OPINION%3A+App+State+gyms+need+women+only+times

Bella Lantz, Opinion Writer

The gyms at App State are open for all students to go and enjoy doing what they love. However, is it a good idea to have all gym hours open for anyone at any time? What would the App State gyms be like if the gyms had a designated women’s time? A time when women can work out without the fear of being harassed or surrounded by men. A time when women do not feel restricted to certain activities within the gym or feel the need to wear certain articles of clothing. Feeling uncomfortable at the gym is an issue so many women face. Implementing an all women time at the App State gyms will help support inclusivity and fight harassment. 

App State claims to focus on inclusion and equity in its core values but, on average, 4 out of 5 women, within this predominantly US survey, have felt uncomfortable and unsafe at the gym. With new videos coming out every day supporting the idea of an all women’s time at gyms, what’s stopping App State from making the switch?

Currently, the three indoor gyms on campus are Quinn, Mt. Mitchell and Student Recreational Center. On average, each one is open 12 hours a day or more. App State could take three hours out of the gyms’ opening times and designate it to only women. Both men and women could still enjoy the gym for around nine hours every day. It is always helpful, as a woman, to check the times of the gyms to see when the gym is least busy. Checking the times is not to see when the gym is overcrowded, but to make sure there are not any unwanted male confrontations and be able to wear the clothes that are the most comfortable. Women should not have to wonder what times they can go to the gym to avoid being harassed by men, especially because of what they are wearing.

Statistics show that over 50% of women who go to the gym feel the need to wear certain articles of clothing to feel comfortable working out around men in the gym. In order for women to feel comfortable working out, they should feel free to wear clothes that make them feel confident, not what they think will attract the least attention from men. It is almost as if there is a dress code for women at the gym. There are many high schools where girls can only wear clothes deemed appropriate for the school. Women should not have to continue wearing clothing deemed appropriate around men.

I have gone to the SRC several times since school started. There are several times when I have been inside the SRC with leggings or biker shorts on, and the men focus their attention elsewhere, causing the clothes to become a distraction from the workout routine. Even with the issues the gym has, the SRC is still an amazing place to go and work out. The staff for UREC are amazing and always there to assist. The activities there are incredibly fun and everything is usually clean, but the gym would be so much more comfortable if there was a designated time for women only.

There are so many places around the U.S. changing their gyms into all women’s gym facilities. App State does not have to build a whole building for an all women’s gym on campus. App State just needs to be aware and consider the benefits to women on campus having a designated time at the gym to feel safe and comfortable while doing what they love.