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A look into body shaming at the gym

Ari Reyes, Contributing Writer

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Feeling comfortable in a public space is generally something everyone wants, especially in a place like the gym. However, sometimes this isn’t the case due to body shaming by others who are working out at the gym, with people gawking at them or videotaping them, making them feel uncomfortable. While this can happen to anyone regardless of gender, often women will find themselves the target of such behavior. No one wants to feel uncomfortable, especially when they’re trying to better themselves.

 

The last time I was at the gym I didn’t feel totally welcomed or comfortable. As a person who doesn’t work out too often, it was upsetting to see others being rude while I was there with a friend to improve my well-being. Two girls who I knew a bit from high school were on the treadmills behind us, and they were snickering. I could hear them whispering rude comments, so instead of standing up for ourselves we stopped our treadmills and left. Thinking back on that situation, I should’ve said something about how disrespectful they were being. If people are  made uncomfortable they tend to try to avoid the situation instead of standing up for themselves.

 

As welcoming as the environment at Clark can be, even the gym here is full of judgment. A few of my friends have used the gym and have had to avoid places, people, and certain times of day there. People would stare at or even video tape them working out. While working on their health, students shouldn’t feel as if they have to wait until a certain time to go to the gym. I personally haven’t experienced any shameful acts here, but I know friends who have. In the cases of women being videotaped while running on the treadmill or using the bikes, they should be able to confront the people who are doing so. Unfortunately, most will not because the majority of people do not like conflict. If I were to catch someone recording me, I would stop what I was doing and go somewhere else in the gym to avoid them.

 

Body shaming is harmful to a person’s mental health. The gym is supposed to be a place where not just physical, but also mental health can be strengthened. The gym is some people’s safe haven, but the rude remarks of others can ruin it. Everybody should feel welcomed, not ashamed of the way they look. Instead of gym goers making fun of others, they should encourage them to push themselves in furthering their fitness. Making the gym a welcoming place would result in more people feeling comfortable and wanting to go. Through encouragement, we as a school can make the gym a safe place to be, and people will be happy.

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The student news site of Clark University
I’m Working on It