd be able to squat that much...
But I simply used my big girl words to tell them no, thanks, then proceeded to squash their hopes and dreams.
Just like if, if some guy came up to me and tried to "mansplain" some aspect of weight lifting or fitness to me, I'd use my big girl words to tell him to buzz off.
As I wrote in Here's How I Stopped My Mansplainer From Mansplaining:
You definitely think it's a lot "ruder" than it is. Direct and rude aren't the same thing. And when your health or safety are on the line, there is no such thing as "rude." There is only healthy and safe.
It's not "rude" to be direct or use your words. You're overestimating how bad it is because that's what everyone does when it comes to their own behavior.
(Though, to be fair, if I found him particularly annoying, I might consider throwing in a little zinger, like, "Oh. Have you ever been world-ranked at a sport? Have you ever competed at the DI level? Have you ever trained with Olympians? I have! Oh, by the way, I noticed your knees were popping out a bit during your last set. Be careful with that! You don't want to hurt yourself!"
Or maybe something a little softer, like, "That may be interesting and new information for you, but I've known that since I was, like, 12." Or, "Aww! You're so cute! I remember my first time in the weight room!"
Or even just, "Why? Why would you think I don't already know that?" Then look him in the eyes and wait as long as it takes for him to respond. See also: Don't Say No. Ask Why.)
But, of course, it's easier for me to say something like this, because I do have a lot of athletic experience. I'm better than most men at most sports.
This isn't the case for most women. So... okay. I can see why it would be "intimidating" for some women, especially if they were new to free weights, to hop right in with the men and begin learning. Or even why, if you have certain religious beliefs, lifting in a mixed-gender environment would be... something. (Though no religious system, not even Islam, should be above criticism.)
If there's a way to support women in their fitness pursuits without taking away any resources from men... is there a good reason not to?
And, sure, given what I've said above, it could be argued that the resources would be better spent teaching women to be confident and assertive, or something. But, like... you can't simply teach confidence. You earn and build it through hard work, perseverance, and mastery. And if we've learned anything from the audience effect, it's that being watched makes us better at things we think we're good at... but much worse at things we're not sure we're good at. Plus, is "assertiveness training" really under the purview of the fitness center?
At the same time, I hate regressive, woman-as-a-child feminism, and I've had my share of complaints about Title IX abuses.
I was strongly opposed to women-only swimming hours at public pools in Brooklyn... but that's because that did take resources away from men. Also, the whole "separation of church and state" thing.
I guess what would sway me one way or the other would be seeing the budget for the women's only training hours. But, somehow, I doubt that they're spending enough on these sessions to offset the cost of, say, intramural sports, which do take space away from other gym-goers and require equipment, scoreboards, scorekeepers, and referees -- and are very disproportionately male.
Clearly, I'm ambivalent about many aspects of this issue. And there's no shame in that. It's beautiful to be ambivalent. It means you're thinking about an issue -- using your brain, instead of following your tribe. More people should strive to be ambivalent.
Either way, though, I think we can all agree that if you want to live a happy life, you shouldn't get your panties all up in a bunch over every little thing. It's just not healthy... I feel like there's a South Park episode about that. :P
But since Adam is a Stanford student, perhaps Shakespeare is a little more up his alley:
Though justice be thy plea, consider this--
Revenge is super hot on the regressive left right now... but you don't have to follow suit. There's nothing wrong with taking a deep breath and reminding yourself that this "offensive" thing in no way affects you... then going out and having an awesome day.
About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
Want to support The Happy Talent? CLICK HERE!
Or Find me on Patreon!
What's Popular on The Happy Talent:
Trending in Dating and Relationships:
What's Popular in Science:
Playfulness and Leisure Skills:
Popular in Psychology and Social Skills: