Gymtimidation: Informal Gender Segregation in Ferris

Alexandra Boursican ’23

Contributing Writer

The gym is a great way for non-athlete students to stay active and in shape during theyear. However, is it more centered towards male students? While going to the gym, I havenoticed some discrepancies between the equipment designed for men and women.

It is not uncommon for you to walk into a gym and see a divide between the two genders. In my experience, most women often remain on the side with machines focused oncardiovascular activities and the men stay in the strength and weights section. This can, however, be seen in most gyms, resulting from a sense of gym intimidation that some women face venturinginto a section crowded by men. Trinity College’s particular divide is not simply because of male and female preferences; the gym can sometimes center around males. 

Why would women venture into the free weights section when there are only two sets of 5 pound weights? Anything heavier can sometimes be too massive for women who prefer to tone and enhance rather than bulk.

In addition, the majority of the machines are mostly designed for men. They all focus on high weights and low reps, contrasting with what most women prefer: low weights and high reps that achieve lean muscle. Some machines are impossible even to use. 

For example, the leg press is set at too high of a height for some women to do. When I tried it I could barely lift the weightwith my legs, making it impossible for the average female. Not to mention that the pull up bars are placed very high. A man with average height could jump and hold on, but a woman with an average height of 5’4” feet would need assistance in order to reach, which is probably why I still have yet to see a woman doing pull-ups. 

All these add up to create an area that heavily favors men. Women must already deal with the discomfort of having to venture into the weight’s section, adding to the fact that some women physically can’t do the activities, making the odds seem to be stacked against us. It is not just the fact that the men’s section is superior, but that the female one is lacking.

Speaking generally, some women will prefer to do a circuit of cardio and abs as their daily workout. This proves to be difficult considering the quality of the equipment. The nice look of the strength machines is not reflected in the mats. The section reserved at the top is a long platform with very limited space and mats. You will often find yourself having to wait for a mat, not to mention the fact that the mats are in horrible condition, have a weird smell, are holed, and shed on your clothes, so there is never a rush. 

It is not hard to understand why women might be reluctant to come to the gym. I have heard that Trinity College has plans to renovate the gym in the next few years.

However, I urge Trinity to not just revamp the same system but rather create a better gym thatservices both genders.  A gym that can serve the needs of women as much as the needs of men to represent our student body. 

Working out is essential to mental and physical health, we should focus on making an environment that is comfortable for all people on Trinity’s campus to enjoy.

bclark

Brendan W. Clark '21 is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Trinity Tripod, Trinity College's student newspaper.

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