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I Can’t Wear A Cutoff To The Gym, And I’m In My Bag About It

As you may already know, fashion is a critical part of any women’s life. Even if fashion is not what you think about when you get dressed in the morning, it still shapes the way your day plays out. Dressing up or dressing down — everyone has a unique style. Your favorite concert t-shirt and sweats (my go to outfit most days of the week) let you subtly express yourself with optimal comfort.

So, why can’t I dress however I want at the gym? Our gym at the University of Scranton has a pretty strict code against wearing shirts that don’t have sleeves. Strict in the sense that they will ask you to change if you come in a tank top. I did some further investigation and I found MRSA (a type of staff infection) to be the culprit. Initially, I was astonished to think perhaps outside influence was the cause since you already must swipe your Royal Card and sign in before you can use the gym. So, this is sort-of a relief, yet  slightly disappointing. I would appreciate having a cleanly gym and not having to worry about wearing sleeves in order to risk a staff infection, so better safe than sorry.

It is a shame that the sleeves of our shirts could all be taken away by the threat of an infection. From friends I’ve talked to no one else has this rule at their gym. It makes you think, MRSA must have really made an impact to stop students from flaunting their bis and tris at the gym. And although no one I know at other schools has a policy banning shirts from their gym because an infectious outbreak, it is evident that colleges can be a cesspool of disease. Average students in their prime of their youth, with a goal to receive a degree, also tend to be very unsanitary it seems. It’s crazy, why are college kids so gross? *No offense intended, myself being one of them*  I do know some days I would really love to free my arms after a workout at the gym. Honestly, I do not completely understand it; I’ve read that MRSA can be spread many ways, primarily from body to body contact, so I understand protecting everyone’s armpits from spreading whatever is going on in their body can be preventive, but so can wiping down the machine. Which, by the way, should be done before AND after you use them. And a sign as a reminder could be a nice, non-threating way to discretely protect against MRSA. Instead, we are told to change. Without even an explanation, which can leave women in fit fab tanks, or guys trying to flex, feeling ashamed.

I did receive answers about this policy, but only after I looked for them. My first thought was not, ‘oh it’s probably because they’re protecting against spread of disease’, when they told me I had to change before coming back, and most likely isn’t other collegiates’s thought either. So, when I look at my favorite models and see them 100% s~l~a~y at the gym, I kind of wish I could at my gym, too.

Notice, only one of Kendall Jenner’s gym outfits from above would be allowed at our gym. It makes you think WWKD if she was told she had to change before she could work out in our gym? Would Kendall give in and change? Probably, because at the end of the day this topic is not that big of a deal. BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT’S IMPORTANT. With style and poise, she emits inspiration and motivates lots of young women to express themselves fully and reach for their goals. And college is when you’re supposed to experiment with your likes and dislikes to figure out who you are, and how to be your best self, finally independent with a lot of freedom. Even if it’s for our protection, there are other ways to protect against MRSA, like the number one preventive tactic of any disease: awareness.

At the end of the day, you are still left with someone telling you what you can and cannot wear, which is truly discouraging. Not to even mention the fact, that working out in just a sports bra and leggings can be one of the most comfortable and freeing experiences ever.

Thus, I am left unsatisfied. Maybe college students just need to be a little cleaner. I know this one girl at Scranton who washes her hands before she uses the bathroom and we could all be a little smarter like her. Wipe down your machine before you use it, you never know, maybe we’ll all be sleeveless in the gym before we know it ;).

But more than anything, the main point of this article is to remind all the collegiates out there, not to be discouraged by what anyone tells you. We know through our years of achievements due to persistence, that women are unstoppable. So slay ladies, never back down. And don’t be surprised if you see me at the gym, possibly still contracting MRSA, looking like Mariah Carey that one time she wore heels and tights to the gym.

Hi, my name is becky and Im 21, class of 2020, and studying enviormental engineering. I really like the outdoors and appreciate the simple things in life like long walks on the beach, reading poetry and learning about new friends. I love hercampus's support for women and all that hercampus has to offer for women. Some of my hobbies include drawing, snowboarding, playing tennis, doing yoga and eating. 
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