Separating Genders

WaterBomb

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Good evening all! I just came across something interesting that i felt would make a good discussion topic for cong, so here it is.

My wife just joined a gym near us. Among its many perks, it also has a 'women only' section. It has the same equipment and amenities, but only women are allowed to work out in there. I am not sure if there is an official stated reason for this, but one can assume it's an attempt to provide women an area to work out in that is free from the threat of unwanted comments, advances, or oggling from men.

Now, my reaction to this goes some different directions. On the one hand, I get the concept of protecting women from harassment. Everyone should feel comfortable working out without being objectified, and this is clearly a much bigger issue with women than men. The simplest way to prevent these unwanted interactions is strict separation, which is what is being done here.

On the other hand, I wonder if this is truly the best method of combating the issue. While it certainly accomplishes the goal of preventing harassment, is it helping to discourage the behavior in the first place? Or is it just deflecting the issue to happen somewhere else? This raises another question: is it even the responsibility of the gym management to be trying to educate men on proper behavior?

My personal feeling is that this action, while well intentioned, is only deflecting the issue. I believe the focus should be not on separation, but on fostering an inclusive environment where people feel safe reporting unwanted advances, and severe punishments for those actions that ultimately discourage the behavior to begin with. But again, this might not be something the gym management feels qualified or responsible to do, so I would understand if that's why they did this.

How does everyone feel about this? Discuss!
 
This echoes the "just teach men not to rape women" discussions I've seen on the internet. I agree that the separation is only a deflection of the real underlying problem, that people (not just straight men) seem to have issues with self-control around members of the opposite sex. I think the issue is mainly cultural and societal, that maybe people aren't raised with strong enough self-discipline and self-control as well as strong moral judgment. I've seen in person and on the internet situations where people try to justify morally questionable behaviors by saying things like "because I can" or "because they (the victims) like it." Harassing people just because you can. This type of thinking always disgusts me.

From what I've learned in university (and experience), one of the reasons men harass women more often than the other way around is because of traditional patriarchal beliefs. Traditionally, women are supposed to be in the private sphere while men are in the public sphere, so when gender equality was pushed for and women started coming out into the public sphere, patriarchist men saw this as a threat to their gender superiority. So these men try to make women feel uncomfortable where men "are supposed to" be dominant; it's about putting women back in their place underneath men's place in society, leading to intimidation and harassment. This mindset unfortunately spread far and wide so that men may engage in these behaviors without always realizing it; I remember my uncle telling me that I should be looking for girls to ask out, he would be trying to point out "cute" girls when we go places, telling me I should go ask for phone numbers, and I would just get angry like "Have you ever considered that maybe they don't want a guy right now? Maybe they already have relationships that you don't care to even think about? Why do you feel the need to impose your masculinity on people who are just doing their own thing?" If women were to be asking me if I wanted to go out with them, asking for my phone number, following me around telling me I'm cute, touching me, etc., I would feel pretty uncomfortable being in public too.

Anyway, this thread could easily go awry if those kinds of people appear here. I won't be commenting much if they do, they're very difficult to reason with.
 

Blazade

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As far as I see it, all this signifies is a market desire for a gym to have a women only section, whether that comes from harassment or not. It doesn't even have to be as ugly as avoiding harassment for people to want something more private, or for women to feel more comfortable in their own space, but I'm not gonna pretend to speak for any woman's motivation here.

As far as combatting the problem, I don't see something like this as a band aid, or that more broadly any "safe space" signifies that the people inside can't cope with the real world or real world problems, just that they want a break from having to think about them all the time. Even if you aren't being harassed a smart person will have the presence of mind to know they might be. Women aren't forced to go into these spaces, so it isn't like the gym is throwing up their hands and saying "we can't stop harassment or create a safe environment, so this what we have to do". I'm sure they deal with issues in the common areas as they arise.
 

Soul Fly

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I don't know what the sociopolitical scenario is where you live but these measures are usually introduced in response to the lack of women's participation in the social space concerned. While I understand your point about this not being an actual solution, the concern here probably isn't to solve the lopsided gender equation in the gym the concern is probably a more basic one of getting more women to join the gym in the first place. It's probably fair to assume that management of this establishment (which I assume is a profit making enterprise) chose to section off a considerable portion of their infrastructure and equipment because either through feedback or demographic they realised that the issue was grave enough to warrant such a measure to maintain or increase their female membership numbers.

If a woman feels comfortable enough to work out in the common area they'll probably work out in the common area, if not there's always the reserved space for them. Point is more likely than not such a measure ensures more of them feel comfortable showing up and that can't be a bad thing. Any question of integration while important is necessarily premised on the first criterion being met. As long as male members don't face equipment shortage I don't see the real problem other than the "aww shucks" variety.

looking forward to someone spinning it into an affirmative action "debate"
 
As far as I see it, all this signifies is a market desire for a gym to have a women only section. It doesn't even have to be as ugly as avoiding harassment for people to want something more private, or for women to feel more comfortable in their own space, but I'm not gonna pretend to speak for any woman's motivation here.

As far as combatting the problem, I don't see something like this as a band aid, or that more broadly any "safe space" signifies that the people inside can't cope with the real world or real world problems, just that they want a break from having to think about them all the time. Even if you aren't being harassed a smart person will have the presence of mind to know they might be. Women aren't forced to go into these spaces, so it isn't like the gym is throwing up their hands and saying "we can't stop harassment or create a safe environment, so this what we have to do". I'm sure they deal with issues in the common areas as they arise.
Sucked the wind out of the reply I was typing and summed up my thoughts exactly. It's a smart business move from the gym because it fills a market need, and nothing really more than that. From just listening and having conversations with female friends and co-workers, there seems to be a pretty large group of women that would like to go to a gym or have once been to a gym, but haven't because of bad experiences or the fear of a bad experience. And having a designated area does nothing but separate you from places that doesn't offer that option.

I don't think it has to be anything more than that, and there isn't really that much of an societal issue that goes along with it outside of just wanting a bit more privacy/peace of mind.
 

Aurella

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I mean, this isn't really something new or extraordinary tbh. There are already women-only yoga classes and retreats, so a ladies only part of the gym isn't that much a stretch. It isn't really about keeping men out or fearing for our lives; it's just nice to socialize with other women in a space that's inclusive and encouraging of female-to-female interaction and bonding, without the anxiety of worrying over men's perceptions.

Sort of the same idea behind boys only camping trips or clubs, so if there's some larger malicious social agenda at work in the local gym, I'm just not seeing it. :shrugs:
 
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WaterBomb

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What did your wife think?
To be honest we didn't really discuss it at length yet. She just mentioned it during her description of the gym. She mentioned it positively though, so would gather she thinks it's a good thing. Knowing my wife, she's probably indifferent.
 

Myzozoa

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this is pretty much standard practice at every large high-end urban gym (having a small covered-off and not easily visible from the lobby area for women to work out away from the wandering eyes of men), been going on forever and there is even a chain of gyms called 'curves' that consists of only such a space.

it isnt the gyms' responsibility to figure out the problems of contemporary masculinity, but rather to meet the demands of their customers which this evidently is.
 
The whole second part of your post reeks of the "teach men not to rape" argument that I already disagree with on a fundamental level. Truth be told, I don't really agree with the "deflection" argument either. In fact, I think it's a good idea to have a private room in the gym. There are people who have low self esteem when trying to work out. Both Men and Women have this issue. There are also people who simply don't want to be bothered too. I.E women who don't want to be hit on. So having a private area where people can do their thing without other people around is ultimately a good thing. Heck I think it should go a step beyond and include a Men's private area as well as a Women's private area. As I said, there are men who have self esteem issues that would really like to go to a gym. So I'm sure providing for them would only be a good thing for everyone involved.

Ultimately, I believe it's more nuanced then, "Women are constantly being ogled by men" That's only a part of it IMO.
 

Myzozoa

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lol if you disagree with 'teach men not to rape" i dont think i need to have a conversation w you about anything, why would you disagree with that other than you have low empathy for women and are yourself a highly entitled-feeling man?
 
lol if you disagree with 'teach men not to rape" i dont think i need to have a conversation w you about anything, why would you disagree with that other than you have low empathy for women and are yourself a highly entitled-feeling man?
Because the term "teach men not to rape" is literally nothing more than a sexist term that describes every man as a rapist, stupid, or both. You don't teach men not to rape because most men already know not to rape. Rapists do not care if they rape. It's a sociopath thing not a man thing. I.E there are Women rapists as well.
 

Myzozoa

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lol when did that phrase become a 'term'...

Anyway, that phrase describes men as being in need of education, which is much less problematic than the personalized and diminishing sense you project onto the phrase in order to make it a 'term' with a universal unequivocal definition. In my experience and in statistics there is a significant percentage of men that do rape and they even care that they rape, but they really did not know better and failed to understand how consent is established at all. You can't find a sociopath hardly anywhere statistically (less than 2% of the population), but 1/3-1/5 of women and 1/10 men experience physical sexual violence, 90% of that violence is perpetrated by men. I would add that none of the previous stats even touches on the hardly spoken about, let alone statistically explained, issue of people who retaliate if you refuse to sleep with them...

I know men who are rapists that are not sociopaths, they feel very badly. I agree that they should be punished, perhaps even dehumanized, but your claim that rape is a 'sociopath thing' lacks any evidence to support it beyond a possible further dim projection that by definition a rapist is a sociopath. Further the association between being a rapist and being sociopath is contradicted by the prevalence of rape vs the prevalence of sociopathy. of course there are women who are rapists, but the vast majority of sexual violence is done by men (90%) so I don't see why that demographic shouldn't be reached explicitly.

If all you have to say is 'what about women who rape' in response to 'teach men not to rape', youre ignoring the 'gender gap' when it comes to sexual violence. Further you ignore that nothing in 'teach men not to rape' precludes also educating women not to rape lol. how rigid can your thinking get? if we educate men, then we have to stop educating women? oml, never reply to me plz, just ignore my posts if you cant make your mind stretch a little bit. (dont shoot up any schools tho). also where were you in the threads when people are calling all black people criminals? its fine to call all black people criminals that but if KD reads that men need to be educated about rape, thats truly taking a stereotype too far and he draws a line

spare me
 
"No no, it's clearly this specific small group of men that rape and only them, so men don't need to be taught not to rape. ALSO, WOMEN DO IT TOO!!!!" is a fucking baffling belief and just makes me think you are intentionally being disingenuous as fuck
 
"No no, it's clearly this specific small group of men that rape and only them, so men don't need to be taught not to rape. ALSO, WOMEN DO IT TOO!!!!" is a fucking baffling belief and just makes me think you are intentionally being disingenuous as fuck
Because you clearly aren't listening and simply assuming because yes, women do rape too. When you say, "Teach men not to rape" what you are actually saying is that only men rape and all men are rapists. it's that simple.


lol when did that phrase become a 'term'...

Anyway, that phrase describes men as being in need of education, which is much less problematic than the personalized and diminishing sense you project onto the phrase in order to make it a 'term' with a universal unequivocal definition. In my experience and in statistics there is a significant percentage of men that do rape and they even care that they rape, but they really did not know better and failed to understand how consent is established at all. You can't find a sociopath hardly anywhere statistically (less than 2% of the population), but 1/3-1/5 of women and 1/10 men experience physical sexual violence, 90% of that violence is perpetrated by men. I would add that none of the previous stats even touches on the hardly spoken about, let alone statistically explained, issue of people who retaliate if you refuse to sleep with them...

I know men who are rapists that are not sociopaths, they feel very badly. I agree that they should be punished, perhaps even dehumanized, but your claim that rape is a 'sociopath thing' lacks any evidence to support it beyond a possible further dim projection that by definition a rapist is a sociopath. Further the association between being a rapist and being sociopath is contradicted by the prevalence of rape vs the prevalence of sociopathy. of course there are women who are rapists, but the vast majority of sexual violence is done by men (90%) so I don't see why that demographic shouldn't be reached explicitly.

If all you have to say is 'what about women who rape' in response to 'teach men not to rape', youre ignoring the 'gender gap' when it comes to sexual violence. Further you ignore that nothing in 'teach men not to rape' precludes also educating women not to rape lol. how rigid can your thinking get? if we educate men, then we have to stop educating women? oml, never reply to me plz, just ignore my posts if you cant make your mind stretch a little bit. (dont shoot up any schools tho). also where were you in the threads when people are calling all black people criminals? its fine to call all black people criminals that but if KD reads that men need to be educated about rape, thats truly taking a stereotype too far and he draws a line

spare me
I'll admit I mistook "Phrase" for "term" but it's semantics anyway.

Anyway, First off, I.E "men are stupid and need to learn not to rape because all men are rapists". Secondly 1/3 to 1/2 of women? I'm sorry what? Do I even need to explain why that sounds like a load of BS? Please tell me you have have any reputable sources for that staggeringly high number?

Onto your second paragraph, I would probably being a bit to hyperbolic. Simply put, people don't really care about being a rapist in the moment. Whether it be a power thing, revenge, or simply because they're actually a sociopath, they simply don't care. That's what I meant when I said "it's a sociopath thing. My main point being, I don't think any rapist didn't have full knowledge that what they were doing was wrong so teaching anyone not to rape is beyond a waste of time. Also, "90% of rapists are men." You really seem to like throwing around these huge numbers and just expecting people to believe them. Truth be told though, I'm slightly more inclined to believe this claim but a source would still be nice.

Onto your third paragraph, do you mean that "90% of rapists are men" you literally threw out expecting me to just go with it? Also, "teach men not to rape". The phrase literally precludes women from it. I also like how you instantly associate me with the alt / far right just because I think "teach men not to rape" is stupidly hyperbolic and sexist. *Don't shoot up any schools* Yea ok buddy. Maybe stop being so triggered just cause I disagree with you.

Finally, no, I was not in the forums when this "all black people are criminals" thing was going on. If I were I'd have argued against that because I'm not a fan of generalizing a group of people. That's kinda the whole point of this argument we're having. "teach men not to rape" is a hyperbolic phrase that implies all men are rapists / stupid. Most men already know not to rape. Most rapists already know that rape is wrong. Ergo, this whole thing is stupid.
 

TheValkyries

proudly reppin' 2 superbowl wins since DEFLATEGATE
“I can’t believe women experience such a large amount of sexual violence” says man who must not have a good enough relationship with enough women to know how laughable such an exclamation is.
 

vonFiedler

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I can separate the women in my life into two categories. The 1/4 that have told me they have been raped, and the 3/4 that have not told me whether they have been raped or not. Reality check.
 
I can separate the women in my life into two categories. The 1/4 that have told me they have been raped, and the 3/4 that have not told me whether they have been raped or not. Reality check.
I may not be reading it right, but I'm pretty sure I didn't see a 1/4 rape statistic on this site. I saw a 1/6 statistic sense 1998. Monumentally better than the 1/3 to 1/2 statistic that was posted above. (Don't get me wrong though, it's still abhorrent.) Also, as I said, I was more open to the 90% female rape victims thing. For one, Male rape victims are exceedingly rare as it is what with the general strength of men being superior to that of women and men in general having a different thought process then women as pertaining to what would constitute them being raped, *tl;dr men and women think differently.* Also, if a man had been raped, I doubt they'd wanna go to anyone about it. Even if it was entirely anonymous. All in all that didn't surprise me. Heck, I even doubt it'd get to much larger if literally every man came out of the woodwork with their own experiences. In any case, thank you for the source.

“I can’t believe women experience such a large amount of sexual violence” says man who must not have a good enough relationship with enough women to know how laughable such an exclamation is.
I'm not entirely sure if this is directed at me or not. If it is though, does 3 sisters and a mother count? All of which I have a close relationship with and none of which have been sexually assaulted / raped in their lifetime. I cant say I have any female friends though truth be told, I'm so introverted that I only really have one person who I can truly call a friend.
 
If it is though, does 3 sisters and a mother count? All of which I have a close relationship with and none of which have been sexually assaulted / raped in their lifetime. I cant say I have any female friends though truth be told, I'm so introverted that I only really have one person who I can truly call a friend.
WTF valkyries back off, this guy has enough pain in his life.
 

vonFiedler

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I may not be reading it right, but I'm pretty sure I didn't see a 1/4 rape statistic on this site. I saw a 1/6 statistic sense 1998. Monumentally better than the 1/3 to 1/2 statistic that was posted above.
One is a personal experience, the other is a statistic. Why is that difference so hard to grasp that you have to comment on it? Also, that's the second time you've quoted Myzo as saying 1/3 to 1/2, so it's clearly not a typo. Myzo said 1/3 to 1/5. And don't respond with "1/5 isn't 1/6 either" or I'll delete it, because arguing about semantics is stupid and seems designed to get this off track. You're more likely to believe 1/6, okay, as you say, that's also abhorrent. And maybe trying to fix abhorrent things is more important than trying to protect your ego by saying something that you can decide doesn't apply to you if you're not actually a rapist. No one needs to help you through that.
 
One is a personal experience, the other is a statistic. Why is that difference so hard to grasp that you have to comment on it? Also, that's the second time you've quoted Myzo as saying 1/3 to 1/2, so it's clearly not a typo. Myzo said 1/3 to 1/5. And don't respond with "1/5 isn't 1/6 either" or I'll delete it, because arguing about semantics is stupid and seems designed to get this off track. You're more likely to believe 1/6, okay, as you say, that's also abhorrent. And maybe trying to fix abhorrent things is more important than trying to protect your ego by saying something that you can decide doesn't apply to you if you're not actually a rapist. No one needs to help you through that.
*Looks up to check the post* ...... oh sorry about that. Yea, that was me not paying attention. Also, it's not really me having an ego, it's me pointing out a hyperbolic sexist statement for what it is. As bad as "an estimated 17.7 million American women being the victim of attempted or completed rape sense 1998" is, painting all men as rapists ultimately will do more harm then good. Steps do need to be taken to ensure that number stops climbing or at least gets reduced but that is not the way to do it lest we exclude the 2.78 million men raped in the same time frame.

So are gender neutral bathrooms good or not?
Not entirely sure myself. I'm leaning towards no. Though that'd be in circumstances where that was the only bathroom. I'd rather have a men's bathroom, women's bathroom, and "other" / neutral bathroom if you were to force me down at gun point to answer.


WTF valkyries back off, this guy has enough pain in his life.
Just a lonely little troll on the internet. that I am ; _ ;
 

Call of Winter

Banned deucer.
I am going to say I agree that if you're going to throw statistics out, burdens on you to source your facts otherwise they just sound made up to prove a point.
That being said here's my take on the original issue, I am entirely fine with how the gym handled the issue; the gym is not responsible for fixing societal issues, they're there to make a profit and this is how they can capitalise.
On the topic of "teach men not to rape," I'll admit I abhor this phrase. To me at least, it carries the implication that men are predisposed to wanting to rape. I'll be frank though, I hate that this is treated as a gendered issue in general. I'm not blind to the fact that reports of men being rapists are more common than those of women being rapists but they're both a major problem and should be treated as a universal problem, not a gendered one. Instead, it's always turned into "men need to be taught not to rape women," which complete ignores the fact that men that are raped by women are too scared to come forward for fear of being emasculated and mocked, as a result of societal stigma. That's just my take though, I just think people should be treated equally when it comes to rape rather than having a group largely ignored just because they're a minority.
 

tcr

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NO ONE IS PAINTING ALL MEN AS RAPISTS

THE PHRASE “TEACH MEN NOT TO RAPE” DOES NOT IMPLY THAT EVERY SINGLE MAN IS A RAPIST IT ONLY DENOTES A CULTURE IN WHICH SEXUAL VIOLENCE IS NORMALIZED

SIMILARLY THE PHRASE “BLACK LIVES MATTER” DOES NOT DENOTE THAT WHITE LIVES DO NOT MATTER

IF YOU DONT BELIEVE THE PHRASE WOULD APPLY TO YOU THEN IT DOESNT BECAUSE THE PHRASE IS A REFLECTION OF OUR SOCIETY AND CULTURE GONE WRONG NOT YOU SPECIFICALLY
 

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