In the never-ending discussion regarding gender identities, displays, and interactions in the strength training space, I thought I’d throw a remark I got in one of the online training logs I keep, along with my response to it.
Watched your deadlift vid. Great deadlifting but OMG the crap you have to put up with as a girl at the gym. Crazy. BTW I have the same shorts.
It…yeah. I actually try not to call the gender card that often, but honestly, sometimes I get guys who treat me really disrespectfully and sometimes it’s done in a way that is condescending and seems to come from such an inferiority complex that I can’t help being inclined to label it as such. Thankfully, that really doesn’t happen too often.
I think I get a certain amount of guys who think I’m “parading around” in there doing the exhibitionist thing. I could be totally wrong. But I’ve seen and heard the “this is my guy space…I want to have guy time” rhetoric in relation to why some men don’t like women in lifting areas, and I think that over the years I’ve lifted and dealt with some crappy exchanges, some of it has come from that.
So I’ve really spent a long time trying to not play the victim card. I try not to conflate a LOT of feedback I get from many, many sources that says I stand out in a strength training space because I’m female. I basically train myself to feel that doesn’t exist. But cruise around on s-dog and many lifting sites and tell me that the rhetoric used and discussion of women lifting is without its share of segregating, often delegitimizing attitudes. I certainly am responsible for how I respond to it, and I actually take some pleasure in being somewhat DGAF about it these days. I did not have the mental fortitude to have had this attitude several years ago.
But I hate hearing from women who cannot conceive of feeling welcome or at least equally accepted in spaces like the gym in which I lift right now. When I discuss my lifting with people, particularly those who don’t lift, this is something they bring up constantly–how insanely intimidating and d*uch-y this gym is. Back in my cardio days circa 2005, I think I would have probably cried if I had tried in the to go do some work with weights in the university gym where I was primarily running on treadmills far away from the lifting spaces.
Again, I can ignore it. But I have to get my lifting done without interfering with anyone else’s lifting/making sure I have adequate space to lift without interference, and this means social interaction is inevitable when a gym is straight up loaded with people. And this stuff is there in many social interactions, even if it’s just eye contact (blegh), no matter how much I might declare myself removed from it.
But screw it. I do this stuff because I’m good at it. And no one is going to get in the way of that, regardless of their gender, and damned well regardless of what they think of me.
So there you go. Sometimes, this stuff comes up. I don’t like to focus on it excessively, but it bears some discussion. I’d love for those reading this to post their thoughts and/or experiences on the dynamics of how gender plays out in the weight room.