Andrew R from Go Healthy, Go Fit is guest posting today to give us ladies a glimpse into how guys see the gym. His blog is one of my favorites, and honestly, he’s freakin’ adorable so make sure you check out his site. I’m guest posting on his blog today as well, so after you read his great post make sure you head there to read my piece, Progressions: Take Your Workout to the Next Level.
SEXUAL POLITICS AT THE GYM
I’m not talking about whether or not more women wear Obama shirts than men at the gym. That’s not the kind of politics I’m talking about here! I’m talking about how men and women interact at the gym, coming from an honest man’s point of view.
Most men perceive the gym as a forum to display their masculinity. Simply put, the more weight you can lift, the bigger the tough guy you are. So while size (no, not that size) and strength might not matter to the ladies, it’s men’s way of competing in the urban jungle that is your gym.
I used the word “compete” here for a reason. As a guy, you may not notice this competitive nature in the gym as being anything other than natural, but as a girl, it’s so over the top that it warrants an eye roll followed by the inner monologue “OMG – what a d-bag”. That’s right guys, women have evolved along side of you this whole time. Just because you see male mountain goats and deer ramming their horned domes at each other to attract a mate, it doesn’t mean that you should do the same.
I work out at a gym that does not have a lot of girls in it. So when an attractive girl does come into the gym, it’s like a light switch turns on in every guys head. It’s hilarious, you can see it right away if you’re looking for it. All of a sudden, weights get re-racked for bigger ones and elliptical machines start moving faster.
Kelly brought up a really interesting point of how men tend to send a message of disapproval, via stares, whenever a girl walks into the free weight section of the gym. I have definitely seen this. It’s not only the fact that guys associate free weight lifting with ONLY lifting heavy, otherwise it doesn’t matter. No, no, it’s also a territorial thing. Since the free weight section of the gym tends to be utilized more so with guys than with girls, the guys look at it as a “Coliseum” of sorts, where the gladiators will duke it out for the approval of the ladies.
While a great deal of this sexual politics in the gym does fall on the shoulder of testosterone pumped guys, I would say that they aren’t 100% of the problem. I worked out at another gym a few weeks ago and I started to notice that quite a few young ladies were “competing” in their own way. Some had full make-up on, some had obviously just done their hair, and some were wearing outfits that sent the same message as a guy who wears a wife beater and shorts only to lift the shirt every three seconds to show off his abs. That they’ve got the goods and they want everyone else to know it!!
Now, I’m not saying that the way girls look causes this show of aggression from guys, far from it. All I’m saying is that when people show off, guy or girl, it’s gonna get a reaction from the opposite sex. So the question is this: Is this sort of sexual politics in the gym a perpetuating cycle, reinforced by guys showing aggression and girls showing off their figure?? If so, can it ever be curbed given the fact that people have sexual instincts inherent to their genetic code?? Or is there only one sex, male or female, that should be to blame for this type of behavior?
Thanks for letting me guest post Kelly! And thank you to the faithful readers of Grounded Fitness. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!!
All the Best,
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