Title

Gender in the Gym: Society’s Role in Physical Exercise

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Kelly McFaden

Campus

Dahlonega

Proposal Type

Presentation - completed/ongoing

Subject Area

English/Communications

Location

LTC 369

Start Date

31-3-2015 9:00 AM

Description/Abstract

Most people have at least been inside a gym at one point and understand the general layout. There is the strength training area with the big guys doing weight training and (occasionally) roaring on the bench presses and such, and you have your lovely ladies all running/walking/texting on treadmills in the cardio area. In a previous research project I observed and recorded the number of men and women in different areas of the gym, and found the description above to be frighteningly accurate. In an attempt to analyze this data, I extended my research further and asked habitual gym members questions about their comfort level in these different areas. My results were that while men did not see any problems, all the women interviewed were, at one point, uncomfortable or anxious in the male-dominated strength training area.

Working out isn’t supposed to be easy, but it shouldn’t be cause for anxiety. These cultural norms we, as society, have set in place at gyms are unnecessary, unhealthy, and often in the case of women, uncomfortable. But, I also see potential for small change making a huge impact. For example, men being aware of their actions or people making a conscious effort to encourage women to have a versatile workout. Society’s glorified idea of big strong men and skinny beautiful women has leaked into our physical fitness routines, but one step at a time we can shift the social norms of gyms to one that’s more healthy, comfortable, and beneficial for everyone.

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Mar 31st, 9:00 AM

Gender in the Gym: Society’s Role in Physical Exercise

LTC 369

Most people have at least been inside a gym at one point and understand the general layout. There is the strength training area with the big guys doing weight training and (occasionally) roaring on the bench presses and such, and you have your lovely ladies all running/walking/texting on treadmills in the cardio area. In a previous research project I observed and recorded the number of men and women in different areas of the gym, and found the description above to be frighteningly accurate. In an attempt to analyze this data, I extended my research further and asked habitual gym members questions about their comfort level in these different areas. My results were that while men did not see any problems, all the women interviewed were, at one point, uncomfortable or anxious in the male-dominated strength training area.

Working out isn’t supposed to be easy, but it shouldn’t be cause for anxiety. These cultural norms we, as society, have set in place at gyms are unnecessary, unhealthy, and often in the case of women, uncomfortable. But, I also see potential for small change making a huge impact. For example, men being aware of their actions or people making a conscious effort to encourage women to have a versatile workout. Society’s glorified idea of big strong men and skinny beautiful women has leaked into our physical fitness routines, but one step at a time we can shift the social norms of gyms to one that’s more healthy, comfortable, and beneficial for everyone.