There is a difference between exchanging friendly conversations and harassment. Here’s how to make sure you’re not “that kind of man” in a woman’s mind .
Sporty tight clothes. Bodies covered with sweat. Individuals of the opposite sex who share a passion for muscles and fitness. The gym is a natural place to be attracted to people who share the love of the sport. This “fertile” environment to find love (or to satisfy one’s sexual desire) can also be the perfect place for sexual harassment. In some cases, this harassment can be blatant, says Larissa Mercado-López, professor of Women’s Studies at California State University.
“I have been approached, followed and inappropriately touched several times. A man who was going back and forth in the area where I was training slipped between two benches to “accidentally” rub against me.
In many cases, this harassment can take much more subtle forms. According to a study conducted by Fitrated (a sports equipment review platform) with 1,000 people across the United States, the two most common types of harassment at the gym are “being fixed for no reason “and” useless Trialix comments on appearance “. In this study, more than 5% of women (and 1% of men) reported having been sexually harassed at the gym. Many participants also said that they were touched, fiddled or photographed.
According to Leann Shear, founder of Uplift Studios and the Female Society in New York, the result of this kind of behavior is that some women who have experienced this harassment leave their usual gym to join rooms dedicated solely to women. “I see a lot of women coming to Uplift because we only allow women and because they have had bad experiences,” says Shear.
Gentlemen, unless you want to turn your gym into a male-only place, here are a few tips offered by women for not being “that kind of man” at the gym.
Get to their place
For most “decent men”, putting themselves in their shoes simply means thinking from the women’s point of view at the gym and knowing how they can react to certain behaviors.
“Sometimes, in life, we encounter men who are predators,” says Shear. The majority of these people are probably not aware of it, but it’s still intimidating. It starts with awareness. If you are not aware of it at this particular moment, you have a problem.
Understand that many women feel very uncomfortable at the gym. Nearly two-thirds of women in the Fitrated study said they avoided going to the gym because they were anxious or scared to be judged, compared to only one-third of men. Women are more likely to be judged on their weight, waist circumference or misuse of equipment. Gentlemen, be aware of this embarrassment before opening your mouth, even when you think you are saying something nice.
KEEP COMPLIMENTS FOR YOU
According to Mercado-López, even a banal compliment can remind a woman to look at her. Comments on her body or questions about when she is used to going to the gym may also seem suspicious.
Erin Bailey, a blogger and fitness professional in Boston, details one of these types of incidents in a viral article on sexual harassment entitled “What we deserve”. “A man came to me a few months ago at the water fountain in the gym while I filled my bottle. He told me that he liked my leggings, that he made me beautiful buttocks and that I would be even better without “.
When in doubt, avoid making a compliment that could be perceived as harassment, advises Shear. “There is a difference between a compliment and sexually oriented words that are sexual harassment. My advice is to always interpret the signs and leave it alone.
LEAVE IT TO TRAIN IN PEACE
If she has headphones and / or training, do not try to talk to her, Shear advises.
“Do not try to start a conversation with someone in the middle of a weight training session or treadmill. This is not the moment. Point bar. People are attracted to other people and want to chat with them, but there is a time and place for that and the gym during a workout is not the right time. ”
DO NOT STAND YOUR SCIENCE
It is common for men, at least for those who have not been married for some time, to think that they are right and that they must tell women that they are wrong. Gentlemen, when you’re at the gym, resist the urge to explain a workout or movement to a woman. Unless she asked you, do not try to correct her if you do not know her.
“There is an endemic mansplaining at the gym,” says Shear. One day, I was doing my session when a man came to me, started to comment on my routine and try to teach me how to do things better. Of course, he did not know that I was a certified personal trainer who owned a fitness studio. It really pissed me off. ”
Again, put yourself in the woman’s shoes. Would you like to have an opinion that you did not ask from a non-professional in the middle of a squat session? And even though mansplaining may not be considered sexual harassment, you are in a good position to become “that kind of man” at the gym.
No matter how you look at a woman, to avoid misunderstanding, avoid squinting on certain parts of her body. And if you engage in a conversation, remember that his eyes are not on his chest.
COACHES: THIS IS ALSO CONCERNING YOU
According to the study by Fitrated, about 10% of sexual harassers at the gym are coaches. They must also be aware of their behavior, avoid mansplaining and not ogle their clients.