No sir, you are not an alpha male you are an insecure man putting down a woman for wanting to build strength and better her health. Not to mention the fact that women do not need you staring at them while they’re working out.
Last week, I posted on my Instagram story asking my female-identifying followers who go to the gym to share any positive or negative thoughts they’ve had there. Many girls were comfortable and willing to share their experiences. Most of the girls shared their positive experiences, but there were also quite a few negative experiences too.
One of our very own Her Campus at SJSU members, Sarika shared: “ I have only had good experiences going to the gym thankfully! I go with friends which I really like! I know a lot of my friends are nervous to go to the gym because they don’t want to get judged but I always say that most everyone there is just focusing on their own workout.”
Not only did Sarika have good experiences she also had an amazing mindset going into the gym. Having the right mindset when going into the gym and realizing that everyone is there to work on themselves helps avoid the insecurities that may arise when going to the gym for the first time. She was confident and is now comfortable going to the gym alone and being an amazing girl boss at the gym!
The Main Negatives Of Being A Girl At The Gym
Another one of my incredible friends Wendy shared her thoughts on just starting her fitness journey: “It has definitely been hard. The big gym we have here on campus (Sacramento State) is divided into two, upstairs and downstairs. The majority of the girls are upstairs on the cardio machines and the majority of the boys are downstairs in the weight room so it’s definitely intimidating”.
Intimidation is the main emotion that girls face in the gym. With testosterone basically fuming through the air, many girls are scared to ease their way into the weight room section. Fear of judgment is another constant emotion that girls who go to the gym deal with.
Another beautiful Her Campus at SJSU member, Anika Puri, described her concerns thus far in the beginning of her fitness journey: “I noticed people, guys especially, staring at me and it was super uncomfortable. I go to the gym for my own health and to have someone looking at me, almost judging me, whether it be in a negative or positive way really affects my decision to want to go to the gym.”
Being a woman means receiving unwanted stares and comments from men. We deal with this anywhere and everywhere we go. Hearing or witnessing this behavior in the gym, a place where one goes for health reasons is not something we need as women.
My friend Lizzy shared the same issue of unwanted stares from men, especially older men at the gym:“ I was stretching after working out and I caught a man in a machine right next to the room staring at me the entire time. I was very frustrated because I had gone to that room to get more privacy since I know sometimes people stare.”
Women are very alert and aware when they are being watched and the fact that Lizzy already knew to go to another room to get privacy because she had already received stares in the past shows that women have to adapt to these uncomfortable situations to avoid unwanted attention.
“I felt that if I had told the front desk, they wouldn’t have done anything or he would’ve found some way to flip the situation to get me in trouble. I still wish I could have told them or at least someone.”
In this situation, Lizzy wanted to tell the front desk but felt as though she wouldn’t be heard. I have seen countless videos online, especially on Tik Tok, of many women explaining to the front desk at their gyms of creepy older men staring at them and the gyms not handling the situation appropriately. In this video, however, the woman took action and the man was found and banned from the gym. Women, do not be afraid to take action against these men.
This isn’t an article hating all guys at the gym. There are many guys at the gym that are always encouraging, motivating, and helping you. I thankfully have met many amazing gym bros that are confident in themselves that they don’t feel the need to put down women for working out and who support girls without judgment.
These negative experiences aren’t meant to discourage girls from working out at the gym. Every girl is powerful and strong for putting their energy towards their health and fitness journey. Sadly this is the reality that comes with being a girl at the gym.
It is important for any girl reading this to remember that if you feel uncomfortable at the gym from receiving unwanted stares, tell the front desk. I would even encourage you to go up to that creepy man and call him out for staring at you and making you feel uncomfortable. Confront him. Make him feel uncomfortable and acknowledge his misbehavior. It is important to bring light to situations like these and amplify our voices.
Share your thoughts on gym culture @HerCampusSJSU