University Gyms Telling Students to Cover Up

Does Not Wearing Sleeves in Gyms Promote Negative Body Image?


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Feminists Cry: “No Shoes, No Sleeves, No Service”  

On May 31st, I was denied entry into McMaster’s Pulse Fitness Gym and Centre.

When I asked why, a staff member politely told me, “We don’t let anyone wear sleeveless shirts in our gyms.”

At first, I laughed. What a stupid policy to enforce in a gym during the summer months. It’s hot as hell.

The staff member was totally serious, though. He explained to me that they enforce the policy because other people – namely, women and fat people – have body image problems.

They don’t want to see my muscles. Right away, I knew this was an example of the dodgy feminist “body positivity” movement at work.

Again, I laughed. I straight up told him, “I got no muscles. I got my own body image problems. That’s why I’m tryin’ to lift weights.” He started laughing too. But, eventually, he stopped. He looked inside a dirty lost-n-found basket, gave me a bunch of raggedly polos and sweaters, then said, “You gotta wear something with sleeves. It’s the rules.”

I could tell that the staff member was sympathetic to my minor inconvenience. I’m not mad at him. I’m not even mad at “the system,” even though my tuition pays for this crappy gym membership.

This is the outfit that the new gym policies banned.

I know some folks who would flip out over less. They’d be cursing and screaming at the poor staff, “YOU GONNA TELL ME I GOTTA WEAR A DAMN SWEATER BECAUSE OF OTHER PEOPLE’S SENSITIVITIES!”

My own grandmother wouldn’t stand for this treatment. She’d smack damn some sense into these people. But, alas, I spend most of my days now trolling on the Internet. Occasionally, I play Minecraft. Other times, I’m rapping. I’m not a huge political or social activist, anymore.

I declined the clothes he wanted to give me. I went to the front desk of the McMaster’s Sports Centre. They, just as polite and sympathetic as the guy before, gave me a clean t-shirt to wear while working out. I had a good workout… and that’s the end of my minor inconvenience…

I’m not going to make a scene, right?

Surely, I wouldn’t write about my minor inconvenience in an online newspaper?

Well… Here’s the thing… The entire time I was working out, in the back of my head I was thinking,

“AIN’T THIS SOME OLD BULLS**T?!” And, indeed, it was.

I get it… There are people in the world who have self-esteem issues. There are also “Gym Rats” who are jacked and make other people working out insecure. Yes, a lot of those unironic “Do You Lift, Bro?” guys and gals are a**holes. I’m not trying to defend them.

That being said, who do these fat, insecure, low self-esteem people think they are to tell a gym to enforce this policy– a ridiculous “No Shoes, No Sleeves, No Service” policy?

Who are they to give the staff here at McMaster’s Sports Centre more work against their own will?

And, who are they to, not only judge what I wear, but try to tell me that I’m in the wrong for wearing what I want to wear? Look, if you have body image problems, and you get triggered by me not having selves on, it sounds like to me you need therapy. It sounds like a personal issue. I’m just keeping it real. Why are you making your irrationality everyone’s problem? It’s just a sleeveless shirt!

You don’t have to gaze over at me! I know for a fact that feminists and the “body positivity” movement hate it when others tell them what they can or cannot wear, especially because of the “Male Gaze.” They hate it when men tell them what to wear. I hate it too. Why then do these same people turn around and tell me what I can or cannot wear through a gym policy?

I would never tell anyone, especially a fat person for that matter, what they can or cannot wear.

Feminists: I have no problem with women not wearing bras, and you can not wear a tampon and free-bleed all you want. I don’t care if you nasty like that. Girl, you can wear as little or as much as you want.

Why then are you not giving me (and everyone else here at the university gym) the same level of courtesy?

It’s a gym, not a “safespace”. We should be able to wear whatever we want. Get over yourself.

I made a sort of humorous post about my story on my Facebook. A lot of people, including an instructor at McMaster, liked my post and agreed with my general sentiments.

I soon found out that I’m not the only one who has been denied entry on the grounds of, “You have no sleeves.”  And, as it turns out, a lot people who work out- male and female- from all different kinds of universities are getting pretty sick and tired of being told what to wear because of other people’s sensitivities.

F**ck your sensitivities!

I’m going to end this article off by saying this…

I didn’t want to write this article. I didn’t want this to be my problem. I got my own problems, man. I’m going to be married pretty soon.

I’m gonna have all kinds of bills to pay and mouths to feed.

These people made their own body image problem my problem. They made their personal insecurity, lack of self-esteem, fatness, etc… They made that bulls**hit my problem. OUR PROBLEM!

Instead of just being an adult and dealing it yourself, they whine until the university gym caves. And, yeah, I know, it’s just a minor inconvenience. It’s not a big deal. Frankly, I’m still laughing about it. I’m smiling.

But, at the same time, after all is said and done, and you’re lifting weights in a hand-me-down, I know I’m not the only one thinking, “AIN’T THIS SOME OLD BULLS**T?!”


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Jay Fayza

Jay Fayza is a fourth year Political Science student at McMaster University [Last Year, Finally]. He is the co-president of the pro-life club, McMaster Lifeline, and is a member of the McMaster Debate Club, McMaster Conservatives, McMaster Hip-Hop Club, and McMaster Catholic Student's Association. Professionally, he has worked with political lobby organizations such as Campaign Life Coalition. He has also worked with audiovisual production companies and technology firms as his personal interests, aside from politics, often revolve around live-shows, music, and audio engineering.

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